Leadership Development: A Senior Leader Case Study

Jason M. Newcomer, Walden University
Sandy L. Kolberg, Walden University
Jon M. Corey, Walden University


Brig Gen Thomas Sharpy, former director of the Air Force General Officer Management Office, identified the need for an internal assessment of the US Air Force’s leadership development process, also known as the developmental team (DT), to determine its effectiveness in creating excellent leaders to meet current and future needs. DTs are part of the Air Force’s overarching force-development program, a requirement-driven initiative to train and educate the service’s active duty, reserve, and civilian personnel through a purposeful, career-long process of personal and professional development. Air Force leaders use force development to engender organizational and occupational competencies through education, skills training, and practical experience. According to the service, DTs are its conduit that aligns force-development systems with frameworks and organization policy; moreover, the service’s force developers use them to generate career paths for personnel. DT membership includes a general officer as the chair, a career field manager, an assignments team representative, and other senior officer (or civilian equivalent) stakeholders from the Air Staff or major command headquarters.