Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Development course builds leadership skills, cultural awareness for reserve officers

by Maj. Ian Phillips
U.S. Central Command


7/25/2014 - KARUP AIR BASE, Denmark -- More than fifty Guard and Reserve officers trained with their NATO counterparts during leadership exercises at the 20th annual International Junior Officer Leadership Development Course July 12-19.

Officers from seven countries met here to develop their leadership skills during seminars and field exercises. Facilitators challenged the officers both mentally and physically while sharing the challenges of working on a multicultural team. There were also lectures and teamwork events to introduce participants to the Danish Armed Forces leadership methods.

"During the course you are faced with leading professionals from various skill sets, languages and cultures," said Linda Mansolillo, a biomedical science officer assigned to the 752nd Medical Group at March Air Reserve Base, California. "They taught us a quick and effective process to quickly align the team that I will definitely use in my civilian and reserve careers."

The group included officers from Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

There were indoor and outdoor leadership development events where groups picked a leader to guide them through a demanding obstacle that challenged the whole team. Groups analyzed leadership styles and the outcomes after each event.

Capt. Robert Devane, a medical service corps officer assigned to the 94th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, said the course was a great mix of leadership and communication skills development.

"It taught me not only how to become an effective leader, but how to become a better communicator when working with others," he said.

By combining their military and civilian skill experience, the reservists brought a unique set of skills to the table.

While focused on leadership, IJOLD gave participants a chance to learn about other countries militaries, backgrounds, and traditions.

"The best part about IJOLD was building friendships with all of the international officers through team exercises and lots of humor," said Maj. Alexis Stucki, a nurse with the 934th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Minneapolis. "We all left with not only a better understanding of our allies and their military culture but with lifelong friends we hope to see again someday."

IJOLD is held each year in a different NATO country. Officers from the rank of second lieutenant through major have participated in the weeklong course.

U.S. guard and reserve officers interested in applying should watch for the reserve school selection board announcement each year. For more information contact the Air Reserve Personnel Center.

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