In this report, a research regarding leadership was conducted through observation and interviewing of an effective leader. The leader that was chosen for this research report is Tan Kee Boon Valdric. Valdric was a commissioned officer in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). Singapore Armed Forces is a military organisation and its main purpose is to protect Singapore from any form of external threats. Upon commission, he was assigned to be the platoon commander for my platoon during national service in the 40th Singapore Armour Regiment (40SAR) and later on in our reservist unit at 473 Singapore Armour Regiment (473 SAR). By observing and interviewing him, the observation and interview results were compared with each other to see if there was any coherence in the results. These results were later compared in the reflection portion of this report to identify the complexities of leadership, the new understanding that was gained from this research and how undertaking this research and gaining new understanding of leadership would benefit my leadership abilities.
Observation during National Service and Reservist
As a platoon commander, Valdric would often plan and conduct many activities, exercises and trainings in camps. While planning for such activities, he would have to assign tasks to various personnel to complete the different tasks required of such activities. For instance, when conducting an Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT), he would have to assign personnel to do various tasks required for the activity to proceed smoothly. When conducting such routine test activities in camp, he would often just assign tasks to soldiers in the platoon without further explanation as most of the people in the platoon are experienced and competent in doing the tasks. However, when assigning tasks to the newer inexperienced soldiers in the platoon, he would often give advices and guide them. For instance, when he was assigning tasks to the new batch of inexperienced sergeants who had just completed their training course, he would follow them and guide them accordingly on how to go about completing their tasks and encourage them. This changing leadership style based on the level of experience of personnel under him can be seen as a form of situational leadership II. Situational Leadership II is a model of contingency leadership in which leaders select different leadership based on their behaviour and the level of competency and capability of group members whom they are leading (Dubrin 2011). According to Blanchard (2010), situational leadership II model has four leadership styles which are namely directing, coaching, supporting and delegating which effective leaders adopt based on matching the level of competence of their group members. In Valdric’s case, when assigning tasks to the new inexperienced sergeants, he could be seen as choosing to exhibit a coaching leadership style which requires more supportive and directive behaviours and while assigning tasks to experienced personnel, he would exhibit a delegating leadership style which requires a less supportive and directive behaviour of the leader. Based on this observation, it could be seen that Valdric applies the Situational Leadership II model to alter his leadership style based on the level of competence and experience of his personnel.
When problems or difficulty arises during activities or duties, Valdric would always keep calm and be open to suggestion for ideas and would accept any idea that sounds feasible in handling the problems or difficulties that arises. By keeping his composure and accepting feasible ideas suggested by those in the platoon, it can be seen as having self-confidence and flexibility which are some of the personality traits of an effective leader (Lussier & Achua 2009). On a few occasions, difficulties such as a sudden vehicle breakdown occurred during training. Instead of panicking, he kept his composure and called the...