Fail to plan, plan to fail

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Julius Delos Reyes
  • 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The week before I attended Airman Leadership School, I felt excited and at the same time anxious. I was excited because this was a new thing for me; also because I was going back to school again since I graduated from college five years ago. I also felt anxious because it was a change from my day-to-day job. 

The first day had all the students saying something about themselves and what they expect to receive from the school. Some hoped to become good supervisors. Some hoped to be better than their supervisor. I hoped to graduate. 

Airman Leadership School lays the groundwork for the Air Force standards that supervisors or leaders must achieve. The school gave us the tools necessary to succeed as leaders. From combat leadership to effective communicator, ALS instilled in us the knowledge on how to act according to the standards. Just like any other schools, ALS tested us to see how well we understood the concepts, including drill evaluations, formal examinations or graded briefings. 

As I graduated from ALS, I suddenly felt apprehensive about the actual change that has happened simultaneously with the graduation. Being an ALS graduate means more responsibility, not just in the sense of more work but actually being responsible to and for a human being, my subordinate. Now, the real test is beyond the confines of the classroom. 

One can't be complacent with the well-being of their Airmen. A leader needs a plan in mapping the course of their Airmen's future in the Air Force or beyond. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail - it's as simple as that. It is here that failure is not an option. 

Subordinates rely on their supervisors to guide them along their path. One cannot take a journey without a destination. They need their leaders' guidance to traverse their Air Force career. Their leaders' knowledge and experience is what they need to learn about Air Force life. 

As I tried to relish my graduation, I asked myself, "Will I be able to apply what I learned from ALS? Will I be able to at least meet the standard?" 

The true assessment of my performance is the professionalism of the Airmen I supervise. There will be Airmen who will determine if I am a leader or just a higher-ranking Airman. I won't be able to say I am a great supervisor, only they have that power to bestow that honor. 

Five or 10 years down the road, as you see your subordinates become either successful, complacent or a failure, ask yourself "Am I one of the reasons he is what he is now?" 

Make a difference.