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NEWS | Nov. 25, 2015

Motivating Airmen

By KRISTOPHER K. BERG, command chief 437th Airlift Wing

What motivates you?  Just as important, what motivates your Airmen?  I think we can all agree that today's Airmen are the most educated and most talented to ever have worn the uniform. However, for us to remain effective and to continue to strengthen our world's greatest Air Force, we need to know what motivates each and every one of them.

Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors.  It involves the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that drive one to action.  In simple terms, motivation is why a person does something.  So, if motivation is what makes us do something, common sense tells us the job won't get done without it.

It is well known that motivation is the key to success but not every Airman is motivated the same way.  What may motivate one person may not motivate another.  For example, some of our Airmen may require clear and established goals to remain motivated, while others may just need a better understanding of how their hard work and sacrifices fit the mission.  Some may want to be formally recognized with awards while others simply need a pat on the back for a job well done.  No matter what the motivation factor is, focusing our efforts on finding what makes each Airman tick is certainly time well spent.

Figuring out what motivates your Airmen is not easy.  It takes time, work and deliberate effort.  It involves creating a healthy organizational climate where every member is treated equally with dignity and respect.  It means getting out from behind your desk to see our Airmen in action.  I am not just talking about normal duty hours.  I am talking about spending considerable time with those alternate shifts too.  Face-to-face interaction with each and every team member is something we often times forget or take for granted.

As we all know, every Airman has a story.  If we take the time to listen, that story is extremely powerful and will include the answer to what keeps them motivated.  So, get out from behind your desk and get to know your Airmen.  Thank them for all the sacrifices and hard work they provide every single day.  Tell them how proud and grateful you are to have them as a part of the Joint Base Charleston team.  Show them compassion, understanding and a true desire for their development and goals...find out what truly makes them tick.