As the MSgt was raising his voice, it was apparent that he was passionate about the topic we began discussing a few minutes earlier. I stayed with the conversation. Had I taken my ego and rank as a SMSgt into the situation, I would have likely reacted differently. My patience paid off because he got his message across—he had been putting off a needed surgery because he felt obligated to stay on the roster to work. Rank and ego should never be part of a discussion when a subordinate is trying to talk about an issue—you might unintentionally extinguish a conversation that might build some trust and uncover problems.

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