Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) Sweden and Crisis Management Centre (CMC) Finland, in cooperation with the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC) are running a Leadership Development Programme (LDP) for the EU CSDP civilian crisis management missions to enhance leadership competencies and skills of middle managers working in the field.
EU’s civilian missions operate in challenging environments across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Working in conflict areas with multi-national and multi-discipline teams can be demanding in itself, but it also creates extra challenges for leadership. To support the leaders working on the ground, CPCC, responsible for the operational conduct of civilian operations, has developed the Leadership Framework for civilian CSDP missions. Launched in 2023, the Leadership Framework is designed specifically for Heads of Units.
“With the fourth edition of this LDP we can see clearly that slowly but gradually the topic of leadership as a competence is gaining in interest. The latest guiding document, the Civilian CSDP Compact 2023 mentions the importance of leadership several times and has committed to investing in missions’ leadership at all levels. It is noticeable, that more managers and missions want to develop their leadership skills. The LDP is one of the main tools contributing to this. CPCC is grateful for the contribution of the FBA and CMC,” says Gigi De Root, CPCC’s Leadership Expert.
The FBA developed the first LDP with CPCC in 2020 and have conducted eight programmes, training around 100+ staff. Some programmes have been mission-specific, and some have had broad participation from across different missions.
Lena Larsson, Senior Specialist in FBA, is one of the long-term facilitators of the LDP.
“To follow the leaders in their personal development journey, presenting models and tools and see them taking ownership of their learning is very rewarding. The sessions offer an opportunity to share challenges and supporting each other in finding solutions. As a facilitator I learn from the participants and take that learning forward in the next session,” Larsson says.
Topics addressed in the LPD are, for instance, active listening, providing feedback, having difficult conversations, effective delegation, how to develop and maintain teams, gender responsive leadership skills, and how to hold self and others to account. The programme offers coaching and reflective tools that support the participants taking responsibility for their own learning.
Chief Senior Specialist Aaro Suonio from CMC Finland says that the participants have clearly utilized the multitude of leadership tools that the programme provides: “It has been a genuine pleasure to interact with the programme participants, who have taken on the challenge to develop as leaders, demonstrating commendable commitment.”
The participants’ feedback on the programme is overall positive and has helped create an understanding of the role of a leader and what being a leader contains.
Johannes Rueger, Head of EUAM Ukraine’s Press and Public Information Division is one of the participants of the 2023 programme. He has found the course useful in his daily work.
“Becoming a leader is the easy part, kind of like becoming a parent. Being a leader is a completely different story. In a constantly changing environment, balancing the expectations of the members of the team and the senior management is very challenging, as is the integration of new team members or handling conflict within the team. The LDP has provided me with tools to meet these challenges and I now feel much better equipped to perform as a leader,” Rueger says.
Following the completion of the LDP the next step is to evaluate and report on the programme and discuss with CPCC the continuation of the LDP, based on the CPCC Leadership framework and supported by the Civilian CSDP Compact 2023.