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The Command Team: A Key Enabler

Chief Warrant Officer Stéphane Guy Print PDF
Chief Warrant Officer Stéphane Guy
Abstract :

What is the ‘Command Team,’ and how important is this concept within our organization?  In the recent past, I have met and discussed this concept with many senior officers, and discovered that, unless they have been involved in a Commander/Chief Petty Officer First Class (CPO1)/CWO relationship at some point in their career, this concept is unfortunately often misunderstood.  My intention here is therefore to explain the benefit of this unique close-knit relationship, and to highlight how a better comprehension of the Command Team concept can assist any organization within the CF.1

For the purpose of this discussion, a Command Team consists of the Commander and his most senior non-commissioned member (NCM) within any organization, with the exception of the special relationship that exists onboard ships, when the Command Team comprised of the CO and the Coxswain quickly expands to a Command Triad, with the inclusion of the Executive Officer (XO). Furthermore, the principles discussed can be applied to any Command Team from the unit level to the most senior positions within the CF, with the understanding that at the unit level, a CPO1/CWO will mostly be involved in leading the unit, while his counterpart in very senior positions will be focussed more exclusively upon leading the institution and his contribution may have a more profound and longer-term impact on the CF as a whole.

As described in our CF leadership manuals, command is based upon formally delegated authority, and is reflected in the NATO definition of command as “… the authority vested in an individual of the armed forces for the direction, coordination, and control of military forces.” Command typically includes, but is not limited to, such things as planning, problem solving and decision making, organizing, informing, directing and leading, allocating and managing resources, developing, coordinating, monitoring, controlling, and so on. Nearly everything a Commander does – planning, directing, allocating resources, monitoring – is driven and governed by the Commander’s vision, goal, or mission, and the will to realize or attain that vision, goal, or mission. As such, command is the purposeful exercise of authority – over structures, resources, people, and activities.2 Consequently, a Commander has the responsibility to lead and manage all resources assigned to him through his legal and personal authority, as well as by his leadership and management skills. The interesting note is the ratio of leadership and management requirements change with higher ranks to a point that a Commander at the strategic level is deeply involved with strategic visioning and management, while his leadership role has shifted from leading people to leading the institution.

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The Command Team: A Key Enabler

Date Deposited : 08 Apr 2015 10:46

Last Modified : 08 Apr 2015 10:46

Official URL: http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/arc/index-eng.asp

Volume 11, Number 1, - 2011

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