Commentary | Sept. 9, 2008

Communication key to climate: Take part in your Air Force Climate Survey so you can help create “climate change”

By Lt Gen Norman Seip Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Commander

In the coming weeks, your team will begin reading and hearing a lot about climate. Not the type of 'climate' that's warming or cooling, but the type of climate your organization creates in the workplace. Every three years, the Air Force takes a focused look inside our organization to discover what's really on Airmen's minds; in essence, what type of 'climate' our team encounters every day. 

The key to creating a positive work environment is communication. When aircrews understand the parameters of their mission, it's likely they'll fly the correct formation. When maintainers have clear instructions on how to fix a part, it's likely they'll complete the task properly. And when Airmen understand the standards, roles and responsibilities their leaders expect, it's likely they'll perform in an exemplary fashion. 

The only way our team can stop issues before they become problems is to bring them to the attention of supervisors. The only way supervisors can assist Airmen is if wingmen alert leaders to the needs of their coworkers. On a larger scale, the Air Force can only address the needs of our Air Force family through the study of negative and positive trends. Two-way communication is the bedrock of all of these examples. 

Supervisors must meet regularly with their team to learn what issues are of concern to their people and their families. Airmen also have a responsibility to let their leaders know when the 'climate' at work is getting uncomfortable or unsafe. When communication flows through the chain of command, our Air Force can ensure the Air Force family is provided the best in work, services, medical care and benefits you've earned through dedicated service. 

From October 1st to November 23rd, the Air Force Manpower Agency will conduct this year's Air Force Climate Survey. The results of this study will help leaders better understand the issues, concerns and assessment of Airmen's quality of life initiatives, workplace productivity and head off any negative trends in the Air Force workplace. I strongly encourage you to communicate your candid and honest assessment of work, home, deployed and base operations. 

Emails and letters will be sent to you soon with instructions. All feedback is anonymous and will be shared with Airmen at all levels to ensure results are put into effect. Together, we can improve the areas identified by Airmen as needing attention and enhance the programs you find most valuable. 

The Air Force wants to hear your assessment -- let your voice be heard during the 2008 Air Force Climate Survey!