Leadership – The Air Force Way” by Air Marshal Ramesh
Rai, Air Officer, Commanding-in-Chief,
HQ Training Command, Indian
Air Force, Bangalore
Air Marshal Ramesh Rai, Air Officer Commanding-in Chief, Training Command
Headquarters, Indian Air Force, Bangalore, delivered an inspirational
and an extremely motivating talk to a packed audience of students and other
invitees gathered at the Athena Auditorium of the MYRA School of Business on
January 9, 2015.
His commanding and dignified
entry into the campus spelt volumes of the leadership qualities of the Officer
as well as of the Air Force Personnel accompanying him. He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Jyoti
Rai, President of the Air Force Wives’ Welfare Association; Air Commodore, Om
Prakash Tiwari of the Air Force Selection Board, Mysore and a host of Senior Air
Air Marshal Ramesh Rai opened the
talk stating that Leadership Training in the Forces is a continuous process and
starts at the institutional level, progresses through the operational and
comprehensive development approaches.
The initiation of a leader in the
Forces begins with the all-important oath-taking ceremony, explained the Air Marshal. The
oath is imbibed into the blood and soul of every officer. The commitment to the nation, uniform and to
oneself, in that order, is also drilled into their souls. The Chetwoode Motto that is ingrained into
each officer’s psyche during training ensures that every officer comprehends that
the safety, honor and welfare of the nation always comes first; the safety,
honor and welfare of the men they command always follows next; while personal
ease, comfort and safety always comes last.
The core values of Mission,
Integrity and Excellence in mind, thought and action becomes an integral part
of the uniform they wear and adore.
The training for future leaders begins
at the Ab-Initio level with imbibing the required knowledge and skills to deal
with all kinds of warfare. Applying the
skills gained through class room lectures, demonstrations and war simulation
exercises, they acquire the knowledge and experience that will produce the
competencies essential to effective leadership. They are focused on honing followership
abilities, influencing peers and motivating subordinates.
Learning and growing themselves to
understand the full impact of their thoughts, actions and decisions on others
in roles as both follower and leaders are the essentials of the training. These
are assimilated into the Air Force culture and the officers learn to adopt the
core values of their profession.
At the Operational level,
personnel are trained to understand the broader Air Force perspective and the
integration of diverse people and their capabilities to execute operations.
Based on a thorough understanding of themselves as followers and leaders, and
how they influence others, they apply the organizational and team dynamics.
At the Strategic level, airmen
combine highly developed occupational and enduring competencies to apply broad
professional leadership capabilities. At this level, an airman’s required
competencies transition from the integration of people with missions, to
leading and directing exceptionally complex and multi-tiered operations.
The OODA model (Observe, Orient,
Decide and Act) for decision making in air combat was elucidated to educate the
audience how one could out-maneuver the enemy by assessing a situation with the
right knowledge, technology and skills.
Similarly, he said that success in business comes from adopting
strategies that keep you one-step ahead of the competition and this will help a
business leader to fight off threats and competitors. However, it is important to keep updating
and revising strategies to keep pace with a changing environment and rapid
improvisations in information technology, he deliberated.
Drawing upon his personal
experiences during the Kargil War and other war encounters, he enthralled the
audience and instilled what true leadership entails. Exercising sound judgment;
adapting and maintaining composure in stressful situations; demonstrating
flexibility and resilience; seeking and accepting constructive criticism; balancing
change and continuity; inspiring trust through establishing open, candid, and good
relationships; treating all individuals fairly and with respect; maintaining
high standards of integrity; placing mission success over personal gain; demonstrating
loyalty to the unit, the mission, and the chain-of-command; leading courageously
from the front; displaying moral and physical courage; projecting credibility and poise even when
challenged, taking personal
responsibility and accountability for decisions and actions; maintaining focus,
intensity and persistence, even under adversity; embracing qualities of
excellent followership; assessing oneself and the willingness to learn continually – are
all the facets of a good leader, and every officer is trained to develop these
qualities during his career, he said.
He explained that the stark
difference between a leader in the Forces and in the corporate world is the
ability of a leader in the Forces to motivate the men he commands to go to war
and give his life for the country. It is
this aspect that makes it all the more important for a leader of the Forces to
have a conceptual clarity as every decision he makes and every command he gives
is critical to the entire group.
He emphasized on two characteristics
of a good leader – being audacious, and expressing a strong professional
presence. These two traits, he stated,
will ensure that your team believes in your vision and connects with you as a
leader and with the mission at large. They
provide the spirit, soul and continuity of the Mission statement. This is the epitome of Leadership he
He wrapped up the session with a
short movie clip to demonstrate that the mission of the IAF is to defend the
skies of the nation to ensure that the countrymen sleep peacefully – it was
very touching indeed.
Prof. Sumant Bhakshi, Advisor,
MYRA School of Business introduced the session and the Air Marshal to the
audience; MYRAcle Mr. Srinivasan
compered the event; Ms. Suryavadhana gave a detailed profile of the speaker; and MYRAcle Mr. Ravi Sethi delivered the vote
of thanks. The event was well attended
by the Trustees, Governing Members, Faculty, Staff and students of the MYRA
School of Business.