Sunday, January 20, 2019
I remember when it was 2000 and “Unbreakable” first came out. We were already Shyamalan fans due to “The Sixth Sense” and Bruce Willis fans long before that. For the next 19 years, we would watch “Unbreakable” on repeat because it was such a human take on the superhero genre, long before Nolan’s Batman trilogy, complete with a well-written narrative, memorable dialogue and perfect soundtrack. It was a film that was blurred between a grounded reality and comic book universe, coupled with the fact that many elements of the film were psychological to supernaturally transcendental in nature.
“Split” came along 16 years later, and we were unpredictably welcomed to an expanded universe of the Unbreakable-verse. It was a beautiful thematic link and it made me remember that Shyamalan had originally planned to introduce Kevin in “Unbreakable”, but was stopped because the film would have become too convoluted. Since “Unbreakable”, Shyamalan wanted his trilogy, and with two amazing films focusing on the origins between three comic book protagonists. They were the perfect introductions to our superhero (David "Overseer" Dunn), his archenemy (Elijah “Glass” Price), and super-villain (Kevin "Horde" Wendell Crumb).
What was superb in both films were the themes. In particular, the fact that your trauma is your superpower. In “Unbreakable”, we see this with both David and Elijah. David was the sole survivour of a train crash (where it was found out later, that Elijah had orchestrated these events and caused mass murder to find someone like him), had a survived a near fatal car crash as well as a drowning that led him to die and come back, leading to his fear of water. His trauma followed by these events, allowed him to become a protector of people (security guard/future Overseer), and became empowered by his self-realisation and potential to become more than he was.
The same thing happens to Elijah with his bone disease (where is transitions into Mr. Glass due to years of psychological bullying from kids), but only after, he meets David and realises his capacity as an archenemy. In “Split”, this happens to Kevin, after the loss of his father and abuse from his mother, as well as Casey, after the sexual abuse from her Uncle. Traumatic circumstances could unlock untapped potential, both in nature and super-powered in nature.
I’ve been an obsessed fan of both films since their release, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the film that would collide both worlds together and give us an epic showdown between David, Elijah and Kevin. Having finally seen the film now, it saddens me to say that while “Glass” was long-awaited and enjoyable, the ending was the most disappointing of all and major f**k you to all us long-term fans who had waited years to see this. Like the previous films, “Glass” takes on an ultra-realistic, more grounded look at the idea of superheroes and comic books, and questions whether comic books have a place in the real world. While “Unbreakable” and “Split” have answered “yes”, “Glass” tries to subvert this and brings in a psychiatrist to prove that they are just delusions of grandeur. Shyamalan does this perfectly by meshing all the worlds and characters together, and tells the story in a logical and deceptive way.
“Glass” succeeds in the first and second act through small character development, entertaining action and thought-provoking dialogue, but it falters in the third act, and the excitement to see David Dunn more as the Overseer slows down, because his screen-time is severely diminished to give way to McAvoy’s Horde.
There is no doubt that McAvoy’s acting abilities playing 21 different personalities is tremendous, but I waited 19 years to see David Dunn in action, to be the superhero he was meant to be. Instead, he was resigned to believe that everything about him was false, and the only scene of becoming his full potential was knocking down a steel door. Where was his full potential in this movie? The third act weakens evens more as we are given a glimpse of a showdown between our characters. We were unsatisfactory provided with an early finish between all three. I understood all the reveals (since one has been well known since “Unbreakable” and another since “Split” was released, and I was happily proven right on both accounts), and the first act’s use of tension and suspense was tarred by the exposition-heavy narrative and feeble attempt at conflict of the final act.
“Glass” could have made the Unbreakable-verse a perfect trilogy, had it not been tarnished by its lack of thematic depth and reward. Our three favourite characters resigned to nothing but pawns, despite being indispensable to the plot, and you will find out why once you watch it. I left the cinemas disappointed and unsatisfied. It is a disappointment that I will watch again, but I just wish Shyamalan gave “Glass” a more satisfying complete platform to stand on.
Monday, July 31, 2017
Why Safe School Programs in Australia are needed and shouldn't be taboo
1. Safe School Programs provide inclusiveness for the LGBTI communities, as well educating the students about belonging, not to bully or discriminate someone with a different sexuality or gender from them, to provide a safe environment for everyone. It's to teach them about how gender is a social construct and to be able to educate them by getting them to understand about mental health and how discussions like this are not taboo. "Creating banners for gay pride". Is that bad? We celebrate Mardi Gras every year. Is that bad too?
This Program is amazing and nothing like what she says in her video. The suicide rate is the highest in Australia because of the LGBTI community with those aged 16 to 27 are six times more likely to attempt suicide than the national average. This Program needed to be implemented to help curb these suicides, give support to LGBTI students and educate others to be more understanding in an ever-changing society. However, it seems this video proves we need SO much more education on the subject as adults too. Children seem to be a lot more receptive and understanding of this content because they weren't raised with the social construct that we were raised with, or our parents too.
2. She rants about gender theory being taught. First of all, gender is a social construct due to how society created gender roles and claimed certain traits to them, essentially "assigning" them to those roles (male and female). Nowadays, since we are more aware of how gender is perceived and the amount of people who do not identify with those characteristics, we now know that gender is not black and white. Sex is not black and white either.
My parents did right when they raised my siblings and I without implementing those stereotypes. They never told us whether toys or clothes were "for boys or girls". They let us gravitate towards what we liked, towards what we wanted to play with. If I wanted to play with toy cars or ride toy cars, they let me. If my sister wanted to dress up as a Ninja Turtle, they let her. If my brother wanted to play with my handstand doll or have his nails done as kid when we did it, they let him. They never once said, "this is wrong, this is not right". I went for both sides and my brother eventually gravitated towards toys that boys generally play with. We discovered this through our own interests and encouragement from my parents. Parenting done right! I could not ask for more perfect parents. 😁
One experience I encountered when I was working in childcare is why we need this Program. The boy was 3 years old. I was participating in a role-playing dress-up game that he and his friends made up, and they create stories for me as whatever characters they pretended to be. He put on a tutu, a tiara and held a wand. He was a fairy. The smile radiated on his face until the room leader barged over, towered over him and demanded that he take it all off. We both asked why and she said rather rudely, "because it's not right! They are for girls, not boys!" The smile on his face immediately disappeared and he looked disappointed. I told him to leave it on when she left, we started playing again, and once more the room leader barged right on over and demanded again that he take it off. The rest of the day he sat crying in the room because he wanted to play fairies and he couldn't because "he was a boy". I was heartbroken for him and raging I couldn't do anything (the room leader runs the whole room). His favourite story was also "The Little Mermaid". It was an audio-book he was allowed to play in the class, but he wasn't allowed to play dress-ups? Seriously, where's the logic in that?!
THIS is why we need change! This is why we shouldn't enforce these stereotypes onto our kids or make them feel like shit! This is why we need the Safe School Programs! My heart still breaks for him even now, and it enrages me that a woman as backwards as that is looking after and teaching children.
My parents both have a strong belief in change which they raised us to believe in too. They believe every generation should be adapting to the modern world and not instilling traditional means because society changes all the time and so should we. My parents were raised in a time when boys were more favoured than girls. The typical social construction of gender such as the woman being a stay-at-home mother, or the father working to provide for his family, and the son is everything because he'll continue the bloodline...etc.
My Mum is the epitome of change in a traditional society against women. I applaud her for being so forward-thinking because of how she was treated growing up, and how modern she was at a time when that was looked down upon. She rose above, pushed past those barriers and prevailed! In relation to change, my Dad said it best last night: "In your grandparents time, the wife would walk behind the husband with the kids, while he walks in front as a sign of dominance and masculinity. When it was our generation, we (the husband and wife) would walk side-by-side and hold hands which your grandparents felt too taboo. In your generation now, the husband and wife kiss each other in public while holding hands." If that's not the best example of generational changes, I don't know what is. They decided to change that mindset they were raised from because they didn't like how society treated them and other women. So when they had my siblings and I, they vowed they would raise us differently than they were and they did just that. I thank them so much for raising us this way. Perfect parents. 💗
3. I have spoken with many students over Facebook who go to school that have the Safe School Program (Whittlesea Secondary College as an example because I graduated from there 2008 and it was implemented there a few years later), and the general consensus of their experience over PM's was that everything this lady says in her video is completely false and spreading lies. At the same time, it wouldn't be a bad thing to learn about regardless as long as it's appropriate for the specific age (in terms of being more detailed as they get older and more understanding of the resource).
Also please refrain from using the overly generic question in response to my post: "but are you a parent?". This has nothing to do with being a parent. Stop thinking about yourselves and think about your kids. Think of the future and understand how this change is beneficial for them and everyone else. The children are our future for change, just as we were from our parents, and they were from theirs...etc.
4. She slams two LGBTI community sites to the Safe School Programs called Scarleteen and Minus18 for supposed inappropriate content, sex toys, how to masturbate...etc. These are community sites. They are educational forums and information that give a sense of belonging to the LGBTI community. It gives them a sense of inclusiveness that they usually don't have in schools with their peers or local home communities. It's a place where they can meet other people just like them. A safe haven, a sense of unity. A fact however, Minus18 is a partner of the Safe Schools Coalition, and while they only worked on one resource for the SSP curriculum, the rest of the site is unrelated to the classes itself.
4a) "All Of Us" is an innovative new teaching and learning resource (54-paged document) jointly developed by Safe Schools Coalition Victoria and The Minus18 Foundation, that aims to increase students’ understanding and awareness of gender diversity, sexual diversity and intersex topics. The resource captures the real life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex young people through a collection of short videos and teaching activities that are aligned to the Year 7/8 Health and Physical Education learning area of the Australian Curriculum. It was funded by the Victorian Government. A look through the document on the website shows nothing inappropriate at all. Nothing like what this lady rants about in her video. She's shaming two sites for no reason. Google "breasts", or "penis" or "vagina" and everything is there at their disposal. That's the internet for you, but completely unrelated to the curriculum itself.
5. Safe School Programs do not incorporate sex education classes into their curriculum. Sex-Ed is a totally different entity, separated from the Safe School Program, unless implemented by the teacher and the school. This rant should be directed at the school's Sex-Ed classes, not blasting about the Safe School Program to which she knows nothing about. Although teachers are allowed to implement resources and training materials for the Program as long as they are age-appropriate in content. Once again, I reiterate, "it's not bad to learn about this stuff".
6. Children and teens are naturally curious and sexual beings too (as are we all throughout life). I've dealt with children who have masturbated unknowingly in childcare (no it's not due to abuse either, that's totally different). This is not wrong however, they only need to be taught to do it in private, and understand why it feels good for them when they do.
Children know about sex at less than 12 years old nowadays. I was given the "Where Did I Come From" book at 7 years old by my parents (oh no, my poor innocence!), where I was taught all about sex, the reproductive systems of both genders, pregnancy and childbirth in complete detail. Obviously now it'll change because we need to keep up with the modern world and information due to gender and reproductive differences, but I still have the book due to nostalgia and love of reading about it. It'll be something I'll implement for my own children too.
7. It's an extremely uneducated video with no basis in facts at all, only anecdotes. Remember when you watch it, it's all about what she "heard", not saw herself. If she had materials given to her kids about what they were learning, show them in the video! Otherwise we cannot take anything this woman says seriously (besides the simpletons who believe every word she says and then claim it's negative and needlessly sexualising children). I have never seen a Sex-Ed class that taught you how to use a toothbrush to masturbate. Students have told me they only learned about contraception, mental health, differences in varying sexualities and different anatomies.
8. She specifically says that the children were told to "not talk about it outside of the classroom", not "school". They mentioned "classroom". There's a BIG difference with those words. Very big difference. They mean it's not something you chat about outside of the classroom in the school because of appropriateness due to the children's varying ages at the school. That's what they mean. Outside of the school with parents is fine and they didn't ask to stop that. This was of her own interpretation and the rest of sheep followed along without thinking. Did this woman even go to school to understand the difference? My guess is no.
9. In terms of making a vagina in class. I think they mean vulva? Would be pretty difficult to make a vagina since that's internal, whereas a vulva is external (hard for me, I'm sure these children are smarter!). But even if he did, is that really bad? It's just teaching them about anatomy. Shows them a different aspect of respect towards others. The woman implies that there is some sort of pornification going on with these programs, but there isn't. As I said before, children are at that stage where they are curious about sex and themselves. Talking about sex toys and masturbation is a positive thing. At what age would parents discuss this with their kids then? Please enlighten me.
Very likely they are doing it already and don't even realise it, or they do it and they know exactly what it is. Children and teenagers are much more aware than we give them credit for. Trust me, I used to be one at one time, we ALL knew before high school.
They are not sexualising children (they get that through other forms of media already), there are no "perverting" elements such as grooming them to be pedophiles by the Program at all. The theory suggests if you teach them from a young age, they'll understand it and delay pregnancy rates in young teens and so forth, whether that works or not is another thing. As long as they have that knowledge and understanding, what more can you do?
10. When she rants about her son and porn. With the internet being freely available everywhere and on so many devices these days, he and many other kids his age can access anything and everything they want. To be able to understand sex and how to be safe is a much better option than getting unrealistic expectations from watching porn or what you see in films and shows. I'll add, that porn has nothing to do with the Sex-Ed classes or Safe School Program.
Much like the film "Don Jon". Wonderful movie directed and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Scarlett Johansson. He watches and gets off on porn all day long. She does the same with romantic films. Both get into a relationship together and realise that what they've seen and learned has created unrealistic expectations when it comes to relationships and sex. I urge you all to watch it. It really makes you think and understand how what we watch affects how we perceive the world and the people around us. Now imagine what children and teens are watching and how it affects them? Exactly.
This Program is wanting to avoid all those "unrealistic expectations". Unrealistic expectations of sexuality, unrealistic expectations of gender and unrealistic expectations of how society treat one another, especially those who are different from our implanted views of society. There is no conversion going on, no grooming for pedophilia, there is no brainwashing and there is no hidden agenda, only your conspiracy theories.
To conclude my long ass post and rant, don't demonise something you don't know about. Don't berate against something that is extremely beneficial to all kids, especially those from the LGBTI communities. Don't make the topic of gender and sex taboo, because it isn't, and don't spread hate against something that we ALL need to learn about (the people whinging need this most of all). Society is in desperate need for a change, and the only way to change is to start changing now while our kids are still young. Because they are the future and they will end up paving the next generational change towards acceptance, understanding and love. Spread love, not hate. We need the change and we need it now. It's really that simple. For more information that I couldn't fit here, I have listed my blog link with more details and links to documents stated in my post inside.
#SafeSchoolProgram #LGBTI #Minus18 #Victorian Government #SafeSchoolsCoalitionAustralia
Safe School Fact Sheet- https://www.studentwellbeinghub.edu.au/docs/default-source/ssca-parent-fact-sheet-pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=0
List of Schools in Victoria that have the Safe School Program: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/health/Safe%20Schools%20list%20-%2016%20March%202017.pdf
Minus18/Safe School Program Resource "All of Us" - http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/health/AllOfUs_UnitGuide.pdf
Safe School Review Findings (Expertly reviewed) - http://theconversation.com/safe-schools-review-findings-experts-respond-56425
Minus18 Foundation Resource Packs for the LGBTI Community - https://minus18.org.au/index.php/resource-packs
Safe School Coalition Australia - http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org.au/
Safe School Information (Australian Government: Education & Training) - http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/health/Pages/safe-schools-coalition.aspx?Redirect=1
This website contains more resources and information.
Friday, July 28, 2017
The Australian Army v Joe Hildebrand - The Misconceptions of Executive Coaching Programs in the Army
When I started my Master of Communication at RMIT in 2016, I never realised just how much of an effect it had on my understanding of the role communications play in the workforce. Communications is not just about “verbal”, “non-verbal” or “written” communication, but a field that integrates a variety of aspects from social sciences and humanities that focuses on how communication is vital in every aspect of the workplace. It is a field that intertwines itself with other fields such as psychology, political science, public policy, economics…etc.
For my Masters, a couple of the things I have learned is how organisations use communication to achieve their goals and how to be an effective leader. One of these examples has led me to write this long post because I didn't know that so many people didn’t understand how communications play a role in how to be an effective leader. This leads to me to a interaction that I was involved with on the News.com.au Facebook page.
On the 26th of July 2017, Joe Hildebrand wrote an article for News.com.au titled: ‘Self-aware’ Army officers to get coached in ‘cross-cultural competence’. The article ended up on Facebook where I came across it for the first time. One thing that jumped out at me was the caption of the article that read, “Australian Army’s ridiculous HR move” as well as the sentence posted above that led the article, “Welcome to the new Australian Army, one where buzzwords like ‘cross-cultural competence’ are being pushed hard.” Clearly, the heading of the article already reads with a negative connotation implying that the Australian Army is somehow making its soldiers politically correct and that is the way of the future, so to speak. I opened up the article because I knew that these news sites and journalists generally write with some sort of bias. I wasn’t wrong.
No surprising the article opens up with a video footage of an Australian satirical comedy series called “Utopia”, more than likely teasing and telling the viewer that the content below was something to be laughed at.
The first paragraph opens up with at least 6 terms and labels in quotations marks. That's probably the most I have ever seen in an article's first paragraph. Let's just break some of the words down in terms of leadership and communication before I get started on the rest of the article.
The Defence Force very likely uses a company similar to The Coaching Room (www.thecoachingroom.com.au), and this gives us the perfect example of what training programs they create and implement for leaders in the workplace.
Executive Coaching -
"Executive Leadership Coaching is about facilitating, in a one-on-one setting, the resources, understanding, knowledge, skills and attitude available to the Leader, toward a stated vision, through the process of asking highly effective and insightful facilitative questions. Leadership Coaching is about enabling Leaders to the communication and leadership skills to engage in the act of leading themselves and their people to their fullest potentials."
Self-Awareness - The scope of self-awareness research has strong practical implications for the Army. Based on the motivational component, the Army has sought to design assessments and feedback tools that will increase self-awareness in leaders, therefore building the blocks of future leaders. By increasing self-awareness through feedback over time, this can help a leader develop by activating the drive to reduce the discrepancy between how we see ourselves and how others see us. This leads to honest evaluations of leadership and is intended to create discussions on strengths and limitations as a leader. Who wouldn't want that for a leader?
Emotional Intelligence - It was found that emotionally more intelligent Army officers adopted a transformational style of leadership to motivate their subordinates to perform beyond expectations. They also perceived them to be more successful in their careers. In relation to that, an increase in emotional intelligence also increases with age and rank within the Army. In terms of coaching methods within the training program, ability-based assessments asks the test-taker to perform a series of tasks designed to assess the individual's ability to perceive, identify, understand, and work with emotion. Working in the Army, that is paramount to be able to keep a cool and clear mind when dealing with any situation.
Specifically, the Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test is an ability-based assessment that evaluates four branches of emotional intelligence: emotional perception, emotional integration and facilitation, emotional understanding and emotional management. This assessment measures the test-taker's performance on emotion-related tasks, such as using emotional competency to solve problems, communicate feelings and selecting the correct emotions on corresponding faces.
While there are many kinds of emotional intelligence tests, Leaders who demonstrate high level of emotional intelligence may be more likely to demonstrate transformational leadership behaviours than those Leaders who lack emotional intelligence. The Army values Leaders who possess transformational leadership traits, which include charismatic, visionary and inspirational leaderships. They engage with their followers by affecting their motivations and promoting their attachment to the organisation. So while many people think that "yelling" at someone is a form of motivation, I am sorry, but it's not.
Cross-Cultural Competence - Cross-cultural competencies and capabilities are critical to the Army's strategic objectives in the future operating environment. Many people I have noticed on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the journalist Joe Hildebrand, seem to think this term means catering towards the minority groups, or some other form of "political correctness" that has to do with ethnic groups within the Army or opposing soldiers. It's no wonder he used the terminology in the heading of the article to make it more attractive towards those groups who oppose political correctness as well as those with negative racial mindsets.
I even had someone who basically told me he understood the article, yet went on to say:
"I believe people on the outside believe all this stuff is great, career building and the like. In reality though, the military isn't the place for these types of courses. I'm sure it could work...etc, but it doesn't need it. There is already so much they have to do, another warm and fuzzy course isn't going to change anything. And because of the attitude toward this kind of training, the outcomes may not exactly reflect civilian application. Also, all those points you wrote are already strengths and capabilities of the current ADF training, I believe there, not knowing what does go on, that would sound like a great thing to a civilian, but in reality it is already achieved. These courses come and go and to be honest, are the product of someone in Canberra justifying their job for another year. What I mean there is currently a lot of time spent on doing "corporate type" training like this which doesn't achieve much and is seen this way. More time would be better spent on actual crucial military training and exercises."
I am sorry, but you did not understand the article at all, not in the slightest. Firstly, the military IS the place for these types of programs. Being an effective leader in our modern world is vital to our country's safety as well as the safety and well-being of their subordinates. It is vital these high-ranking leaders of our Army develop their skills in how they do their jobs and work with other people.
He goes on to say "I'm sure it could work...etc, but it doesn't need it". Sorry, but they do need it. The Chief of Army himself mentioned last year that they needed more training in terms of leadership skills. Note, that was said "last year", not just recently. Every single organisation needs this and it WILL work, because that's what the training is all about...how to be a better leader for your workplace and other organisations. If it didn't work, NO one would be taking advantage of these programs. The fact of the matter is, it DOES work and that is why they are utilising these programs to upskill.
In regards to the "civilian application" and how the outcomes of the program may not reflect the military training, these companies work with the military and other large organisations ALL the time to coach them on different levels of communication. That's what they are there for, and like many big organisations like the Army, they are able to utilise these programs to their leisure and for the growth in leadership within the Army. Insulting how a person does their job because of these training programs is an insult to all the hard work they do, all the time spent in developing these programs to up the skills of other people (different ranking officers, different levels of an organisation) and basically insulting our military because they want to grow and improve, which in turn, leads them to develop better strategies for OUR safety, OUR well-being and OUR defence against enemies.
These are the kinds of comments that I saw while interacting on the comment thread of News.com.au. Here are a few examples from the Facebook page:
Continuing on. In a military environment, the Army personnel will be required to interact effectively with and influence people from diverse locations and cultures. This can present challenges and opportunities for soldiers and leaders at all levels. The Australian Army is now recognising that future success hinges on the cross-cultural effectiveness of its leaders (and soldiers). Strategic and tactical interests in cross-cultural scenarios range from contextualising intelligence and socio-cultural data about the enemy, enhancing foreign security force training efforts with partners, fostering multinational intereoperability with allies, and proving appropriate support for communities in different parts of the world.
Interpersonal Maturity - Researchers have found that self-awareness was related to the personal effectiveness dimension of a leader and identified six meta-competencies - one of which was "interpersonal maturity". As leaders move higher in organisational ranks, such as the Army, the interpersonal aspect of their leadership role becomes more important. Many of the interpersonal skills required of strategic leaders must heighten their behaviour to an interpersonal maturity that goes beyond face-to-face leadership used easier in their careers.
Since the strategic leader's environments often exist outside traditional military organisational structures, interpersonal kills are central to success. Dealing with leaders of other services, non-governmental/governmental activities and nations require shifting from a power relationship to a personal relationship. Some of the skills on interpersonal maturity include empowerment (sharing of power with subordinates, peers and constituents), consensus building and negotiation.
Authoritarian, Assertive and Angry - All you need to read is the Leadership aspect of the Chief of Army's open letter for a better view as to what he means. It was published on the 1st of September, 2016. It is not new and it has been there for quite a long while now.
Continuing on with the article:
Heading back to the article now, the second paragraph talks about "psychometric and psychological testing" to "transform its culture to fit with modern standards". May I point out that while Hildebrand implies "culture" and "modern standards" as a political correctness statement, that this is not what it means.
Psychometric and Psychological Testing - I don't think this is too hard to understand. Psychometric testing in terms of leadership is a tool to measure the skills and abilities of individuals in a high-ranking leadership position. It helps identify strengths and developmental needs. It helps improve self-awareness in areas such as: Work and Execution (manages stress, expresses ideas clearly...etc), Interacting with Others (empowers employees, displays cooperation and teamwork...etc) and Thinking and Deciding (gathers and assess information, solves problems, making decisions, clear purpose...etc). Psychological testing is pretty straightforward, as it has to do with mental health and morale.
Hildebrand continues with his quotation marks again, this time surrounding the words "executive coaching services" for private and group sessions. As mentioned before in this article, coaching services such as The Coaching Room develop these programs for senior level personnel, including those in the Army.
The Coaching Room’s Executive Leadership Coaching program is designed specifically to help empower C-Suite Directors and Senior Executives in Leadership responsible roles. The Developmental side of our Leadership Coaching is the awareness and integration of blind spots and developmental switch points that hold the Leader back from facilitating theirs and others potential.
You can read more about what Executive Coaching Programs do here by clicking on the picture:
Continuing on with the article:
When it comes to "identity" and leadership, this is very simple. Of the three key components of a military leader (character, presence and intellect), character is central to an Army leader's core identity. A leader internalises the Army's values and are guided by their professional military ethics.
The extent to which a leader internalises the values and attributes that shape leader character directly, relate to his or her effectiveness in their work environment. Taking on a more psychological aspect in this paragraph, thinking of oneself as a leader will increase the chances of acting like a leader, and these factors are likely to influence the relationship between identity, behaviour and performance. Potential intervening constructs include individual difference variables such as self-efficacy, motivation to lead, and goal orientation.
"Australian Defence Association executive director Neil James said it was a mistake to think the Army needed to change its leadership style.
"You don't want your army to change too much," he said. "You want your army to win wars."
According to the article, Mr James served in the Army for 31 years. A simple Google search brings me to his biography page on the ADA website:
One thing that jumped out at me was this line, "Neil's military experiences over four decades have spanned a wide range of regimental, intelligence, liaison, teaching, operational planning, operations research and historical research positions throughout Australia and overseas."
The fact that Neil has had various experiences within the military makes me really surprised that he feels the Army is changing and doesn't need to change its leadership style. To win wars, you need to become a better leader. You can't have one without the other. You were a teacher, in a leadership role...how does that not compute?
Look, Neil, you have been retired for quite a while and the ADA itself is a voluntary organisation, and unfortunately for you, leadership styles change and grow in every single workplace, including the Army. That is the whole point in growing as an organisation and as a leader. That is the whole point in being updated on current training that works in order to achieve a successful outcome for everyone involved. Do you really want them to have the same leadership style back in the days when you were working there? The world has changed so much that we all need improvement in terms of how we communicate with one another (internal and external organsiations) and how we deal with situations. It amazes me that you are so uneducated in relation to the Executive Coaching Programs and that all the experiences in your lifetime led you to say that specific comment. You should know better, so shame on you for adding onto the misinformation of the entire content headed by Joe.
Mr James goes on to say in response with the misconception that the Army is too "aggressive":
"Armies don't work because people yell at people," he said. "It's teamwork that drives the army, not shouting."
That is the whole point of the Executive Coaching Programs. It is about leadership, it is about these leaders being upskilled in current modes of leadership skills that help include motivating teamwork, providing an encouraging and respectful environment, and so many more other things that you seemed to have no clue about. Basically read back to the terminology I described near the beginning.
Once again, Mr James continues on discussing his misconception on how leadership works:
He said leadership skills were already taught extensively within the Army and this program seemed to be more directed at officers dispelling that misconception when dealing with other people and organisations, rather than actually changing themselves.
"It doesn't matter what coaching you give, they'll be people out there in society who think that. But that's society's problem, not the army's."
Hold on, didn't he say earlier that "you don't want your army to change too much"? Firstly Neil, they are not going through these programs to be "less aggressive", but to enhance their leadership style and how they assess and develop strategies for our country's borders. This leads to better communication within their internal staff here in Australia, as well as overseas with other organisations. Leadership is a lifelong journey of development and the Army knows they lost focus on that, hence the need for more training. If you seriously do not understand WHY they need better leadership skills (if I have not drummed that enough already throughout this post), then I honestly do not understand how your mind works.
Zed says it best when he sums up the article with an example in relation to the new leadership training by the Army:
Finishing off my post, this is directly to Joe Hildebrand. I took at peek at your Twitter page, and while I slammed you on there too, I noticed that you definitely do cater towards the rabid political correctness groups, and it is evident that you have no idea what Executive Coaching Programs are or what they do for our Army and for us.
You call yourself a "journalist", Joe. You did a Bachelor of Arts degree here at the University of Melbourne, majoring in History and English. In that course you would have learned all about research skills, you would have learned that you needed "facts" in order to create a project (aka the article) that is true and factual. Your article however had some facts in relation to what the Army is currently doing, but you twisted those facts and turned the entire article into a political correctness piece. You basically encouraged (as per your Twitter feed and noted on your Facebook and news sites) people who have no idea about communications and leadership skills, with their hateful and negative agendas against our Australian Army. You spread misinformation and lies, therefore brainwashing so many people around you and me towards the political correctness agenda and uneducated opinions of how our military actually works. This has nothing to do with "if you served" in the Army, but how communication is a vital aspect in the environment and why training is needed to stay current.
You should have turned the article into a piece about how the Army is developing and growing as an organisation by training their high ranking officers (not the soldiers as people seem to be saying) to become better leaders, which will make our country safer. It is sad that as a supposed journalist and "television personality", that you did not do the proper research skills for your article.
Has journalism gone so far down in the drain that so many people are like you? Do they all write about things they have no idea about? I seriously hope not. I have hope that you will take a better look at what you write in the future, so that you don't continue spreading around dangerous information about our military. Our military, our Army is always growing, is always getting better.
The best thing about them is that they know their strengths and weaknesses, and they are doing all they can to improve on those weaknesses by training themselves to become better leaders for the sake of our lives and theirs. If you do not understand what being a leader is, and how a leader should always be trained throughout their entire career, then you should be ashamed to be in your field because you should know better too.
I guess I also have to thank you in a way, because you have made me appreciate my Masters so much more, and it has really opened my eyes up to all the ignorant people who spread misinformation when it comes to communication and leadership in the workplace.
To everybody else who still feels that what the Army is doing is wrong, take a look at "The Defence Leadership Framework" written by the Department of Defence. It talks in-depth about what a leader is, what they do, who they all are in terms of ranking, what their role is, how they do it, how it affects us and how they continue growing (which is what their training is all about)...etc.
Thank you to the Department of Defence and our soldiers who, without them, our country would not be protected. Thank you to all the levels of ranking personnel within the military for using your leadership positions to keep us and our soldiers safe too. I hope you keep growing and I will gladly keep giving my money in order to be safe and protected because of your continuous training.