Use internal conflict to strengthen your unit’s solidarity

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Russell Kuck
  • 62nd Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant
The military is unique because each member comes from diverse places, and we each have different perspectives, goals and personalities. Each unit also has different individual missions that call for different resources. So where does conflict fit in?

Conflict may cause some heartache, but if the source of the conflict is resolved, it can be an enlightening experience for your Airmen as well as the rest of the unit.

We each have an important mission to accomplish, and if we let conflict keep us from doing what we have to do, the effects can be devastating. As supervisors, we have to do everything we can to keep conflict to a minimum. There are several ways we can do this.

Open communication is the key to conflict resolution, as well as prevention. It may sound unusual to say it's okay to vocalize what upsets us at work, but the reality is we're constantly looking for ways to do more with less. Listen to what others bring to the table, and use this to your advantage. Those who are advanced in their expertise should help those who are new to the job.

Make sure your Airmen understand what you expect of them. Establish boundaries, and be fair across the board. Keep in mind that communication is a two-way street. In a case where personalities clash, encourage your Airmen to communicate with one another, and don't forget to set the example.
Finally, it's important your Airmen know what's available to them. If you've used all your resources, look to other agencies, such as the military equal opportunity office or chaplains, who are here to help.

As members of the Air Force, we're charged with challenging tasks where we need support from every angle -- from family and peers to co-workers and supervisors. Value one another's talents, and work together to overcome any weakness. After all, your unit is only as strong as its weakest link. Hooah.