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Notification system apparently not working, uncultured and crunchy. I am looking for managers who show their energy and follow their own advice. I want presidents who are committed to the core values that we give the most priority. When this is not done, the consequences are to be expected.
Defense management focuses on simple actions and procedures, but is that really the problem? I think the people behind the system are the problem and the solution. I think we didn’t fully realize what the substance of these issues actually was. The Defense Department is trying to solve a problem, but not the right one.
When my first wave of notification cases also came in 2017, the Norwegian Armed Forces, like other companies, were hit. The wave highlighted topics such as gender differences, abuse of power and harassment in the workplace. As a measure, the Norwegian Armed Forces had to review the routine and focus on values and attitudes. Five years later, we’re back to the beginning. why?
The Chief of Defense held talks, followed up on notifications, and implemented new routines and operational procedures. But is this enough? The answer is no. How can we expect different results when we are still trying to solve the same problem with the same actions?
I think there is something deeper, less tangible and harder to quantify at the heart of the problem. We treat the symptoms. The disease remains untreated.
What we don’t want to say out loud
I don’t think the solution can be found in summaries of how to notify. The solution is not that managers have to take an e-learning course about unwanted sexual interest. I think the solution is to realize that this challenge is about more than just notification.
I’ve been in the army for over eleven years and have had many good bosses. However, I want to challenge these same bosses – is simple weeds the real problem, or is it the system itself?
I think one of the challenges has to do with management, the right man culture, negativity, and the desire to please line superiors. I believe this comes from a dogmatic indoctrination hierarchical professional system, which rewards forward and forward officers within the box, while values are forgotten in difficult everyday life.
In a hectic everyday life where you don’t have time to do what you have to do, choosing to prioritize the invisible versus playing well with the visible can leave us paralyzed and passive. I guess this is the reason why notification states are hidden.
We care about each other, for better or for worse – camaraderie and loyalty to the system are there. The challenge is when loyalty blinds us. Your boss is your best friend. Do we succeed in being good at things? Colleagues who have served together for decades are friends from the military academy, then the fiancés – then suddenly a party on the whistleblowing issue that you have to deal with yourself.
It’s alarming that some people don’t realize this is an uncultured thing. Is the culture too entrenched, is it naive, has the administration lost touch with the land? Or is it, as Chief of Defense Eric Kristofferson says, there is no ambiguity in the armed forces?
From the defense’s statements, it seems to me that the administration does not understand the real problem. Regarding the case, the colonel and the two women, Elizabeth Nattvig, Chief of Defense Staff, stated that they “did not find any undesirable circumstances in how the case was handled in the notification channel”.
It is troubling that the Vice Admiral seems comfortable allowing the person in question to receive more prestigious promotions and courses. The nature of the notification situation is serious. Trust was broken with everyone involved.
The silent majority
Trust in the system, each other and the military leaders is the mainstay of military management. “Value-based management is absolutely necessary for the armed forces to obtain the necessary confidence in both the population and our customers. This trust is the basis of legitimacy for the armed forces, and is the ultimate means of power for the state,” Christophersen wrote in the publication “The Armed Forces’ Fundamental Approach to Management.” We must be able to trust that the manager’s judgment is good and that the manager must represent, by his actions, the values we motivate.
In the end, at our judgement, we order our soldiers to kill or sacrifice their lives. It is necessary to trust the manager’s ability to judge. The lack of confidence in the leader has a direct consequence on how effective we are in the conflict. What do we do when a leader’s integrity is in doubt? How can we trust a person who directly challenges the same values he urges?
I think the silent majority should step into the light and take a firm stand on this issue. Like in the schoolyard bully circle, we have the bully and the victim and everyone else is watching. We have a choice. If we choose negative, we are part of the problem. If we choose to intrusive, we may risk standing out, but stop the bullying. Society expects it and soldiers expect it. We all know what’s right, but can we do it?
The power of role models
Leaders at all levels require subordinates to follow the Norwegian Armed Forces’ core values of respect, responsibility and courage. In my eyes, the commander of His Majesty’s Guards, Lt. Col. Trond Robert Voorbridged, shows the power of action and does respect, responsibility and courage when 30 soldiers are discharged after drug abuse.
“I don’t trust the 30 who confessed to using illegal drugs”, Forbregd male for NRK.
For me, Forbregd is the power of a role model. It inspires confidence, not only in the commander of the guard, but in the armed forces. I don’t see the defensive leadership’s willingness to submit to anything other than formal processes and bureaucratic systems. I think it has to do with the culture.
I have no confidence in a regime that chooses to forget that military leaders or employees have been convicted of rape, sexual harassment, and abuse of power. I don’t trust leaders who promote abusers of power and give them places in school, promotions, or positions that advance in their careers. I do not trust leaders who stand before the Assembly and exhort values, but at the same time harass and abuse their positions for sexual favors.
By promoting weeds, school spaces, and other benefits, it’s not just acceptance, but a reward. This is unacceptable and I ask the top management of the Norwegian Defense Forces to adhere to our core values. To begin rebuilding trust, defense leadership needs to show action and take consequences for violating our core values. Those who have defied must go.
This is not a women’s issue. This is a defense case. Society casts doubt on the values of the armed forces. We respond by properly handling notification situations in accordance with our uniform requirements and guidelines.
It is not just about media matters. It’s about what we stand for when we dress up and carry the flag on our shoulder. It is about our confidence in the armed forces and the confidence of society in us. If we don’t see it, we’ve already lost.
force for change
I encourage everyone to get involved, because I think this is about the most important thing we stand for: Norwegian values. I believe that at a low level we can influence the system, and we have the power to change – by not accepting. We must show that respect, responsibility, and courage are not something leaders talk about when it suits us. It’s something we have to live by, always, and not just when it suits us.
We do not work as officers. we he is officers. High demands are placed on soldiers, commanders, and officers as part of the military profession. If you do not meet these requirements, there is no place for you in this profession. It is not a human right to be a professional soldier. Every time we lower requirements, we also weaken our pride and professional integrity.
In the armed forces, leaders have no place without trust.
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