HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– The first class of employees graduated from the new Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Foundational Leadership Development Program (FLDP), part of the command’s Leader Development Continuum that supports the continuous personal and professional growth and development of its workforce.

The program, which is administered by the NAVAIR Career Planning and Development Division, a part of the Human Capital Management Department, focuses on the Executive Core Qualification (ECQ) competencies of the “Lead Self” level of the Department of Defense (DOD) Instruction “Growing Civilian Leaders.” The ECQs are required for entry to the Senior Executive Service and are used by many departments and agencies in selection, performance management and leadership development for management and executive positions. The ECQs were designed to assess executive experience and potential.

Rae Anne Tran, who works in logistics for Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) in Point Mugu, Calif., was one of the 16 graduates from the program.  

Tran said she applied to the program to develop her leadership and mentoring skills. “I have had several opportunities to ‘sharpen the saw’ at NAWCWD,” she said. “Each opportunity has re-energized my enthusiasm about building better teams and tackling challenges within my programs.”

Tran believed taking the FLDP’s courses would help her adapt and be flexible when mentoring from afar. “I am currently working with a Mechanicsburg intern while on maximum telework,” she said. “Good leaders can build trust through good communication. A proficient leader can still support their team’s personal and professional goals through regular phone and email correspondence.”

FLDP graduate Francesca Taylor, a 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) coach at Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE), Jacksonville, Fla., said the program was a way to reach those within NAVAIR who don’t have easy access to developmental training.

“The reason I like the FLDP training is because it is through LinkedIn Learning, and we all have licenses for that as NAVAIR employees,” she explained. “This online training is available at any time and reaches that population of employees who have limited access to developmental training, like those at our facility who do depot D-level maintenance on aircraft during the day and don’t sit at computers.”

The program helps supervisors identify their employee’s leadership development needs using the results of an assessment that can be used to create the employee’s Individual Development Plan (IDP). Employees access the program through the virtual LinkedIn Learning platform consisting of 32 classes with 20 hours of content. Employees then collaborate with their supervisors to apply those skills in the workplace.

According to Tatonya Holman, FLDP program administrator, “The program allows employees who have been at NAVAIR five years or less to concentrate on their leadership skills,” she said. “It is also a great refresher program for all employees who need to enhance some of their leadership skills.”

That employee/supervisor assessment is what drew Taylor to the program. “I like how it is customized to you and your supervisor’s responses,” she said. “You complete a survey, your supervisor also completes a survey, and then you sit down and compare. This is the aspect I really like. It opens that door to have a conversation with your supervisor.”

Tran also appreciated the assessment aspect. “I recently reviewed our first FLDP assessment, which was designed to review with leadership areas one could improve. I was surprised how much more dynamic and flexible I have become throughout this pandemic. I believe continuing to learn — even if it was online training — has helped me keep my momentum,” she said.

Taylor liked the flexibility of the online platform and “how it is customized to you and your supervisor’s responses,” she said. “You don’t have to do every topic, just the ones tied to your development. The process determines the skillsets you need to develop further.”

FLDP is one of NAVAIR’s four leadership development programs. For more on NAVAIR’s career development initiatives, contact Tatonya Holman at tatonya.holman@navy.mil or 301.437.2337.

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