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May 25 2022

NCO Leadership Development in Historical Portsmouth

Junior and senior leaders from NATO's Allied Rapid Reaction Corps amassed for a non-commissioned officers' leadership and development event in Portsmouth, United Kingdom, 12 May 2022, to help foster cohesion and growth among the multinational team based in Gloucester.

Achieving excellence in high performing teams is not always about what's been said and done," highlighted David Faulkner MBE OLY, "It's about how they've been made to feel.

Faulkner, former Head of Women's Performance at the Football Association and Performance Director for England and Great Britain Hockey, presented 'The journey of High Performance Teams and Leadership' where he shared his personal reflections on topics of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, equity diversity and inclusiveness.

"Leadership today must be agile and flexible, whilst maintaining a clear sense of purpose and vision,​" said the 1988 Seoul Olympian Hockey gold medallist. "It's not about working harder or smarter…​ it's about being prepared to work differently."_nato4

"Today's leaders need a high level of self-awareness, should always be in tune with their people, and lead by example," said Faulkner. "A focus on team and personal development is vital."

British Army Sergeant Samuel Akplu and Corporal Freya Cassandra, clerks with the ARRC Central Staff Branch, also led discussions in the Map Room of the Southwick Park Officers' Mess. Dialogue focussed on deception operations and women's contributions and accomplishments of the allied operations on D-Day during World War II.

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Cassandra led an interactive activity on female espionage, where the audience had to guess who she was speaking about based on the information sheets provided.

I found it very informative as I was unaware of how much female spies were involved in D-Day, she said. 

After the briefs, the group of 33 multinational service members from Albania, Lithuania, Italy, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States changed in to more formal military dress for a tour and dinner night on HMS Victory, famously known as Lord Nelson's flagship. The tour boasted the historic Battle of Trafalgar, and guests ate an 1805 meal as they discussed the day's leadership event.

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"I learnt a lot of interesting facts such as the use of crows to find land and the rather unceremonious sea burials," said Cassandra. "It was an absolutely beautiful ship too, although rather than imagining the Battle of Trafalgar, I was envisioning the epic sea battles of Pirates of the Caribbean!"

U.S Army Staff Sergeant Gabriel Santiago, the detachment NCO for the U.S. Contingent, said he was fortunate to visit "because of the amazing history – older than the United States!"

"The tour and dinner aboard were a great way to encourage cohesion with partner nations following the leadership development presentations," said Santiago, a Puerto Rico native. "I had the opportunity to learn from an Olympic gold medallist on how to build a more cohesive and functional team. This is important because we work in a multinational environment with Soldiers from 20 allied nations."

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NCOs at the ARRC continue to develop leaderships programs to grow the profession in a multinational environment. The next NCO development event is scheduled later in the year where NCOs will travel to Italy and study corps level activity during the Allied Campaign from 1943 to 1944 and enhance the professional development of junior and senior NCOs.

Story by Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Public Affairs Office

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