NEWS | Aug. 16, 2011

Diamond Tip: Feedback is a two-way street

By Master Sgt. Kristina Mullins 1st Combat Camera Squadron first sergeant

According to Air Force Instruction 36-3401 and AFI 36-2402, feedback is a requirement - and is noted on Officer and Enlisted Performance Reports. But that's not why we conduct feedback.

We conduct feedback to give our Airmen an idea of where they stand, what they're doing well and where they need to improve. Since there's always room for improvement, some may take feedback as criticism and don't want to hear it. Yet, others only want to hear praise and nothing that might suggest imperfection. However, when you conduct feedback regularly, openly and honestly, it will help alleviate some of those negative feelings and hopefully, help your Airmen improve.

Just because Feedback is mandated for certain times during the year, it doesn't mean you can't get or ask for feedback at other times. Head those mistakes off and set your Airmen up for success. Don't forget to set yourself up for success as well. If you think you want or need feedback - ask for it, especially before you receive your EPR. Your EPR rating shouldn't be a surprise. You want to make sure you have clarification of expectations and what is expected of you and your work abilities.

The vast majority of people want to make a difference in their place of work and want to be recognized for their accomplishments while becoming even better in their jobs. They want to know where they stand. Airmen crave honest, positive, objective and fair feedback. It motivates subordinates and helps them become more effective. By establishing a dialogue with and mentoring subordinates, supervisors can better understand their Airmen's wants and needs and the climate of the organization.

In organizations like our Air Force, retaining quality people is a high priority, and effective performance feedback system is essential.