FORT BRAGG, N.C.—U.S. Army Special Operations Command conducted its first Diversity and Inclusion Workshop, Tuesday, at its headquarters. The purpose of the session was to train leaders within the command on how to recognize personal bias, and how to create an inclusive and open command climate.
“Every single day in SOF, we get up with a moral and professional obligation to make ourselves better,” said Lt. Gen. Francis Beaudette, Commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command. “Our values, who we are and what we are about are fundamental ways in which we continue to serve the nation.”
The training, hosted by the USASOC Equal Opportunity Office and attended by nearly 200 people, discussed how individuals develop learned biases throughout their lives as a part of their socialization. This process continues as individuals progress through their Army career, affecting the command climate in which they serve.
The facilitators, Master Sgt. Jason Chizek and Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Jackel from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, discussed how a culture of dignity and respect builds high performing organizations. They highlighted the difference between coaching and mentoring versus demeaning and belittling and how that marked a major difference between high and low performing teams.
“The climate that you are leading…what kind of climate is that? What kind of culture is that,” Chizek asked. “Is it a culture that is supporting everybody? Is it a culture that is including all those experiences? Where people feel like they have a voice?”
This session was the first in a series of sessions that will be conducted by the USASOC staff as the command works to increase diversity in its ranks and attract top talent from across the Army.
“We succeed, because we have the best talent and we trust and empower that talent, and this is how we solve our problems on behalf of our nation,” Beaudette said. “We have a diversity of experiences in this command. We have a diversity of cultures. We have a diversity of backgrounds. We have a diversity of thinking and it’s what makes us great—frankly. It’s fundamental to who we are and it’s critically important that we acknowledge that and we continue to work on that.”