What Leadership Means, and Why It Matters in the Singapore Armed Forces

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The SAF defines Leadership as “a process of influencing people to accomplish the mission, inspiring their commitment, and improving the organisation”1. Leadership is a process of influencing others to follow a given direction and it involves three components: the leader, the follower and the outcome. To me, leadership is about the 3Rs – Reason, Responsibility and Respect.

Reason – the leader should first has clarity and know the purpose of the outcome. Only then is he able to communicate this to his followers and offer them a cause or objective that is interesting, attractive or satisfying enough for them to wish to follow. This is the first step to motivate and inspire their commitment.

Responsibility – the leader must take responsibility and ownership of all actions and decisions made during the process. He is to be responsible to his followers and guide them ethically.

Respect – The process of influencing goes beyond the use of rank, hierarchy or authority as the primary source of motivation to achieve the outcomes. The leader has to exhibit the correct values, act in a way and adopt a style that is consistent with his values.

Leadership in the SAF is important because of the nature of the job. It involves people and risks in all training and operations that we undertake. Our soldiers are the heart of Our Army and it is good leadership at every level that inspires them to be dedicated, committed and engaged in the defence of our nation.2 To

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