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Get up and walk around

Master Sgt. Thee Thorpe, 90th Medical Group First Sergeant talks to 90th Medical Readiness Flight chief Master Sgt. Jeffery Naughton, and NCO in Charge Tech. Sgt. Josue Diaz June 6, 2018, in the 90th Medical Group Building on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Thorpe schedules time each day to get up and walk around to meet and chat with the people in his group to build trust and confidence between him and his fellow Airmen. Thorpe suggests it will improve leadership skills, personal skills and communication.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

Master Sgt. Thee Thorpe, 90th Medical Group First Sergeant talks to 90th Medical Readiness Flight chief Master Sgt. Jeffery Naughton, and NCO in Charge Tech. Sgt. Josue Diaz June 6, 2018, in the 90th Medical Group Building on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Thorpe schedules time each day to get up and walk around to meet and chat with the people in his group to build trust and confidence between him and his fellow Airmen. Thorpe suggests it will improve leadership skills, personal skills and communication. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Braydon Williams)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. --

Getting to know the people you work with may seem like a burden to some. They might already have their own friends outside of work and don’t want to put the effort in to learn everything about other people.

Well, that’s how I was before I joined the Air Force.

When someone from work would invite me to a barbecue, I would politely decline and think to myself, “Why would I go to your BBQ - how does getting to know my colleagues have anything to do with working together professionally?

I considered myself a caring person, but it dawned on me that perhaps there was a disconnect between how my co-workers expected me to act and how I was behaving. I had utterly failed to recognize the culture of my workplace, not to mention the fact that building relationships with co-workers beyond spreadsheet data has been increasing in importance for a while.

When team members came into my office and wanted to chat about their weekends, I half-listened before hastily wrapping up the conversation with a “glad to hear, gotta go back to work.” When people asked me to lunch, I told them I had a big deadline (which most of the time I did), and replied, “maybe next time.” But there never was a next time.

When I joined the Air Force and made it to my first station, I realized that my group of friends was…completely empty, so I began investing time, energy, and effort into getting to know my colleagues—and not because I was pushing an agenda, but because I was interested in making friends.

On Mondays, I started asking people in the office about their weekends and what they like doing in their free time. Since I started, I’ve gotten to know the people around me and they are really interesting. I even lived in the same town with one of them for a short time.

Getting up to talk with people and getting to know them was reinforced by Master Sgt. Thee Thorpe, 90th Medical Group first sergeant, at a mentoring breakfast where he spoke about the vitality of getting up every day and walking around to get to know the people around you.

It will improve leadership skills, personal skills, and communication skills to name just a few. Just getting up for five minutes during the day to chat with the people you work with and actively listening to them will make you a better leader.

“The value of getting to know everyone in your work environment is extraordinary,” said Thorpe. “Simple conversations every now and then will build trust and get people to see you as a good leader and someone they are comfortable to come to with anything. I don’t know a better way of getting them there than getting to know them.”

Something you hear all the time in the Air Force is that everyone from Airman Basic to General is a leader. This is a great way to develop yourself as a leader– get up and walk around.

When I got the Idea to get up and walk around to talk with the people around me from Master Sgt. Thorpe I didn’t really see the point, until I made a friend doing it. Now I try my best to do it every day and it has helped more than I can express.