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Chief's View: Connect -- Relate --Care

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey

Chief Master Sgt. Cameron B. Kirksey

Citizen Airman/Aug. 2015 -- This month I want to talk about connections again. As you know, one of my focus areas is team wellness, which includes taking care of our Airmen and their families. Making connections is the essential first step in creating a strong team environment.

As General Jackson explains, we need to connect on a peer-to-peer level, a supervisor-to-subordinate level and with our families. When we connect, relate and care, we create a culture where the wellness of our Airmen and their families is our top priority.  

Team wellness starts with connections, but you should also think about what you can do to relate and care for those around you. When we relate to others, it means we truly understand the things they are going through. Being aware of the trials and challenges others face allows us to provide guidance, support and help when members of our team are experiencing a tough time. The only way to understand these challenges is to take the time to get to know your fellow Airmen.

During my unit visits, I enjoy spending time with our Airmen. As Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III says, every Airman has a story, and it is important for me to hear these stories. Understanding the challenges Airmen experience in the field allows me to relate to what they are going through on a day-to-day basis.

Unit visits provide me the opportunity to connect with our Airmen on an individual level and to better advocate for our entire force. In the future, I plan on spending even more time shadowing our Airmen during unit visits. When you are looking for ways to relate to others, take the time to understand their work environment and the challenges they may face.

It is also important to relate to each other on a personal level outside of work, particularly when we are talking about our families. I encourage you to find common hobbies you can share and discuss with your co-workers. This will lead to stronger connections and allow you to be a better wingman. For the families, look for opportunities to get connected. Check out the Key Spouse Program and Yellow Ribbon events, which provide a great way to meet other Air Force Reserve families.

Remember that you and your families are our most important asset. When we connect, relate and care, we create a bond within our organization that helps us face the challenges in our lives.

I challenge each of you to focus on ways to create a stronger team focused on the wellness of each other and your families. Remember, I'm here for you!