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Who cares?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Steve McDonald
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing Command Chief

I'm sure each of us wants people to actively listen when we tell them things.  Whether it's friendly conversation or important guidance, we want people to care about the discussion. 


I think that's the difference between people hearing you and people listening to you.  Hearing doesn't take effort.  Listening does.  What determines if people take the time and effort to listen to what you have to say?


I'm sure you heard the saying "They don't care what you know until they know that you care."


Once you have convinced someone that you care about them and about how they are doing, they will be more apt to listen to what you say. 


Here are some simple ways to let people know that you care:


Spend time with them.  Even more important is to spend costly time, not just convenient time.  When people know you have other things to do but you take the time to be with them, it's very telling.


Explain your rationale if giving guidance and directions.  I understand that in the military we don't always have time to give detailed explanations, but when possible, take the time to provide the "why" of what is happening.  People just want to know what is going on.  A quick explanation can pay valuable dividends in the long run.


Invest in them.  Allow opportunities for growth.  Create opportunities for growth.  I have learned that there is value in letting people fail on their own (dependent on the mission, of course).  People grow from mistakes with proper mentoring.  They will know you care when you pick them up, dust them off and point them in the right direction to try again.


Your Airmen know if you care.  If you care, they probably will also.  If you don't care, chances are they won't either. 


So, the question is "Who Cares?"