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News > Commentary - Leaders key to EO program success
Leaders key to EO program success

Posted 1/24/2013   Updated 1/24/2013 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Steven C. Goldman
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Equal Opportunity

1/24/2013 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Equal opportunity and positive human relations are essential to maintaining mission readiness in today's armed forces.

A negative EO climate, or EO infractions, can adversely affect people's ability to perform their duties. Commanders are ultimately the key to the success of the installation EO and treatment program, and are responsible for maintaining an environment free from discrimination for all personnel. It is also the supervisors', managers' and each individual's responsibility to ensure the EO climate is conducive for all.

What exactly are our responsibilities to the EO climate? All personnel must ensure they understand and abide by the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst EO policies.

The bottom line is there is a "zero tolerance" policy toward discrimination and sexual harassment. It is important all personnel from commanders down to the lowest ranks act immediately to determine if allegations of discrimination, including sexual harassment, are valid and encourage as well as ensure members who bring forward complaints and issues (formally or informally) are not subjected to reprisal.

Every individual holds a critical position in the EO climate of their units, especially since our Armed Forces are changing daily due to the operations tempo and continued resizing of our forces. The impact of this can result in personnel having to continue to do more with less. If not handled properly, this can have an adverse impact on the mission. Ultimately, stress levels could rise and possibly cause a hostile environment. We must be proactive and break down barriers to create a cohesive environment for everyone.

Leadership plays a key role in enforcing established EO programs among all supervisors and subordinates help minimize harassment and EO issues within organizations.

It is crucial everyone, regardless of rank, recognizes the viewpoints and capabilities of his or her diverse employees and work to consistently amplify mission effectiveness. Effective two-way communication is a vital link towards fostering a healthy work environment for all. Many issues arise as a result of poor communication. The sender and receiver should always seek clarification on issues being discussed. This productive behavior could resolve an issue before it gets out of hand.

The EO program is a function for all of us based on fairness, equity and justice. In order to sustain a positive impact on the EO climate of the installation, supervisors at all levels must pave the way and set the example for others to emulate. The JB MDL Equal Opportunity and Alternative Dispute Resolution office is here to assist with this critical endeavor. We provide many services for active duty, dependents and retirees which include, team building, mediation and ADR, human relations education, unit climate assessments, out-and-about visits and complaint clarifications.

Call 754-2657 or email for more information. Remember, "equal opportunity is for everyone."

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