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NEWS | March 9, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now

By Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Brinkley 11th Wing/Joint Base Andrews command chief master sergeant

I believe that many of our challenges and opportunities are tied to one important component, and that is our ability to effectively communicate. I attempt to go to a different part of the base every day to better understand how our leadership can better support our people and their families. Yet, it amazes me how many things come to my attention that I believe could be worked at lower levels.

I don't say this as a complaint, because I'm happy that people feel like they can bring concerns to me. Although I do recognize that this is not the best way to get concerns addressed. There are many layers between the wing and those at the execution level of our operation who have opportunities to respond to issues affecting those around them. So what I'm asking everyone to do is to take a look at how they can connect and communicate better with those around them.

People typically are more concerned about getting their point across and often sacrifice their ability to listen. Some listen just to determine when they can jump in to offer a rebuttal versus trying to understand why the other person has the articulated point of view.

Battles have been lost, marriages compromised, business deals faltered, and friendships broken due to poor communication. We were given two ears and one mouth, which I think is a sign that we should listen twice as much as we speak. Good listening skills let the other party know that you value them and what they have to say. It does not have to mean you agree with everything they say; but it shows you are at least trying to understand them.

As we continue to be the best for our nation, family, and community take the time to listen to better understand one another.