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NEWS | Dec. 9, 2014

Building trust: A Foundation for Mission Success

By Senior Airman Tom Brading 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

On December 5th, Colonel Jeffrey DeVore, Joint Base Charleston commander, met with 18 628th Security Forces Squadron frontline military and civilian supervisors for a discussion on the Wing's 2015 priorities.
DeVore, along with Captain Tim Sparks, JB Charleston deputy commander, and Chief Mark Bronson, 628th Air Base Wing command chief, have been visiting all of 628th squadrons to have in depth discussions about the wing's direction for 2015.

DeVore has made it clear that his top priority as commander is focused on the mission and the well-being of all of Team Charleston's men and women. How does he plan to accomplish this goal?

Building trust.

"Do you trust me?" DeVore asked the room, to an initial silent response, followed by a collective, "yes." 

Although the commander was trying to be approachable, he expected the hesitant reply. He quickly explained to the room why he asked the question.

"Without trust, our readiness will be affected, and our organization will fail," said DeVore. "It's important for us as leaders to have the trust of our people."

DeVore turned the question of trust back to the SFS leadership representatives in the room.  He was interested in how they were building trust within their ranks and how they were building trust externally across the Joint Base with all the mission partners.
Several of the supervisors talked about the need to know your people or customers.  They felt personal relationships help build trust within a unit and by understanding subordinate's goals and/or obstacles, you enable the ability to understand them as individuals. 

They also discussed the need to lead by example.  They spoke about how a leaders actions can build trust within a unit.  Many members explained examples of how they do this every day.

The subject of gaining trust led the discussion into various topics which tied into the Special Interest Items DeVore wants the wing to focus on for the upcoming year. 
DeVore spoke for several minutes on Force Management and the civilian furloughs and how he felt leadership broke trust with their people.  He said he sympathized with those going through boards and the emotions they went through.  DeVore, himself, also met an ESRB in 2014.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault was also mentioned.  DeVore rhetorically asked, "Do you think trust plays a part in this?  You better believe it.  In fact, trust is one way we can beat sexual harassment and sexual assault." 

DeVore closed the discussion by ensuring all the supervisors knew they were empowered and expected to lead.  That they were empowered to make mistakes and learn without fear of reprisal.  And that they were empowered to mentor.  DeVore acknowledged that time will always be difficult to balance. 

"There's just not enough time in the day," said DeVore. "We're asking you to do more with less, which is not an acceptable formula to have any chance for mission success.  How can I ask you to commit to operations, while piling 7 additional duties on you, ask you to professionally develop and try to be a good mother, father, or spouse?  I understand it's hard."  He added, "So, how do we accomplish it?"

DeVore finished by stating, "Thank you for trusting me to be your commander, if you ever lose your trust in me, tell me.  Because my goal is to build more trust for the Joint Base, not lose it."