Commentary

March 29, 2013

Eye contact one way to communicate with Airmen

Chief Master Sgt. Troy Miller
Travis AFB, Calif.

It’s often been stated by United States Air Force leaders that the mission comes first or it’s for the best interest of the Air Force.

With that said, I would argue that if we expect the mission to come first and if it’s truly in the best interest of the Air Force, we need to understand the human element behind it all. Planes cannot fly themselves, our gates are not manned without people and our Airmen are not led by robots.

Retired Gen. Ronald Fogleman, Air Force Chief of Staff, said, “People are the assets that determine our success or failure. If you are to be a good leader, you have to cultivate your skills in the arena of personal relationships.”

I would like to introduce a new concept to all upcoming or existing leaders, the concept of leadership by caring. Webster’s dictionary defines the word caring as, “feeling and exhibiting concern and empathy for others.”

My boss, Maj. Jonelle Eychner, whom I hold in high regard as a great leader, came into my office the other day and asked me, “How are you doing?” Then, she proceeded to stare at me for a period of time. After a few seconds, I had to ask her why she was staring at me and she told me she heard leaders need to look their people in the eye for 90 seconds as they ask them how they are doing. I laughed and told her that creeps me out and please don’t do that.

Now, if I would have thought about it a little longer, I may have understood the point of this staring contest. She probably didn’t need to stare at me for 90 seconds, but at least she was trying to make a caring connection with me.

How can we be effective leaders of people if we don’t sincerely care about them? If you are somewhat of a stoic leader, I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and interact with your people. Once you make that initial contact, you will probably be amazed by what you learn. Then demonstrate that you actually care by asking open-ended questions. Don’t be afraid, they won’t bite.

I will warn you, though. You will need to be sincere because your subordinates are not dumb and they can tell if someone is being insincere from a mile away. Sometimes, we like to talk about ourselves a little too much, but, for once, we should just listen. Yes, that means not interrupting the person who is talking and to actively listen to them. I try to make it a point to bring up something from the last conversation that I had with them. This shows them that you were genuinely listening and you actually care.

It is really pretty simple. If we are serious about taking care of the mission, then we should be serious about taking care of our No. 1 asset, our people.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 18, 2014

Express fuel pumps to shut down July 21 & 22 The AAFES Express gasoline station will undergo vapor testing next week, which requires the pumps to be turned off to complete the process.†The fuel pumps will be shut down 8-11 a.m., July 21, and 7 a.m.-1 p.m., July 22. For more information, call (661) 258-1078,...
 
 

Exchange celebrates 119 years with 5 percent MILITARY STAR card discount

July 25, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service marks a historic milestone, celebrating 119 years of serving Soldiers, Airmen and their families. July 25, 1895, General Order No. 46 established the exchange on military installations, directing post commanders to set up an exchange at every post. Since then, the Exchange has supported U.S. troops...
 
 

Focus on deliberate self-development

I am an American Airman. I am a warrior. I have answered my nation’s call. These words should resonate with each of us who have the honor and privilege of wearing the uniform. Each time I recite our creed, I feel a sense of pride. I hope every Airman reading this shares my sentiment. Each...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Edwards says goodbye to Weavers

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Outgoing commander of the 412th Maintenance Group, Col. Robby Weaver (right) receives his retirement pin from his wife Susan during Weaverís retirement ceremony July 10. Weaver and his wif...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Got a ticket? What now?

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber 412th Security Forces Squadron defenders pull over a vehicle for speeding. Many drivers have experienced the sinking feeling that accompanies the flashing lights and siren of a police vehic...
 
 

Annual duck blind drawing set for Aug. 9

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the annual duck blind drawing scheduled for Aug. 9 at the Rod and Gun Activity, Bldg. 210. Base hunting permits may be submitted to drawing officials from 9 a.m. until the actual drawing begins, which will be at approximately 10 a.m. Duck blind reservations are required for all base affiliated...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>