Getting Personal: Preventing Leadership Failure in a High Tech Air Force
AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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Email and texting are common ways of communicating in the 21st century Air Force. Leadership requires intangible skills such as influence, discipline and motivation. These skills could be compromised if future Air Force leaders who rely on means of computer-mediated-communication do not also practice interpersonal skills. Future leaders should learn to effectively balance the use of technology with face-to-face interaction in their organizations. The Air Force needs a more effective way of providing its future leaders with the interpersonal skills training necessary to successfully accomplish its mission. This research paper examines the potential problem high technology communication poses on leadership and seeks to discover ways to improve interpersonal skills training in the Air Force. It uses a problemsolution framework to answer the question How can the USAF transform interpersonal skills training to counteract its future leaders over-reliance on high tech communication devices This thesis defines five criteria which are based on the personal leadership competency in the Air Forces force development framework and uses these criteria to compare and contrast four interpersonal skills training programs. It recommends using a combination of interpersonal skills training programs conducted in a course-break-course format in order to ultimately support long-term leadership improvement.