JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Staff Sgt. Jessica Yeck, assigned to the 324th Intelligence Squadron, received a unique professional development opportunity when she was selected to attend the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Sergeants Promotion Course.
The RNZAF Sergeants Promotion Course is designed to develop non-commissioned officers from being a first line supervisor into a senior non-commissioned officer. The course focuses on developing leaders by focusing on airpower, profession of arms, communication, diversity, feedback, leadership, and management.
“The Sergeants Promotion Course is geared to prepare students ready to perform at a SNCO level,” said Yeck. “The material focused heavily on managerial skills, and developing a whole team to accomplish the mission versus developing individual Airmen.”
The course was four weeks long and made up of two components, Lead Leaders and Sergeants Promotion. In the RNZAF, Sergeant is the first rank of the SNCO tier and they are expected to take responsibility on the overall mission and to develop subordinated into NCOs.
Lead the Leaders focused on self-reflection and developing skills needed to lead both teams and frontline supervisors.
“Lead the Leaders was a different experience for me,” said Yeck. “Until I went through the course my focus was developing my Airmen as individuals. I now have a better understanding as to what my role as a leader is and how I can apply the skills I learned to give a greater impact to the mission.”
During the Sergeants Promotion component, the students learned about the various resources available to them and put everything they learned to the test in a field training exercise.
“The field training was my favorite part of the course, because it pushed me out of my comfort zone both mentally and physically,” said Yeck. “During the field training, we were tested to see how well we applied the lessons we learned in class to the resources available to us. In order to be successful we had to think on our toes and adapt to each scenario.”
Although the course was formatted similarly to Professional Military Education courses in the U.S. Air Force, Yeck learned how to apply leadership tactics in new ways within her own work center.
“My biggest take-away from the course was learning about intent, and making sure my Airmen know the purpose behind the tasks I assign them” said Yeck. “Since I started giving my Airmen the purpose I’ve notice a change, they have become more self-motivated and they are taking ownership in what they’re doing. As a result I’ve noticed the morale in my section has been higher, and the quality of work my Airmen have produced has also increased.”
Educational engagements between the USAF and RNZAF started in 2007 when the RNZAF started sending selected Flight Sergeants to the Noncommissioned Officer Academy in Alabama. This was further developed when Master Sgt. Clete Toensing, 15th Wing Professional Military Education Center director of operations, attended the RNZAF Flight Sergeant Promotion Course in 2010.