Leadership, respect and honour: Training sailors for the future

Royal Canadian Navy

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By Sub-Lieutenant M.X. Déry, MARPAC PA

Leadership, respect and honour (LRH) are lead principles for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN); they are not only part of its culture but instilled via training throughout a sailor’s career.

As part of Operation HONOUR, these principles have been reinvigorated with updates to training in leadership, administration, bystander intervention and the divisional system.

The RCN Leadership Respect and Honour Professional Development Program provides a baseline understanding of the conduct requirements for all personnel in the RCN, providing guidance and procedures for reporting incidents of improper behavior.

Junior non-commissioned sailors and naval officers will continue to receive an introduction to military values and ethics at Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. As they progress through their training on either coast, they will encounter the first of several levels of LRH training recently approved for implementation at both fleet schools.

This foundational shift in training equips sailors with bystander intervention techniques, and leaders with the knowledge of how to handle the complex realities of inappropriate sexual behaviour within the divisional system.

As every sailor earns their occupation and rank qualifications, seamlessly integrated into that training will be small group facilitated discussions on those concepts.

As personnel progress in rank, the program focus shifts from simple understanding and individual actions to identifying the actions and expectations to be taken by supervisors at each level to resolve incidents and  prevent future occurrences.

“Some of the topics may be covered, from level to level, but the conversation around the topics will evolve with increasing levels of complexity while not repeating the training,” said LCdr Angus Fedoruk, leadership manager at Naval Training Development Centre (Pacific) command and leadership division.

Fleet school core instructional staff, Lieutenants and Petty Officers, underwent the higher levels of training recently in order be able to teach their trainees. “The instructor knows the class, they are the ones that are most integrated with them,” said LCdr Fedoruk, adding that the topics of leadership, respect or Operation HONOUR can be taught by a guest lecturer, but the goal is to have the topics discussed seamlessly during training.

In the coming months, all seven planned levels, from Ordinary Seaman/Naval Cadet to Chief Petty Officer First Class/Commander will be completed and implemented throughout the RCN. This will provide not only specific administrative and leadership guidance on Operation HONOUR, but a reinforcement of general leadership and understanding of the RCN Code of Conduct, the Divisional System and one’s role within the Chain of Command.

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