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By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely, Peterson-Schriever Garrison Public Affairs
/ Published October 07, 2020
Airman 1st Class Vladyslava Iakovenko, 21st Comptroller Squadron financial operations technician, elbow bumps a fellow Airman Sept. 30, 2020, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Practicing proper respect and office etiquette is integral in maintaining the military, comrade and credibility. (U.S. Space Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Whitely)
Practicing proper respect and etiquette is fundamental to maintaining the military’s structure and is taught to Airmen at basic military training.
“Good office etiquette is the foundation of the connection you will have with your Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Bryan Scroggs, 4th Space Operations Squadron first sergeant. “You lose your credibility as an individual when you don’t show someone the respect they deserve.”
Scroggs said not showing proper respect to an individual can lead to lower morale, especially when it comes from a higher-ranking individual.
“Respect goes both ways,” he said. “You have to show respect to every person you come into contact with while you’re wearing the uniform.”
Scroggs suggested the following tips for Airmen to maintain proper respect and office etiquette.
- When someone of higher rank walks into an office space, stand up until asked to be seated.
- Be engaged and actively listen in a conversation.
- Turn away from the computer and pay attention.
- Be considerate of others in shared spaces.
“The climate we create is important, but culture sets the tone for an organization,” said Senior Master Sgt. Cory Shipp, 50th Force Support Squadron and Schriever staff agencies superintendent. “It’s on every person within a unit to create a culture of respect.”
Co-workers should never encourage gossip or have cliques as it erodes morale, he added.
“Your initial response to an individual [who] comes to you for assistance is the foundation of the direction a conversation will go,” Scroggs said. “If you do not show the proper respect to that individual, you’re already going down a path of failed communication.”
Airmen should mind the sensitivities of those around them while working in a community office space. They should avoid talking about subjects such as religion, politics or on-going medical issues that can make co-workers uncomfortable unless the other party has made it clear they’re OK to proceed with the conversation.
“With the nature of our jobs, we’re in close proximity of each other frequently,” Shipp said. “Although you can always go to your chain of command, if you have an issue with one of your co-workers, work together to try and resolve it at the lowest level possible.”
Airmen can read Air Force Handbook 36-2618, the Enlisted Force Structure or Air Force Instruction 34-1201, Protocol, for more information regarding respect and etiquette.