Saturday, June 20, 2015

Humor in Uniform – EDUCATION DESTROYS LEADERSHIP QUALITIES – Strange Military Logic

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

EDUCATION DESTROYS LEADERSHIP QUALITIES
Topsy Turvy “Military Logic
Ramblings of a Retired Veteran
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Life is funny.

Life is full of contradictions.

And this is more so in the military – where there is plenty of humour in uniform.

For example  in the 1970 when I joined the Navy  I realized that – in the Navy  your career prospects are inversely proportional to your education

Yes  believe it or not  it was strange logic  but it was true:

The higher your qualifications  the lower your status in the hierarchy

When I joined the Navy  I found that at the bottom of the heap were the most highly qualified Post Graduates (M.Sc./M.Tech.) who land up as Education Officers (called Schoolies).

These Schoolies” were landlubbers who ended up teaching the basics of algebra and geometry to sailors. 

In the middle rung of the officer status hierarchy  we had the Technical Officers  who were Engineering Graduates (BE/B.Tech.).

And lording over everyone were the matric-pass (or interscience-pass) Executive Officers  who were the prima donnas – and had superior status vis-à-vis their more educated counterparts. 

In the Army  the situation was even worse.

Lesser qualified infantry/cavalry officers of the arms enjoyed much better career prospects as compared to their more highly qualified technical counterparts of the services.

In fact – infantry officers totally dominate the higher army leadership – and it is common knowledge that – in most cases – officers of other arms/services are better qualified than infantry officers.

In fact  you will be amazed to learn what a grand old Admiral  a distinguished sea dog and war veteran who had served with distinction both in war and peace  used to always say to us. 

The Admiral always said that: too much education destroyed natural leadership qualities.

His view was that: too much education hampered the inculcation and development of Officer Like Qualities (OLQ)  which was the sine qua non of military leadership.

Education is not conducive to OLQ”  he would say  adding that: education makes officers think and analyse too much.

This paradox exists in the civilian world too. 

Everywhere in administration  generalists prevail over specialists

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers are at the helm of affairs in all types of organizations ranging from Airlines to Electricity Boards to Public Sector Units to Port Trusts to Financial Institutions.

Yes  you will see generalists lord over specialists in all places – in most government organisations – and even in the corporate sector – where generalists head technical and operational entities even if they have no expertise. 

Some IAS officers are even appointed as Vice Chancellors of Universities. 

Yes  it seems that IAS Officers are truly the “jack of all trades”   you name any type of government organization  and you will find an IAS Officer heading it.

In many places where anti-intellectualism prevails  like in the military and civil services  if you are highly educated and specialized  you are considered a boffin” – or an egghead  a geek  or a nerd  who is unfit for leadership roles.

Do you agree with what the grand old Admiral used to say? 

Does Education really destroy natural Leadership Qualities? 

Does Education hamper the inculcation and development of Officer Like Qualities (OLQ)?

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This blog post is a spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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