Providing mutual support leads to a collective consensus

By Matthew Wheaton, Joint Munitions Command, Public and Congressional AffairsApril 5, 2023

Providing mutual support leads to a collective consensus
Karl Petersen (right), the chief of the integration and policy division of the Joint Munitions Command, lends a hand to Damian Brown, a management analyst at JMC. (Photo Credit: Shawn Eldridge) VIEW ORIGINAL

Every individual associated with the Joint Munitions Command must band together, as the enterprise advances into the JMC of 2030 and beyond.

No matter what, the command will work towards a common goal, which is to ensure Warfighters are always ready, reliable, and lethal.

To continue its proven success, JMC is implementing data and analytics into the decision-making process, and the command has established seven Links of Success. They are accountability, diversity, forward thinking, learning, mutual support, professionalism, and trust.

Mutual support is defined as “the provision of task assistance, social support, and feedback to one or more team members, as needed. In other words, mutual support is back‐up behavior that benefits the individual and, thereby, the greater good of the team,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA).

“Mutual support contributes to important team outcomes. Teams who engage in mutual support are more effective. That is, they make fewer errors, help each other out, can correct their own issues, can redistribute tasks so work is completed effectively and efficiently, and are more resilient.”

Damian Brown, who was in the Navy for 23 years before joining the JMC a year ago, agrees with the APA’s assessment of mutual support.

“To me, mutual support is taking yourself away from the limelight and making sure we all get to the goal and get the mission complete,” said Brown, a management analyst. “Transitioning from the Navy way to the Army Civilian way, mutual support has meant a lot because there are teammates that have taken time out of their work schedule to help me progress. When you provide mutual support to someone, they become a better teammate.

“With mutual support, you’re relying on your subordinates to provide feedback. If a supervisor puts something out to a team of four or five individuals, it’s a team thing, but you want the feedback of who has the lead and feedback from the team to the supervisor about what you need and where you might be getting stuck at,” Brown added. “I think feedback – both up and down – is another very important piece of mutual support.”

When co-workers are empathetic and help one another, they display respect. They learn to trust each other, and the team will have success. In general, it creates a positive culture.

In a June 2019 article in Sustainability, which is a semi-monthly academic journal published by the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI), Sarah Cheah, Shiyu li and Yuen-Ping Ho wrote that “in a work environment where there is mutual support, workers will attempt to complement each other and strive to engage in constructive and beneficial discussion, with the view to reaching consensus on important issues.

“Workers who receive daily mutual support are likely to achieve sustainable job performance on the same day,” the trio added.

Adapting is the only way to survive and overcome obstacles, and individuals can’t collectively do that if they don’t have each other’s backs when they’re in need. If one sees a mistake or issue in another area, they should communicate in an open, genuinely helpful spirit. No one is perfect, but together everyone can be better, and working as a cohesive unit leads to higher-quality results.