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NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F

SF0002 Term assignment dated: 28-07-13
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SF0002 MILITARY LEADERSHIP TERM ASSIGNMENT
Task 1 (40%). Two significant insights: one each from lesson 1-4 and lesson 7-10
1. My very first insight came to me in a Lesson 1 paper entitled The Strategic
Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War
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, by Gen. Charles Krulak. The
Strategic Corporal struck me as amusing because in the SAF, corporals and “men”
are defined as just the opposite. To be “in man-mode” was to NOT be strategic,
lead or even think much. However in this day and age, many of these stereotypes
need to be changed. People of all ranks ought to be prepared to lead, think on their
feet, and make split-second decisions. On hindsight, these are probably the
considerations behind the phrase, “Every Soldier a Leader”.
2. I felt burdened to write on this as I had just finished my Vacation Attachment with
the Air Force Medical Services. There, I observed a phenomenon that I am sure
doesn’t only occur in the Aeromedical Centre. NSFs were treated very much like
aliens, continually looked upon with trained wariness and disdain. The reason why
many acted like men was simply because they were treated like men in the first
place. I was very troubled with this for a while, wondering if this was the standard,
until now. I intend to take this as personal doctrine because it strikes a deep chord
within me. No NSF should ever be made to feel that his years are being wasted by
the SAF. They matter, even though they are only in the force for a short while, and
I find that this has helped me to shape my leadership style. I realized that it is the
duty of an officer to make them feel valued, though it is much easier to think and
act otherwise. I am encouraged by the readings to not simply take the easy way
out, but to empower and help each individual to uncover the leader within. Positive
values and competencies can also be inculcated in the men. I believe that only
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
SF0002 Term assignment dated: 28-07-13
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when SAF officers adopt this vision, can we proudly claim the ideal, Every Soldier
a Leader.
3. My second insight came to me from Chapter 8 of the Military Leadership textbook.
Kozlowski was quoted to have argued that “performance goals inhibited learning
and must be separated from learning goals”
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. This intrigued me because the SAF
is full of performance goals such as ISO standards, IPPT timings, and Key
Performance Indicators (KPI). I have personnel telling me that in the SAF, “you can
do whatever you want as long as you get the job done”. Admittedly, it is hard to
grade and rank the processes, the learning, and the training without considering
the outcome as the elements involved are intangible and unmeasurable. However,
I realized we have a higher calling: to improve the organization and not just meet
expectations. After all, to paraphrase CPT Ng Zhiwen’s words, it might just have
been luck if these are met.
4. By definition leadership can be said to involve influence and change. These are
verbs, which mean they convey actions and processes. In retrospect, many of the
models studied also emphasize the process, such as the Input-Process-Outcome
model. I realized that I had been focusing too much on the results, which is not
surprising in our meritocratic and competitive culture. However, results are not
always representative of what teams actually need to accomplish in today’s
dynamic environments. The process of forming these teams is key, such that they
can be independent, adaptable, situationally-aware, and coherent as a team. In
this case, we can conclude that the journey is indeed the destination.
Task 2 (30%): My Potential as a Military Leader
1. Based on the personality test, I have ascertained that my level of agreeableness is
slightly high and that my levels of extraversion and conscientiousness are
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
SF0002 Term assignment dated: 28-07-13
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slightly low. The latter two factors predict a slightly low potential for leadership
emergence while studies have shown no correlation between emergence and
agreeableness. Leadership effectiveness on the other hand can be predicted by
all three factors as they have equally positive correlation coefficients. As
agreeableness predicts slightly high while the other two predict slightly low
effectiveness, the overall prediction tends towards a slightly low potential for
effectiveness as well. The reason why I analyse these three factors together
however, is that they are either slightly high or slightly low which, like in the case
of extraversion where I scored 31 when the “normal” range is 32-33, means that
they can actually be deemed inconclusive and statistically insignificant.
2. On the contrary the remaining two factors, neuroticism and openness to
experience, are very high and high respectively. Based on known meta-analytic
relationships, the neuroticism factor predicts that my potential for leadership
emergence and effectiveness is very low, while the openness factor predicts the
opposite. Based on all the five factors mentioned above, I am less likely than others
to be an emergent or effective leader as they more or less compensate for each
other and average out. There isn’t any obvious or significant indicator as to how
my personality may affect my leadership.
3. With this, I realise that I must focus more on my motivation, experiences, self-
efficacy, values and competencies. Many other intangible factors also affect
leadership potential such as cognitive ability, as presented in Chan & Drasgow’s
Theory of Leader Development
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. I will therefore need to bank on these personal
resources in order to boost my performance as a leader in spite of my “average”
personality. One way I can do that is to take up more leadership roles as these can
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
SF0002 Term assignment dated: 28-07-13
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provide knowledge, skills and on-the-job experience. I will now briefly discuss my
self-assessment of competencies and skills based on Yukl’s TRC model
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.
4. Upon review, I suddenly realized that 5 out of 6 of the TRC behaviours that I
demonstrate the most have to do with communication, whether be it task-oriented
like workflow coordination and the explaining of expectations, relations-oriented
like acknowledgement and support, or change-oriented like external negotiations.
5. On the other hand, for the behaviours that I least demonstrate, the underlying trend
is that of a dislike for being inflexible and tied-down. For example, I seldom plan in
detail as I prefer looking at the bigger picture and not prematurely tie things down.
As ascertained earlier, I am also not conscientious. Under task-oriented
behaviours, I also rarely delineate roles. As above, I hate being rigid as to who
does what, though I will make sure everyone has a general understanding of their
roles. Lastly, I also admit a love for micromanaging and a belief that if I want
something done well, I ought to do it myself. This makes me practice inadequate
consulting, opportunity-providing and confidence-expressing. These are areas for
improvement as I learn to focus more on empowering people.
Task 3 (30%): What leadership means to me & my purpose as a leader in the SAF
1. Leadership’s significance to me has not wavered or changed. I still believe that this
is what I have been called to do, and I still view it with all the pride I have. This
course has however, changed the way I consider and appreciate leadership, and
the ways in which I intend to adopt, practice, and demonstrate it.
2. For example, in the very first lesson we were introduced to the Fundamental
Attribution Error, of which I realized I was guilty of. Unknowingly, I had defined good
leaders as those who pulled through against the odds, these stories so reverently
romanticized through books and movies. This can be seen through my pre-course
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
SF0002 Term assignment dated: 28-07-13
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statement where I placed a lot of emphasis on the leader achieving mission
success “in spite of its circumstances, its environments, and its context”.
Personally, this is a crucial learning point as I tend to spend considerable time and
effort analysing myself, attributing performance largely to my own actions. I had
sorely underestimated the significance of the context and other factors.
3. My definition of leadership as mentioned in my pre-course statement has also
remained unchanged. However, before the course if one was to bring up “military
leadership”, I would immediately consider great muscular men on horses. This
actually prompted me to exercise more often after signing on because I believed it
was my onus to conform to the stereotypical traditional army officer. Since
secondary school, I was also aware that I was more of a leader from the side or
from the back, preferring to influence people from amongst the people. This was a
bit of a worry for me as I thought I had to change my style to be one that led from
the front. However, after the course and after reading several of the supplementary
readings, especially Reassessing Army Leadership in the 21
st
Century
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by Major
Jason Pape, such pre-existing notions of leadership, and of leaders in the SAF
changed. Anyone had the ability to influence and lead, regardless of appearance,
role, or command position.
4. These are just some of the more significant changes in my approach to leadership.
I appreciate the course for broadening my view on these issues that are especially
pertinent to us people in command. Leadership might take an entire lifetime to learn
and perfect, but I will no longer be so easily caught guilty for not looking at the
bigger picture. Leadership styles may vary, but the very crux of it all remains
unchanged: to influence people around us towards mission success for the
betterment of our profession, the society, and our country.
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
SF0002 Term assignment dated: 28-07-13
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References/Endnotes
1. Krulak, C. C. United States Marine Corps, MarineLINK. (1999). The strategic
corporal: Leadership in the three block war
2. Chan, K., Soh, S., & Ramaya, R. (2011). Military Leadership in the 21
st
Century.
(1 ed.). Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia.
3. Chan, K., & Drasgow, F. (2001). Toward a theory of individual differences and
leadership: Understanding the motivation to lead. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 86, 481-498.
4. Pape, J. M. United States Army, Military Review (2009). Reassessing army
leadership in the 21
st
century

NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
SF0002 Term assignment dated: XX-XX-XX
Appendix 1
Appendix 1
SUMMARY OF MY TWO SIGNIFICANT INSIGHTS FROM SF0002

Instruction: This template is to be completed and included as “Appendix 1” to your main paper. You are to indicate a statement of
each of two “insights” and the primary SF0002 lesson in which this insight was gained or related-to.

Insight Statement of “Insight” in 1 sentence*
[Suggest: Complete this statement “For me, a significant insight
from SF0002 is/was…”]
SF0002 Lesson
[this insight was related to Lesson # entitled
______]
#1

{from
lessons 1
to 4}

For me, a significant insight was seeing so much emphasis on
the duty of the officer to help create leaders in their men,
empowering them even though they were NSFs with a limited
service time.


Lesson _1_ entitled: Military Leadership – Past,
Present and Future


#2

{from
lessons 7
to 10}


For me, a significant insight is that performance goals were
claimed to inhibit learning and must therefore be separated from
mastery learning goals.

Lesson _8_ entitled: Leading Military Teams for
Adaptive Performance in Complex Environments


* Note: An insight may be as simple as a new “idea” or “concept” or “way of thinking about an issue”, or even an “issue” or a
“phenomenon”. Please elaborate on each of the two insights in your written term assignment. The elaboration (in the main
assignment) should explain the “insight” or “new learning or realization” clearly and why it is/was significant for you in a personal
or specific way (e.g., why this “new idea or learning” may affect your leadership).
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
Appendix 2

Appendix 2
FINDINGS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF MY SELF ASSESSMENTS

Instruction: This template is to be completed and included as “Appendix 2” to your written main paper. Please consolidate your
scores from the measures administered and summarise the meaning or interpretation of the scores below. With this summary, you
are to answer Task 2 which requires you to describe your “leadership potential” in terms of the ideas of leadership emergence versus
effectiveness.


Big Five Personality Factors
Factor
Test
Score
Interpretation
Vs. Norms (e.g.,
“High” or “Low”
Implications (from SF0002 Test Interpretation Guide)
Extraversion
31

Slightly Low
My potential for leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness is
slightly low based on the factor of extraversion. As this is most significant factor with the
highest correlations, this is the most compelling result from the assessment.
Neuroticism 22 Very Low
My potential for leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness is
very low based on the factor of neuroticism/emotional stability.
Conscientiousness
36

Slightly Low
My potential for leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness is
slightly low based on the factor of conscientiousness. As this is the second most
significant factor, with a similar level of correlation to leadership emergence as
extraversion, it is also rather important, though it has the least correlation to leadership
effectiveness.
Openness 39 High
My potential for leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness is
high based on the factor of openness to experience.
Agreeableness 38 Slightly High
My potential for leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness is
slightly high based on the factor of agreeableness.






NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
Appendix 2

Self-assessment of Task-Relations-Change behaviours (based on Yukl, 1999)
TRC Factor or
Dimension
Which (2-3) behaviours do you demonstrate most for each
TRC factor or behavioural dimension?
Which (2-3) specific behaviours do you least demonstrate
for each of the TRC factors?
Task 1. Clearly explaining to all what results are expected
for a task/project
2. Determining how to organize and coordinate work
activities to avoid delays, duplication of effort, and
wasted resources
1. Planning in detail how to accomplish tasks/projects
2. Providing a clear explanation of every member’s
responsibilities with regard to a task or project
Relations 1. Providing encouragement and support when faced
with a difficult or stressful task
2. Giving others credit for helpful ideas and
suggestions
1. Providing opportunities to develop others’ skills and
to let them show what they can do
2. Express confidence in others’ ability to carry out a
difficult task
Change 1. Negotiating persuasively with people outside the
work unit to get agreements or approvals necessary
to implement a major change
2. Proposing new and creative ideas for improving
products, services, or processes

1. Describing a clear and appealing vision of what the
team, unit, or organization can accomplish or
become
2. Studying the products and activities of competitors
to get ideas for improving things within my
organizational unit/team
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
Appendix 3
Appendix 3
PRE- COURSE STATEMENT “WHAT MILITARY LEADERSHIP MEANS TO ME”

Instruction: This form is to be completed prior to the start of SF0002, and is to be
included as “Appendix 3” to your main paper. It should be used as a basis for you to
answer Task 3, after having attended SF0002.

“What Military Leadership Means to Me”

1. I have already started reading through the course textbook, so my
answer may be a little biased and skewed. Before signing on, I took such
intangible and fuzzy ideals and ideologies with a pinch of salt, and didn’t
exactly take them to heart. “Purpose”? “Leadership”? Meh, I thought I
didn’t have time for such abstract and generalized principles. It was not
until recently that I really started considering these things and how they
mattered and applied to the profession I’ve dedicated my life to.
2. To me, leadership is the ability to command and supervise subordinates
and followers to complete a task or an objective. This is mostly done by
influence, as a person to look up to and follow, affecting their personal
values and beliefs. Leadership brings with it a lot of responsibility as
leaders are in charge of their men’s values, aspirations, ideals, visions
and goals as a team, working together to achieve a common desired
outcome. Without leadership, no organization, public or privatized,
governmental or non-governmental, military or non-military, will be able
to effectively and sufficiently respond to challenges and problems in order
to meet targets.
3. Being an officer requires us to lead, excel and overcome, the first of all
being to lead. To me, it is the cornerstone of this profession. It is what I
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
Appendix 3
have been called to do, and I view it with all the pride I have. It matters a
great deal to me, and I honour and respect the responsibility it brings with
it. In this day and age where change is the only constant, where even the
manpower and personnel change on a regular basis, leadership is a
fundamental asset utilized to help spearhead and direct these changes
occurring. It has to be harnessed to help propel the organization as a
whole in a strategic and sustainable way in order to more easily achieve
our primary mission of deterrence. This is the purpose of every military
leader in the SAF, the ideal to which many feel personally called upon to
help achieve.
4. Such issues of change and instability are faced by many, if not all military
institutions and organizations today. However, one of the key differences
that separates the Singapore Armed Forces from the rest is her
dependence on force multipliers. Singapore has very little land resources
as compared to her geographical neighbours, and also has one the
smallest populations. It is therefore no surprise that her armed forces are
also relatively small. In order to deter and if that fails, to obtain a swift and
decisive victory, Singapore will therefore have to rely a lot on its
technological advantages and capabilities that can help to maximize our
tactical advantages. Singapore will also have to rely a lot on her
manpower, particularly her leaders, not only those placed in roles of
command and control, but also the leader on the ground, or what some
literature has taken to calling, the “Strategic Corporal”. This aligns with
the institution’s conviction of Every Soldier A Leader. These reasons are
why the SAF places such a huge focus on leadership, creating a Centre
NTU Matriculation no: N1200882F
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for Leadership Development, and selecting regulars, officers and NCOs
based on leadership tests such as the SIT Test in BMT.
5. Military leadership means a lot to me as a regular, and to my adopted
institution as well. I believe we have a higher calling that we must respond
to for our men’s sake and for our country’s sovereignty. Leadership is a
core value that attempts to excel in spite of its circumstances, its
environments, and its context, by inspiring and influencing people around
towards a common goal in order to achieve mission success.