Do They Know You Care?
By By Maj. Gregory James, Commander, 45th Force Support Squadron
/ Published November 13, 2012
PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- The events of the recent Wingman Day were an effort to build resiliency and allow us as commanders to reach out to each to our Airman and let them know that we care for and are concerned about them.
Aside from the Air Force requiring we take out time to focus on personal care and resiliency, do the Airmen that work for you know that you care for them, and if so, how do they know? What are you doing to demonstrate this? Or are you just talking the talk?
My grandmother passed away June 18 and her wake and funeral were standing room only! The services were packed because those in attendance knew she cared about them without regard to their status in life or what they could offer her in return.
They knew she cared because whenever she saw them she always had an encouraging word, a warm smile, or a gentle hug. They knew she cared because regardless of the hour, you could always go to her home and find rest for your tired body and a hot meal for your hungry stomach. They knew she cared because when she said she would do something, you could count on it getting down--even if it was later than requested.
Because people knew she cared for them, they came out to pay respect to her. I saw family members I have not seen in many years at the services. I saw my country cousins who I've rarely seen with their hair combed, let alone dressed up, in attendance and dressed in a suit. They all came to show their love for my grandmother in appreciation for the love she extended them.
With this story in mind, ask yourself how are your actions demonstrating to your Airmen that you care about them? Are you taking time to get away from your desk and talk to them versus sending them an email? Moreover, do you talk to them simply for conversation's sake and nothing to do with work? Do you know about their family or what things they enjoy doing when off duty?
Do you understand that a pat on the back is often all the recognition an Airman desires from their leadership and not some type of hardware? Take the lesson from my grandmother--it's the little things in life that matter. While I'm thankful to the Air Force for providing a dedicated day for us to take a step back and reflect how to better take care of ourselves and each other, if our Airmen really knew we cared then everyday would be Wingman Day.