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                   Dealing with Civilians, an EEO Perspective
Timothy Gladders
 In today’s diverse workforce, leaders, managers and supervisors (both military and civilian) face many challenges and have various roles
and responsibilities. One major responsibility is practicing and embracing Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO). Accepting EEO as an essential component is critical in developing a high-performance organization that is inclusive and diverse. Understanding and implementing EEO principles in the work place is integral towards developing a work culture that is civil and respectful.
Throughout my career as an EEO Specialist and while on active duty for 24 years, I’ve encountered many military service members that are perplexed on how to “deal with civilians.” In this article
I will address, from my perspective, how we should consider working “alongside civilians”
as opposed to “dealing with civilians.” First, it’s important to understand some crucial key points enabling this article to be framed correctly and factually. Dealing with civilians? Are we assuming that this is a concept misunderstood from a military service member perspective? Military service members not knowing how to “deal with civilians?” Understand that we all ultimately work for the same boss, a civilian. This is evident from the Chain of Command boards located in your
organizations hallway or break area. The United States Government, to include the DOD, is led by civilians who are all accountable to the American public (citizens), who are considered civilians. Truth be told, when I served on active duty for 24 years there were times when I was naive to these concepts. Fact, most DoD civil servants (not all) have been military service members. The point here is that all military service members one day will become a civilian. Everyone, at some point takes
off the uniform. With this being said, why can’t we “deal with civilians?”
From an EEO perspective, let’s remove all titles such as “civilians.” Let’s approach this topic from the stand point that we need to improve our skills in working together as human beings regardless of title, status, rank or position. So why do we struggle as a joint-culture “dealing with each other”, both military and civilian, working side by side attempting to accomplish the same outcome, mission and goals? Why does this concept seem so foreign and uncomfortable to us as leaders, managers, supervisors and even co-workers? I will offer no true solutions to the above questions, due to the multitude of different applied leadership styles, but will however give my perspective from an EEO stance addressing some concepts of trust, sense of entitlements, and polarization of groups.
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