MAKING THE ARMED FORCES YOUR WAY OF LIFE :
UNDERSTANDING OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES
A very warm Namaste and a resounding Jai Hind!
In some of my previous posts, I have attempted to acquaint you with the Service Selection Boards, who play such a crucial role in identifying the right candidates for the Indian Armed Forces. We have also seen the way the SSB process is carried out.
If I were to summarise, the job of the SSB is to gauge the personality of each candidate and assess whether the personality is suited for a life in the Armed Forces. Now each personality is different and very complex, and gauging it in depth, in a short span of time, is a challenge for the lay person. The subject of personality, and what goes into making it and how to assess it, is a vast and complex one. I think, I will leave it for discussion at a later date.
Coming back to brass tacks: what is it that the selectors at the SSB see in the candidates that helps them to decide upon the suitability of the candidate? How do they decide whether a personality is suitable? After all, it cannot be left to each assessor to make an assessment based on his whims and fancies!
Well, as it happens, there is indeed a very elaborate process, wherein three different assessors, using three different techniques, gauge each individual on a set of specific parameters or traits, which we may call Officer Like Qualities (OLQ). It is the particular mix of traits in each individual which makes him or her unique.
The OLQ, 15 in all, are grouped into ‘Factors”. Based on Factoral studies, and the qualities encompassed in each factor, it was found that these qualities devolve around those required in a good worker, a good soldier, a good communicator & organiser and a good leader. Loosely, they could be looked at depending upon their association with the qualities of the mind, heart, limbs or, body. Let’s have a brief look at each OLQ.
Factor I: Planning and Organizing. This factor includes four qualities which are associated with the mental aspects of a person.
Factor II: Social Adjustment. This factor includes three qualities which are associated with the heart/conscience of the person.
Factor III: Social Effectiveness. This factor includes five qualities which are an outcome of the dynamic interaction of the above two factors, i.e. head and the heart.
Factor IV: Dynamic. This factor includes three qualities which are associated with the limbs or the coordination between the mind and the body.
Marks and Recommendations
Each assessor, using his own technique and tools assesses each candidate for each OLQ, while rating each OLQ on a scale of 1 to 10. Each assessor, ie, the IO, the GTO and the Psychologist gives marks out of a total of 225 (each assessor) and candidates who score 90 marks or more in a technique are recommended in that technique (IO / Psy / GTO). Each assessor also gives a grading, which is known as Overall Present Rating but this rating is not final. The trainability of the candidate also needs to be factored in. Trainability would generally be higher the youngera candidate is and the longer the training period. Thus, trainability marks for NDA and TES entries would be higher than for direct entry (IMA / OTA / AFCAT) and would be the least for service candidates.
Trainability. From trainability point of view, the OLQ may also be classified as deep rooted qualities, trainable qualities and less trainable qualities.
Deep Rooted Qualities. Effective intelligence, Reasoning ability, Cooperation, Sense of responsibility, Stamina (mental stamina).
Trainable Qualities. Organizing ability, Power of expression, Initiative, Self confidence, Ability to influence a group, Stamina (physical stamina).
Less Trainable Qualities. Courage, Liveliness, Social adaptability.
So, do you have it in you?!!
Let me put your mind at rest – a successful candidate is not expected to have all the 15 qualities filled to the brim. After all, as I have pointed out earlier in this post, it is that particular mix of traits which a person possesses that makes his / her personality unique. However, do carry out a self appraisal to see where you stand in respect to each quality. Is there something you would like to improve in yourself? How should one go about it? Do write to me if there is a doubt / question in your mind.
What are the different techniques that are used to assess the personality of the candidates? Well, that is what I propose to discuss in some later blog posts.
Till then, Farewell.