Junior Ranks Development Day

junior-ranks-developmentIs a leader born or made? While there are people who seem to be naturally endowed with more leadership abilities than others, can individuals learn to become leaders by improving particular skills?

On 21 July 2011 a group of Junior Ranks from across the Station were enthusiastically enrolled on the first Junior Rank’s Development Day at Training and Development Flight. The course aimed to discuss a range of topics including Leadership, Management and Effective Communication with some classroom-based work in the morning and an afternoon session on the outdoor Low Ropes Facility.

The morning started with an icebreaker exercise to help the group get to know each other through a team activity and then a classroom exercise which lead to a discussion on the attributes for leaders in the RAF. A table-top exercise then looked at Leadership and Management and individuals discussed how the two are often used interchangeably.

Following a well earned tea break the group undertook an activity in which they were asked to pass on a brief to an individual who had just entered the room and then sit and observe while each member of the group entered the room and was passed the brief to discover how different the last brief had changed compared to the original. This activity led to a group discussion on communication and the importance of effective communication.

After lunch the group met at the low ropes facility located behind the station gymnasium. The afternoon activities gave individuals the opportunity to lead the group during a number of challenging exercises, facilitated by qualified instructors, with constructive feedback provided by their peers and the instructors at the end of each session. Finally the group returned to the classroom to have a discussion with Officer Commanding Base Support Squadron, Squadron Leader Vanessa Plumley, which involved a question and answer session on leadership and the opportunities and challenges for Junior Ranks in today’s RAF.

The day was a great success, and on occasions very entertaining especially during the low ropes activities, partly due to the engagement and enthusiasm of the Junior Ranks on the course but also to professionalism of the instructors/facilitators who helped me on the day: Sergeant Andy Partington, Corporal Dave Bareham and SAC Tom Howells.

A final thought: there are many definitions of leadership and a recent search on Amazon found 169, 647 titles on the subject and if we were to read one a day it would result in 465 years worth of reading. This just shows how much leaders at all levels have to learn on the subject.

For further information on future courses contact Jackie in Training Development Flight on ext 7219.

By Flight Sergeant Al Creeth – Training and Development Flight

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