First Sergeant's Corner: Trust

  • Published
  • By SMSgt Adrian Galcik, First Sergeant, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center
The AFMC Connect discussion topic for the month of March is “Trust.” Trust is defined as the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

Trust is never given. It is earned through events, discussions, and experiences. Its close relative is credibility. Trust is the foundation of strong relationships both personal and professional. Without a level of trust, work centers can flounder, appear lost, or underdeveloped, and it’s not conducive to environments that allow everyone the freedom and encouragement to accomplish the mission.

I’ve broken down the word trust into an acronym. To me, this acronym represents what it means to epitomize the word trust.

T-True to yourself - The previous SEAC, Chief Master Sergeant Colon-Lopez, while at Congress, coined “Carnivore Leadership.” These leadership points helped anyone, and everyone, be the best version of themselves. In his Second Volume called “Three Round Burst,” he talks about being true to yourself. “Being true to yourself can be as simple as when asked a question, give an honest answer. If you make a mistake, own it, and figure out a way to prevent it from happening again.” As leaders, some individuals are afraid to be true due to the fear of improper perceptions. Yet, being true and honest is a way to build relationships and foster credibility.

R-Respectful - Like trust, respect is earned and not given. Show everyone that you truly care and that you are aware and considerate of other's needs. Dignity and respect are the core of being an Airmen as well as just a decent and kind human being. Respect other viewpoints, and respect alternate decisions whether you agree with them or not. All while respecting the person enough to have a conversation about alternate ways and vantage points. This leads me to the next point…

U-Understanding - In Vol 2 of “Three Round Burst,” Chief Colon-Lopez states, “Leaders must be active. Step out and get to know your people.” When you know your people, you understand not only what makes them tick, but what motivates them and why they’re so undeniably dedicated to the bigger picture and the greater goal. Understanding their background, culture, and where they want to be in the future, helps you understand their “why” all while simultaneously building trust by showing them you are interested and fully invested as their leader. When we build that type of trust, we have shown that we are there to listen for the sake of helping, not listening to pass judgment.

S- Stoic - Stoicism is the ability to remain calm without injecting or being overtaken by emotion. When you display stoicism, the full range of what you’re feeling is no longer on display and you’ve accepted what’s happening without overreacting. We have all had those leaders/managers who go through the full gamut of emotions without any issues or reason for the behavior being presented. Stoicism encapsulates what calm should look like. When problems or situations arise and you’re unable to remain calm, you’re shutting the person down whether through words, snap judgments, or facial expressions. Stoicism is part of a robust understanding of emotional intelligence. Be calm and present for whoever or whatever that scenario is. It will carry you further than you think.

T-Transparency - Being transparent is a tried-and-true way to build trust. Transparency shows that you have nothing to hide. Being open and transparent helps provide answers to questions that people may have but don’t want to voice. Transparency allows you to show that you’re able to be vulnerable and allows you to foster that ever-important trust. This goes straight back to being true to yourself and true to others.

General Mattis is quoted as saying, “Trusted personal relationships are the foundation for effective fighting teams, whether on the playing field, the boardroom, or the battlefield.” Wherever you work you are trusted to lead, develop, and help grow the future of our force. Failure is not an option.