• AFSOC Unfiltered: An Airman's Experience With Inclusion - Episode 4

    Written by Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida

    The Air Force is a great organization, made up of great people. That's why I'm about 30 years into a 4-year commitment. I love what I do, I love the people with whom I do it, and I love the reason why we do it. I've always thought of the Air Force as a meritocracy, where we all have the same opportunities to succeed. While that may largely be true, I've come to see that being a part of a cohesive team is a big determinant of individual success.

    Listen and watch here.

    When an Airman's teammates--usually unwittingly--exclude the Airman or make the Airman feel like they're not part of the team, that can have damaging consequences.

    In this episode, we're going to hear about an Airman's experiences. Obviously, they're his unique experiences, but as Lt. Col. Chivis points out, when you hear enough similar stories, it makes you wonder if there's a pattern.

    This episode is the first of several which will become increasingly uncomfortable for many. For me, they're uncomfortable because they challenge many of my long-held beliefs. They're uncomfortable because they challenge the view of the world my experiences have validated for most of my adult life. They're uncomfortable because I've had to come to terms with the fact that there's a green triangle on the other side of the cube that I just can't see...but it's there.

    So, what do we do with these uncomfortable conversations? For me, I'm trying to listen and learn to be a better leader.

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