Areas Of Queries

Task 1 - Two Different Areas Of Queries

Query 1: How the leader should adapt to the changes?

My previous job as OC Naval Technical Training School under Training Organisation. Previously there is no OC appointment and it is under one responsibility of CO Training Organisation. But since the number of staffs and students are increased, I was appointed as OC. I realised that day to day working administration is still intact and organisation structure running as normal. Due to my responsibility to look after the technical training, I need to divide by section and empowered my subordinate to handle training local and abroad. As a new leader, I maintained to improve the performance of the school and ensure all staffs in the department more aware on organisation continuous improvement. By shaping the organisation structure according to the school environment (The introduction of the simulator training and the approval of accreditation from Ministry of Education), slowly it has developed the school to produce the quality trained personnel for the Fleet.

Query 2: Have I been adequately prepared as a leader to go for operation?

To make myself as a ready force and qualify to lead my men in operation required a lot of skills and long training. But the situation here is no more training environment, hence I have to face with behaviour of fear, anger, injured personnel, mental health problem, breakdown in communication, moral and ethical challenges. Most of this can be replicated in some way or other in a simulated environment but the actual emotions and stress of combat is rarely ever replicated fully or completely. I realised that the success of this mission is depend on me as a leader. If I fail, all contextual dimensions will be affected.

No matter how much preparation, uncertainty will always be a constant in an operational setting. There is no way I can cover every single uncertainty or situation.

The problem is how much preparation is deemed sufficient to be ready to be deployed for the rigours of combat or war. If leadership is key in the battlefield, a failure in leadership is a critical vulnerability. Not knowing whether I have been adequately prepared is unsettling to me.

Task 2a - Respective leadership contexts in command/instructional and staff appointment. Consider the similarities or differences or the unique challenges of leadership in each appointment

Command Appointment

My future command appointment will be Commanding Officer of Naval Logistic in the Support Service Organisation where I will be responsible for the material and support of the fleet operational. The tour of duty is approximately about 30 months before posted to MINDEF. The organisation is divided into 3 sections which are Quartermaster, Engineering Department and Transport and total personnel of 340 which 55% are civilian staffs. Each of this section is manned by OC level. The staffs are mostly civilian personnel and their position is at directorate level. Because of the requirement by the fleet and maintain the ship resources, the challenges that I will be face is dealing with the procurement department. Dealing with civilian personnel especially contractors, sometime can create tensions. Their nature of job is focused on transactions with external suppliers and other customers. This is outside our control and must have has to be balance and flexible. To validate this, policy must be establish as to control and order them. The civilians work culture is different towards the military style. They are not subject to military rules and customs and only organisation policy. My power authority when dealing with them is sometimes difficult in term of making decision. Due to big size of the organisation structure, I have to get out from the office and visit the production area especially on the maintenance of the ship afloat or in dockyard. On this style, I can managed to see the ship manager, the contractors and ship staffs and getting the chance to interact with them.

Staff Appointment

One of the likely staff appointments in future will be a staff officer working in the Naval HQ. The staff tour will be 2.5 years working as Staff Officer Grade 1 on Logistic Maintenance. The scope of work are to assist and support the Naval HQ in carrying out responsibilities to participate fully and actively in organisational policy, planning and decision making activities on the matter of fleet resources, operation, deployment and patrol. My challenges will be how I will adapt to a new environment and working with senior staff level. Most are experience on their day to day job and some are them might be resist to change because of the routine job style. This is also includes having different background vocation can create complexity as everyone want to show their best.

The similarities on both appointments as describe above are mainly concentrate in the Naval Base (camp). Both are routine base job, low risk and staffs are familiar with their task. The differences on CO appointment as there are many civilians involved, complexity can happen and high risk on given task. It will take time for them to manage certain job especially when it is beyond our control.

Task 2b - Analysis of the context of each appointment, identify and explain the leadership requirements

As for CO appointment, the most appropriate way to operate my style is organisational leadership in the context of support organisation. The characteristic of organisational leadership primary focus on the planning and mission and set the policy, manage priorities and resources. I have to maintain strong organisation culture to ensure strong identity of naval tradition. Based on the Schein theory, he described 3 “levels” of culture[1] that can contribute in building organizational culture. They are artefacts, espoused values and routines, and basic underlying assumptions. For example in artefacts, the Support Service Organisation can leverage on the existing processes, structures to reinforce the vision, mission of the organisation. All the staffs need to know why the organisation exists and what are they for. Also, using the primary and secondary mechanisms mentioned by Schein will help leaders to shape organisational culture. This includes how I handle the crisis, roles modeling, and criteria for allocating rewards under the primary mechanisms. At the same time, I have to adopt with direct level leadership to my subordinates OC level to monitor the progress of maintenance, ordering the spares and materials to meet the demand on time.

As for my staff appointment, the leadership requirement is best to employ the full range leadership model on transformational leadership. With this requirement, the characteristic of the transformational leadership are comprises of 4 factors[2]. The factors that ideally suited in this appointment are Idealized Influence and Individualized Consideration. I have to show myself as a role models in handling and response certain situation as effectively and confidence. Other than that I must listen to my staffs needs and give advice or direction in caring manner. Specific directives must be clear given to them to prevent miscommunication and appreciate them on the tasking. Since most of the job handle in HQ, I have to face directly and closely involved with my staffs to process the action and demand of the work. I have to monitor and coordinating the assets availability, give clear and concise instructions to my subordinate on the HQ intent and set the priorities and strategies.

Task 2c - Identify the “gaps” between the leadership requirements of the future appointments and the leadership strengths and weaknesses. How do I intend to deal with them in my leadership development journey?

In order the organisation work productively, I need to adapt a strengthening relationship between navy personnel and civilian staffs and they must understand the concepts and culture of how the navy works. I must convince them to instil the core values and reflects them on achieving the goal. Working with people outside our organisation may lead us to difficulties, frustrating, misunderstanding and many more negative situations. The obvious gap that I need to address is cultural intelligence. Cultural intelligence is very importance where it is the capability to function effectively across national, ethnic and organisational culture[3]. Developing this skill can be done even thought it may take a long time. The Four Dimensional Model of Cultural Intelligence[4] is one of the best tools to be use to develop our cultural intelligence skill. This skill can balance up our common behaviour and make us more effectively dealing with the external organisation.

On the staff appointment, I must develop and improve my analytical and intuitive decision-making techniques, communication and interpersonal skills, and be able to operate independently within the limits of the commander's intent, assigned missions, task organisation, and available resources. The concepts of the Leadership Competency Model (LCM)[5] addressed the following competencies of Conceptual Thinking and Social. Under Conceptual Thinking, the skills of Critical Thinking and Ethical Reasoning will assist in strategizing in solving complex problems and making sense and create the situation awareness. Under the Social competencies, the skills of Communicating to Influence and Interpersonal Effectiveness will assist in the use of verbal and non-verbal actions during interaction with Senior Officers, allows to speak confidence and able to influence decision within the HQ.

[1] Schein, Edgar H. (2004), Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass. pp. 25-37

[2] Peter Northouse, Leadership, Theory and Practice, Pg 181

[3] David A. Livemore. Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success (2009). Pg 1

[4] Linn Van Dyne & Soon Ang. The Sub-Dimensions of the Four Factor Model of Cultural Intelligence.

[5] LD Doctrine Directive 3/2004, SAF Leadership Competency Model, 26 Jul 04

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