Military Matters – April 5, 2013

1st Sergeants’ Corner


The ratings on a performance report should never be a surprise to the person being rated. Surprises usually occur when either the rater has failed to provide proper feedback or the person being rated has failed to recognize and/or fix his or her own weaknesses.

AFI 36-2406 states that a rater’s failure to conduct or document a feedback session is not enough to invalidate a ratee’s performance evaluation.

This is not a loophole for raters to neglect their obligation to their subordinates.

In fact, providing initial, midterm and end-of-reporting feedback sessions to most enlisted and officer ranks is mandatory.

Perhaps of equal importance are the informal feedbacks given in between these formal sessions. Sometimes, our dedication to the mission causes us to overlook this important task of letting our people know where they stand. What we must understand is that formal and informal feedbacks have a direct effect on that same mission we’re supporting.

If we perform at or below our raters’ expectations, should we be surprised when our performance evaluations reflect accordingly?

None of us should anticipate earning a “firewall 5” for performing below or only meeting the expectations. That rating is reserved for Airmen who exceed the standards.

If you don’t know where you stand in your rater’s expectations, go find out.

First, read about the performance feedback process in AFI 36-2406, with a focus on ratee and rater responsibilities. Use your chain of command if you are not receiving required feedbacks in a timely manner.

The formal and informal feedbacks are at the foundation of on- and off-duty performance.

We cannot expect our Airmen to give us their best if they do not know what the best is. Expectations that are not conveyed are not expectations at all.