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Developed as a joint effort by U.S. Naval War College’s (NWC) College of Operational and Strategic Leadership (COSL) Department and the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center (NLEC), the Intermediate Leadership Course (ILC) is designed to replace the Navy’s former Department Head Leadership Course.
The course was developed to directly reflect the Chief of Naval Operations’ (CNO) Lines of Effort (LOE) found in the CNO’s Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority as well as support NWC’s mission of educating leaders. The course is designed to prepare intermediate-level naval officers heading to department head positions or community milestone positions of similar responsibility by promoting professional growth in ethics, self-awareness, leader development and decision making.
The initial feedback from the first class of students was positive.
“Great ethics discussion,” said Alexander Homme, an ILC participant and Judge Advocate General (JAG) student. “In college and law school I never got enough straight ethics training and found the course useful and relevant to think about. We had a good debate after class about whether or not the JAG Corps is the conscience of the Navy; and the ethics discussion and reading from class got us all thinking about the topic.”
After taking more than a year to develop the ILC course, NLEC and COSL took the time to not only develop the course but to test it out on students to ensure it had the right changes to make the positive difference to support the CNO’s priorities, especially the gold LOE which is focused on leader development and strengthening our Navy team. The course was spawned from the CNO’s Developed Leadership Development Continuum Council (membership represents all the various Navy committees) which saw a need for a more robust course to ensure there was a clearer leadership development continuum.
“The ILC is targeted for the mid-level ranks, or the ‘critical middle,’ which is so important to the culture of an organization,” said Capt. Peter Mantz, commanding officer, NLEC. “More importantly, we challenge the students through reflection, facilitate rich discussion and case studies in order to stretch them. These command leaders cannot expect to grow their teams until they grow themselves. Our hope is that they walk away from this course with a renewed sense of purpose as key leaders within their organization and a sense of ownership in their professional development.”
Student led discussions are largely used with ILC which allows for selected leaders to share their experiences and then discuss with each other the pros and cons.
“I enjoyed the conversations we had in the small group over things like the philosophies behind leadership and ethical dilemmas,” said Kathryn Para, an ILC participant and JAG student.
The need for the course was confirmed as several students commented on the importance of learning about self-awareness and resolving ethical dilemmas that intermediate leaders face in the Fleet.
“Ethics, leadership and the general conversations were the courses greatest strengths,” said Nicole Staring, an ILC participant and JAG student. “I really enjoyed the conversations and I feel like I learned a lot about my colleagues through the conversations. I was forced to consider many different opinions and leadership types and I think that is the best way to learn your own leadership style.”