NDA (I) results were declared on 15th June 2018. Around 6 lakh students appeared for the same and only 8363 have cleared the written exam; that is roughly 1.4 percent. Out of these only 415 will clear SSB and join the Armed Forces (360 National Defence Academy and 55 Naval Academy). That is 1 in 1446 students. It takes a lot be 1 in 1446. There are definitely some qualities which the Services Selection Board looks for in the future officers. Qualities generally are inherited from parents. But as the saying goes – “Nothing is impossible”, one can definitely put some conscious efforts and acquire new and better qualities. Following is a list of a few, an Armed Forces Officer must have:
One can’t imagine an Armed Forces Officer who lacks confidence. That’s because never has been one like that. Self confidence and belief are the key qualities which are sought in an officer. Ability to take decisions under pressure almost daily is this job’s requirement. Confidence also attracts respect. And if you are not confident, your subordinates won’t take you seriously and may not follow you and that’s not the culture in the Armed Forces.
Armed Forces spend large amount of times at remote landscapes, with harsh physical conditions. At such, Physical fitness is a pre requisite. One needs lots of stamina, alertness and spontaneity to survive there. Though adequate training is given to officers and they are made to do enough exercises to instill fitness and a habit of fitness regimen, but during the recruitment process, special attention is paid to endurance and fitness levels of the applicants.
Physical strength alone is not sufficient; one has to possess high levels of mental strength as well. In emergency situations, an officer would be required to make speedy decisions. An officer would also need to adapt to different conditions and must have the ability to handle emotional distress and to stay calm, i.e. emotional resilience. Some military organisations make soldiers run with heavy weights without telling how far they have to run. This is done to enhance ability to cope with – not knowing without freaking out with the emotional distress.
Intelligence and Knowledge
Physical and Mental endurance are significant but incomplete without a certain level of intelligence and knowledge. Officers are required to make big and important decisions, and for that they will need to be knowledgeable and will need to possess sharp, active and smart brain. Armed Forces expect to hire the most intelligent of all and that is why they allow only 1 in 1446 to clear the written exam.
There is no requirement of cowards in the Armed Forces. We all know how during conflicts officers need to show courage and boldness and act bravely. The security and safety of the entire nation is dependent on them and they must act fearlessly.
The challenges that officers are thrown, can’t be accomplished without unrealistic optimism. With a negative approach, officers won’t be able to finish tasks and complete duties. In fact they have to smile and carry out tasks which are generally considered impossible
Determination and Dedication to deliver results
Officers need to be like Arjuna, focusing only on target and not looking at anything around. They must be goal/task oriented. When a senior imagines, plans or says something, it is an order for the junior officer and they have to fulfill it, come what may. They need to have determination like no one else.
An officer has to lead not only his battalion but do much more. He must have great leadership qualities to ensure that his team walks in the right direction and follows his orders and accomplishes the mission. Great leaders lead by example. They become role models for their team. An officer needs to have a clear vision and must possess great communication skills. He has to address his team every now and then and must be able to motivate his soldiers to such an extent that they should be ready to die, if the leader demands so.
Character & Self-Discipline
Peter Parker from the movie Spiderman said “with great powers come great responsibilities” and Abraham Lincoln said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power” and rightly so. Discipline and great character play an important role in making a successful officer. These qualities make an officer stronger and help him stay away from any worldly allures and temptations to compromise his duty and ethics and countries security.
An officer must be very creative as time and again he will have a task in his hands that no one else has attempted before and will need to show high level of creativity to ensure that in the end he has something exceptional. There is no place for mediocrity in the Armed Forces.
Boss is always right attitude
An Officer must have the approach –boss is always right. Once a senior officer has decided something and assigned it to a junior officer, the junior does not has an option to disagree or dissent. He must accept the order and do whatever it takes to complete the task at hand. An officer must be an active listener. He must listen to both his seniors and juniors very carefully. Seniors so that he comprehends all the instructions correctly and juniors so that he is aware of any grievances that they have and address them timely to ensure smooth functioning of the platoon. Juniors are the ones who carry out all the tasks at ground level and they may come up with more effective ways to complete a job so listening to juniors also gives new ideas to an officer.
An officer must show high levels of integrity. He must also be Polite and civilized. You don’t have to shout to be a leader. Your eyes, your expressions and your actions are sufficient to show that you are the boss. Needless to say, an Armed Forces officer needs to be loyal to his duty and more importantly to his country. No nation can afford to hire a traitor endangering its safety and security.
An officer needs to be selfless, keeping the countries interests over his personal ones. “Country First” is an officers motto, and then comes the family and at last personal interests. A selfish officer will do no good to his country, rather may breach countries security by passing on sensitive information to opponent Forces.