ASOG trains 23 new FSOs on Leadership in a VUCA World
25 Jan 2023
The Ateneo School of Government - Executive Education Program, in partnership with the Human Resources Management Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), successfully conducted the leadership module of the cadetship program of twenty-three new foreign service officers (FSO IVs) last January 11 to 13, 2023 in First Pacific Leadership Academy (FPLA), Antipolo City. Entitled “Rethinking Leadership in a VUCA World: Forming Leaders in Diplomacy”, the program aimed to ground the leadership competencies of the FSO IVs on empathy, dimensions of emotional intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship management), all contextualized in the VUCA environment.
During the opening of the training program, DFA’s Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Management, Asec. Christopher Montero shared his thoughts on leadership: "Leadership is not synonymous with rank. Nor should it be confused with authority. It is a skill that is learned and, more importantly, it is one that is earned. It is a measure of the quality of your interactions with others, whether they be internal or external clients. And at the heart of leadership is respect”. Ms. Cristina Alikpala, Academic Head and OIC of the Executive Education Program of ASoG reminded the importance of foreign service officers in solving the daunting challenges that the world faces today and the difficulty of countries to work and band together as she emphasized that the “[FSOs are the] frontliners in this effort to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between and amongst nations".
For the first day, the participants were given an avenue to get to know further their batchmates through interactive activities by sharing snippets about themselves. They were also met with a group activity imbibing the value of adaptability and flexibility in a VUCA environment.
During the later part of the day, the concept of a complex system was introduced to the participants and was used as the basis for their group activity on identifying key agreements on some of the issues dealt with by the department such as national security, foreign policy, Philippine society and culture, diplomatic and consular affairs, and economic and environmental diplomacy.
The second day of the training program dived with exploring various leadership styles but focused on the need of the current times: empathy and leadership rooted from an emotional quotient. This lecture was coupled with activities on emotions and empathic listening.
As part of understanding different personality types, a set of questionnaires were distributed for the participants to answer where the results of their Myers–Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) were mapped, and each of them was explained. Exploring the different personality types allowed the participants to understand the dynamics of their MBTIs and learn how to develop toward self-integration and mastery. This was followed by an activity where the participants were able to translate their idea and story of resilience through the crafting of masks, followed by sharing of their stories.
The second day capped off with sharing of affirmations within the cohort as part of strengthening the support system of the batch and increasing the trust within their environment.
The third day of the session gave emphasis on the norms and behaviors observed by the cohort within the department. This provided an avenue for them to present some of their current best practices and strategize new activities. This day also served as the integration and closing of the three-day training program.
To conclude the training module, the training director and main resource speaker, Dr. Rutth Gerochi, showcased a video explaining the Japanese concept, of Ikigai. She hoped that the cohort sees their current posts [as FSOs] as their own version of ikigai or their reason for being.
As ASoG Dean Dr. Philip Arnold P. Tuaño delivered his closing remarks, he expressed his gratitude to the organizing committees and restated the support of the School to the representatives and future leaders of the country. He also discussed the importance of leadership in navigating challenging and uncertain situations as he said, “Leadership skills allow foreign service officers to understand the perspectives and motivations of different actors, and to make well-informed decisions in situations of uncertainty. This is particularly important in complex, multi-faceted conflicts and situations, where understanding the underlying dynamics and drivers of events is essential to finding lasting solutions".
The Rethinking Leadership in a VUCA World: Forming Leaders in Diplomacy was its third iteration after the first two were held last 2019. This not only followed the previous runs’ structure of providing the participants a space to appreciate the challenges and opportunities of leadership within the context of DFA and the VUCA environments, but also explored, analyzed, and reflected through the lens of the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the personal, professional and organizational life of the new diplomats.
The Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) is the graduate school of leadership and public service of the Ateneo de Manila University. The ASoG Executive Education Program was created to foster cooperation between the private and public sectors for national development goals. For inquiries about training programs, you may contact the ASoG Executive Education Program via email address email@example.com.