‘A leader is a dealer in hope’ (In the Service of the Sultan) is perhaps the most effective quote from the set reading for summing up the role of a troop commander on operations today.
Obviously the task, that is, the job that needs to be accomplished by the troop commander and his troop vary on a day to day basis and (depending on the conflict or situation) can be incredibly diverse. Despite this fact the responsibility of the troop commander remains the same whatever the job, to control and motivate those under his command to get the job done. The key to achieving this responsibility is the ability to ‘deal hope’ or perhaps a better term is ‘to inspire’.
In order to inspire, a troop commander requires several essential qualities. These qualities can be divided into two broad categories: personal and professional. Professional qualities are the abilities that the commander is taught during his phase one training at Lymphstone. Ultimately the professional qualities that a troop commander develops during his training depend on his personal qualities. Nevertheless the unique professional qualities required must be stressed and realised as equally important because an individual simply displaying the personal qualities required of a troop commander during the YO selection process is not an appropriate choice as a troop commander. These personal qualities need to be developed along with additional professional qualities during training in order to turn a potential officer into an effective (inspiring) troop commander.
The personal qualities required in a troop commander on operations which are realised in the selection process and built upon during training are numerous. I believe that four main qualities stand out as essential, they are: a sound judgement, good communications skills, a high level of determination and self-confidence.
A sound level of judgement is required in a...