SOLLIMS Sampler Special Edition, May 2017 - Page 27

e. TOPIC. Leadership Challenges with Multi-Continental Troops – UNIFIL Case (Lesson #1784) Observation. Leadership on UN peacekeeping missions – with troops from many different nations and cultures – presents an array of challenges for commanders, as experienced by a Polish officer assigned to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). His advice for becoming an “interculturally effective leader”: integrate differences, bridge differences, and tolerate differences. Discussion. During the 9th International Lessons Learned Conference (ILLC), held in Tartu, Estonia in June 2015, one of the presenters, a Polish officer, gave a briefing on “Multinational Challenges for Leading Multi-Continental Troops – UNIFIL Case.” As a former commander/leader on the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission, he outlined the many challenges of leading and cooperating with participants from various countries/multiple continents, which sometimes resulted in cultural “confrontations.” The most significant challenges were: (1) command & control; (2) different training and professional standards; (3) different Tactics, Techniques, and procedures (TTPs); (4) national caveats; (5) attitudes toward obeying orders; (6) attitudes toward following the battle rhythm; (7) cultural awareness; (8) personnel/identity recognition; (9) language; (10) religion; (11) post-colonial syndrome on the part of some members of a certain African contingent; and, (12) climate adaptability. The officer cited the following Lessons for overcoming the noted challenges: (1) Acquire knowledge about your Partners; (2) Adapt your command style; (3) Make relationship-building a top priority; (4) Understand contingents’ capabilities; (5) Realize that your way is not the only way and that different approaches might be needed; (6) Conduct negotiation – consensus is crucial; (7) Gain understanding of contingents’ variations in English; (8) Establish a common sense of purpose; (9) Establish common SOPs; (10) Establish a Common Operating Picture (COP); (11) Promote equity of risk and reward; and, (12) Employ team-building actions and events. His bottom line advice for future commanders was: integrate differences, bridge differences, and tolerate differences. Recommendations. To integrate differences, bridge differences, and tolerate differences when leading multi-national troops, the briefer offered the following recommendations: Table of Contents | Quick Look | Contact PKSOI Page 26 of 36