As an NS officer in the SCDF, I am not embarrassed to say that men from my unit were not the cream of the crop. Many of NSFs had family problems, children, pregnant girlfriends and financial problems. They were nevertheless my men. When they came with their problems, I made them mine. I may reprimand them but I also ensured they got out of trouble and never fall again. They must understand the gravity of their actions and at the same time learn of other alternatives to their life choices. If they deliberately fail to comply, they must understand that there are consequences. They may dread my lectures on life decisions after morning CA drills but I would regret not sharing if anything would happen to them. Likewise when they perform, they are recognised and rewarded.
As leaders it is our duty to inspire our men and ensure their well being is uplifted. They are not just equipment or vehicles that can be managed and left alone. They are humans with needs, motivations and ambitions.
In return, I only hope that they become better men than they were before and better than me. In fact, I believe they helped me more than I probably have done for them. Thanks guys.
Officers and enciks, show your men that you are human too – have empathy and compassion. You are not just puppets of bureaucratic systems. Just because you are in one does not mean the same should apply to the way you lead ypur men. Let them see that you are trying your best to make their short 2 years here as fulfilling as possible. They will understand that you have a job to do too.
I understand it is not easy trying to meet the expectations of our superiors who sometimes do not bother to understand the men. I for one cannot live with this hipocrasy. Officers who try their best always seen as never doing enough. I’m disappointed that they let two of my excellent unit commanders go. Be brave and be the first one to break the ripple that has been haunting the men all their lives and be their window of escape. Feel privileged that God has led them to you so that you may impart your knowledge and experience unto them.
After I ORD, my men would call me, instead of their current officers, for advice and help. I am glad that in their difficult situations they can at the very least reach me and not take easy way out. One of my man’s parents texted me during Hari Raya a few years back thanking me for taking care of her son DESPITE sending him to dentention barracks. So yes, it is possible.
At the same time, sometimes men can also be mischievious and malicious. We cannot save all of them nor can we believe every story we hear. After I left, it was sad to hear that some of my men went AWOL. I tried reaching out to them but we can only do so much. So as officers, we must also be aware and identify the men at risk.
We are a life saving force and it has to first begin with us and our men.
Source: Muhammad Fahmi Hussaini