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Innere Führung and Global Integral Competence. By Kazuma Matoba and Bernd Küstner

In short by Gertrud Maria Vaske

The German armed forces should adapt to a more multinational context with the associated intercultural competence (ICC). This will mainly concern military leaders during future deployments – such as “Resolute Support”, the military training support mission. The mentor team comprises sixty NCOs and officers from twelve nations, including five German soldiers. Every day the team has to overcome cultural differences so that they can fulfill missions together. This mixed group has one task, namely to advise the Afghan National Army in northern Afghanistan. Using various models Kazuma Matoba and Bernd Küstner show how this can be done more effectively and productively.

In global military deployments it is important to have an awareness about one’s own roots and society-specific leadership culture. With “learning as change” or the “quadrant model”, the authors attempt to show how an integrated view of humans, society and the world can be gained from different perspectives.

Despite much discussion in society and in the military, Innere Führung still remains the basis for action today. Values such as human dignity, freedom, peace, justice, equality, solidarity and democracy are timeless. Yet the challenge of maintaining the core values of Innere Führung while adapting to society’s current needs should be considered more closely.

The authors point out that there are different understandings and interpretations of Innere Führung, and warn against misconceptions in leadership behavior and the possible loss of beneficial effects. It is the diversity of the armed forces and the wealth of different aspects which will give the Bundeswehr decisive advantages in future deployments. This diversity is characterized in particular by Innere Führung and ICC being put into practice in a way that is not directed solely at one’s own self, but which instead is intended to provide a global view of the problems.

There will be a greater need for diversity management skills in future Bundeswehr deployments, for example if its mandate to train foreign armed forces is expanded, or in the case of training missions that are based on a “post-war conflict”. Effective peace consolidation is only possible in cooperation with the host country or partner nations. This requires systematic thinking as a world citizen as is clear from the example of German armed forces in Afghanistan. A mentor in the German armed forces in Afghanistan should perceive his Afghan trainees without prejudice via the “It” and “I” perspective. The “We” perspective should enable him to develop a trusting relationship with his trainee, for example, so that a new, appropriate leadership culture can emerge.

Küstner and Matoba also point out that global integral competence is a broad term. It comprises important parameters for modern human resources development in the armed forces, such as self, social and system competences. In the authors’ opinion, these are well-suited to expanding the concept of Innere Führung as a better way of standing up to the challenges of globalization.

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