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179th Airman Talks Cultural Humility

Military member prepares a bible for church service

Tech. Sgt. Charles Roberts, a Religious Affairs Airman for the Chaplain Office at the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, sets up for a protestant service Jan. 12, 2020, at the 179th Airlift Wing. Roberts uses his position in the Chaplain Office to spread awareness of diversity and how these differences improve the Air National Guard as a whole. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Shepherd)

Military members shake hands before church service

Tech. Sgt. Charles Roberts, a Religious Affairs Airman for the Chaplain Office at the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio, greets Airmen at a protestant service Jan. 12, 2020, at the 179th Airlift Wing. Roberts uses his position in the Chaplain Office to spread awareness of diversity and how these differences improve the Air National Guard as a whole. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Shepherd)

MANSFIELD LAHM AIRPORT, Ohio --

Diversity in an organization can increase creativity and productivity, which ultimately can lead to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

“Recruiting and retaining diverse Airmen cultivates innovation,” said Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. “Like different aircraft and missions make up one Air Tasking Order, different people make the best teams when integrated purposefully together.”

One of the nation’s greatest strengths is its remarkably diverse people.

“We’re more creative when we’re more diverse,” said Tech. Sgt. Charles Roberts, a Religious Affairs Airman in the Chaplain Office at the 179th Airlift Wing, Mansfield, Ohio. “We can really catalyze creativity in an organization when it comes to making decisions, changing policies and what not.”

Across the Air Force, diversity of background, experience, demographics and perspectives are essential to its ultimate success in an increasingly competitive and dynamic global environment.

“What’s most important is not necessarily having diversity,” said Roberts, “but is having a welcoming attitude toward diversity, to have a friendly open and reflective attitude and to always be learning.”

Having this attitude of openness and learning can be very effective in an organization.

“As an NCO and as a leader I think we have a wonderful opportunity,” said Roberts, “and I think the Air Force probably does better than a lot of organizations in accepting, valuing and welcoming diversity, but I think we can always do better.”

When people feel welcomed and valued for their various backgrounds and the things that make them unique, people typically perform better.

Roberts said he likes the phrase cultural humility, meaning always being open to learning new things about the people that he works with.

An organization can benefit from having people with diverse ideas and skills.

“When people have different skill sets we can come at problem solving and solutions from lots of different angles,” said Roberts. “It’s going to broaden our scope and our perspective so that we can handle just about any problem that comes our way.”

 
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