Tag Archives: OSC Five Core Leader Functions

Treat – Knowing When and Where to Go for Help

This blog post is part of the OSC Five Core Leader Functions series that features several guest bloggers.

Of the five core leader functionsstrengthen, mitigate, identify, treat and reintegrate—the most problematic for many leaders is the “treat” part.  They certainly are given enough training in identifying symptoms, but they often have a tough time with their portion of the “treat” part.  After all, that’s medical’s job.

I am known for taking a few trips down metaphor lane from time to time when talking about stress. So, perhaps a metaphor might help in understanding the leader’s role in their Sailor’s treatment.

We will have achieved our goal of reducing stigma when depression or PTSD is viewed like a knee injury.  If you were to see one of your Sailors limping along on a bad knee, you wouldn’t ignore it.  You’d probably ask about it and ensure they were seen by medical.  You’d also ensure that your Sailor was on track with their treatment to get back to full duty.

There are two key things the leaders do.  First, they are aware of what is going on with their subordinates and, second, they support them in their treatment.  The knee injury is kind of easy because it is visible.  The stress injury can be more difficult.  Being aware of what is going on with your people takes a little more effort. First you have to get to know them, earn their trust and then develop the ability to pick up on subtle signs and behaviors.  This is where the stress continuum can help.  It gives you some categories and a list of behaviors as a sort of cheat sheet to check yourself.  If you think someone needs help, support their effort to find the right help and make sure they stick to a treatment program. It’s not easy to find the balance between respecting privacy and knowing when to intervene, but the extra effort will be worth it.

It doesn’t matter whether your people are hurting physically or mentally.  When they are hurt, we need to be able to pick up on it and then make sure they get the help they need.  You don’t have to be the therapist, but you just have to make sure they are able to get to the one they need.

BIO:

Captain Hammer is the director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. Prior to being the director of DCoE, Capt. Hammer served as the director of the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control at the Naval Medical Center (also known as NCCOSC), San Diego, California. Captain Hammer has personally trained thousands of service members in operational stress control, psychological health and traumatic brain injury topics.

Related posts:
Now I Have OSC – What Do I Do With It?
OSC’s Five Core Leader Functions
Conversation with a Cruiser CO: Practical Ways to Mitigate Stress
Success at Sea

Success At Sea

This blog post is part of the OSC Five Core Leader Functions series that will feature several guest bloggers.

by Rob Gerardi, Instructional Designer/Outreach Speaker, Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control

The best command I ever served aboard was the USS HIGGINS (DDG-76). After the 9/11 attacks the OPTEMPO and requirements for all ships increased immensely and ours was no exception.  We experienced our share of operational stress and observed its affects. However, our Sailors persevered and the HIGGINS earned multiple major awards.

The secret to our success was truly no secret–unit cohesion and quality leadership. The ship’s tight knit atmosphere encouraged us to know each other on professional and personal levels so we could be aware of and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. As a result, when there were signs of distress, or changes in behavior or functioning, timely interventions prevented small problems from becoming big ones.

Equally important to our success was our senior leadership’s monitoring of our command’s stress level. While we pushed ourselves to achieve mission, we also identified the stress zones in which individuals were operating moment to moment – and watched for the stressors that presented the greatest challenges. Keeping an eye on both our workloads and our shipmates allowed us to anticipate when the wear and tear would become too much.

However, it’s not enough to identify when someone is having trouble navigating stress, we have to act. Don’t let stigma be a barrier to admitting to your own or someone else’s stress problems.  On HIGGINS, we continually looked out for each other and ensured that everyone who needed help got it. Still today, many of us commonly engage each other and reminisce on how great that command was.

So, know the stress continuum, identify when you or your shipmates are in the yellow “reacting” zone, before you or they become “injured.”   Then have the courage to ask for help, or engage and help out a Shipmate. At the end of the day the most important thing you have is the pride of your mission and the respect and admiration for the Sailors and Marines serving by your side.

YouTube video – Navy OSC – Identify

About the Blogger:

Retired Master Chief Petty Officer Gerardi enlisted in the United States Navy on September 16, 1985. He has served as an Independent Duty Corpsman; Program Director, Independent Duty Corpsman School; Command Master Chief for the Naval School Health Sciences; and as the Commander Naval Surface Forces, Force Medical Master Chief. He retired January 2009, and works for the Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control, promoting the psychological health of Sailors, Marines and their families.

Related posts:

Conversations with a Cruiser CO – Practical Ways to Mitigate Stress

OSC’s Five Core Leader Functions

Now I  Have OSC – What Do I Do With It?

OSC’s Five Core Leader Functions

This blog post is part of the OSC Five Core Leader Functions series that will feature several guest bloggers.

The five core leader functions of Operational Stress Control are: 

Strengthen
Mitigate
Identify
Treat
Reintegrate

 

Strengthen

Strengthening individuals, commands, and families to build and enhance their resilience is the first of the OSC’s Five Core Leader Functions. We all enter the Navy with a set of preexisting strengths and vulnerabilities. Genetic makeup, prior life experiences, personality style, family supports and belief systems, are among a host of factors that can affect an individual’s ability to navigate stress and build resilience.  However, leaders can make a difference. Centuries of military experience and research have shown that LEADERS CAN enhance the resilience of their Sailors and their families regardless of pre-existing vulnerabilities. Leaders’ activities that can strengthen Sailors fall into three main categories—training, social cohesion, and leadership.

Training

Tough, realistic training develops physical and mental strength and endurance. The right training mix improves fitness but also enhances a person’s confidence in their abilities as individuals and as members of units. When Sailors know they have the skills to navigate the challenges they will face, their performance will improve and they also will be inoculated against the stressors they may encounter. Understanding shipmates and their limits is critical to building resilience. It’s only by knowing their people that leaders can develop the right mix of tough and realistic training that will build strength and endurance but won’t result in injuries.

Social Cohesion

Shared experiences and overcoming obstacles together connect us. Teams, families and commands become stronger when we work together toward a common goal.  This social cohesion is developed in a group over time and becomes a protective factor against the negative effects of operational stress.  Effective leaders know how to build cohesive units and understand the investment in time can pay big dividends.  One valuable team building activity is an effective after-action review (AAR).  If they are conducted in an open and non-hostile way, AARs are a good way to celebrate successes and to talk about ways to improve problems. Including families in command functions is another way to build social cohesion among team members. Unit functions can build relationships that will serve as resources for family members and help them navigate the challenges of military life.  Getting to know family members can also serve to help leaders and Sailors better understand their shipmates.

Leadership

Sailors and their families benefit greatly from leaders who teach and inspire, keep them focused on mission essentials, instill confidence, and provide a model of ethical and moral behavior. Courageous and steadfast leaders are a resource for Sailors to draw from during challenging times.  Leadership is the key factor for strengthening Sailors, families, and commands but leaders at every level must recognize and effectively navigate their own stress if they are to be role models for their shipmates and crews.

If you would like more information on strengthening, please refer to the joint Navy and Marine Corps “Combat and Operational Stress Control” doctrine, NTTP 1-15M, or request information about the Navy OSC Leader course for your command at 901-874-6800.

(The above post was adapted from NTTP 1-15M.)

Related post:

Now I  Have OSC – What Do I Do With It?

Now I Have OSC – What Do I Do With It?

This blog post is being reposted as an introduction to the OSC 5 Core Leader Functions series that will feature several guest bloggers.

Sailors, leaders and families across the Navy are being introduced to Operational Stress Control (OSC). This new approach, to help everyone in our Navy family navigate through the day to day and special stress that comes with serving in the Navy, is being presented and taught at many different levels. It begins with new Sailors at all accession points and is offered across career milestones such as Command Leadership School and the Senior Enlisted Academy. As commands and individuals develop an understanding of OSC and apply its tools and principles they are beginning to realize the value of OSC. Learning to navigate stress helps develop strong, resilient Sailors and commands better prepared to face the challenges of today’s Navy.

We plan to share many of your stories and how you’ve been helped by OSC over the next few months. Our goal is to provide you with new and innovative ways you can make OSC a way of life. OSC’s education and training aims to enhance your ability to prosper physically, emotionally and professionally throughout your career. Help us spread the word and let us know what has worked for you.

Keep watching our blog to read first hand why our leaders believe OSC is necessary, both for the good of their Sailors and families, and critical to mission accomplishment. Better understand through their personal testimonies how using OSC helped them navigate through stressful times and played key roles in their current successes. Learn as they demonstrate how using OSC principles such as the five core leader functions helped build strong, resilient work centers, Chief’s Messes and commands ready to take on the toughest missions – any time and any where.

Navy culture is changing in how we view psychological wellness – how we build and maintain it – how we identify and respond when wellness is compromised – and how we ensure our people have the best opportunity to return to wellness stronger, more resilient and better prepared to face new challenges. Changing culture is no small task, but working and sharing our successes and failures together can make it happen. Come join us as we make OSC a way of life.

About the Blogger:

Steve Holton is a Program Analyst with the Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) and Behavioral Health Programs in Millington, TN. He has played a key role in developing Navy OSC. Mr. Holton is a retired 32-year Master Chief Petty Officer, serving on four nuclear submarines, including a tour as Chief of the Boat on USS Parche (SSN683). He also served as Force Master Chief for the Chief of Naval Technical Training and Commander Navy Recruiting Command.

If you like this post, press the retweet or share button at the bottom of this page. To share how OSC is working in your command, please leave a comment. All comments are moderated prior posting and you may request your comment not be made public.

 

Now I Have OSC – What Do I Do With It?

This post is the first in a series on the OSC 5 Core Leader Functions that will feature several guest bloggers.

Sailors, leaders and families across the Navy are being introduced to Operational Stress Control (OSC). This new approach, to help everyone in our Navy family navigate through the day to day and special stress that comes with serving in the Navy, is being presented and taught at many different levels. It begins with new Sailors at all accession points and is offered across career milestones such as Command Leadership School and the Senior Enlisted Academy. As commands and individuals develop an understanding of OSC and apply its tools and principles they are beginning to realize the value of OSC. Learning to navigate stress helps develop strong, resilient Sailors and commands better prepared to face the challenges of today’s Navy.

We plan to share many of your stories and how you’ve been helped by OSC over the next few months. Our goal is to provide you with new and innovative ways you can make OSC a way of life. OSC’s education and training aims to enhance your ability to prosper physically, emotionally and professionally throughout your career. Help us spread the word and let us know what has worked for you.

Keep watching our blog to read first hand why our leaders believe OSC is necessary, both for the good of their Sailors and families, and critical to mission accomplishment. Better understand through their personal testimonies how using OSC helped them navigate through stressful times and played key roles in their current successes. Learn as they demonstrate how using OSC principles such as the five core leader functions helped build strong, resilient work centers, Chief’s Messes and commands ready to take on the toughest missions – any time and any where.

Navy culture is changing in how we view psychological wellness – how we build and maintain it – how we identify and respond when wellness is compromised – and how we ensure our people have the best opportunity to return to wellness stronger, more resilient and better prepared to face new challenges. Changing culture is no small task, but working and sharing our successes and failures together can make it happen. Come join us as we make OSC a way of life.

About the Blogger:

Steve Holton is a Program Analyst with the Navy’s Operational Stress Control (OSC) and Behavioral Health Programs in Millington, TN. He has played a key role in developing Navy OSC. Mr. Holton is a retired 32-year Master Chief Petty Officer, serving on four nuclear submarines, including a tour as Chief of the Boat on USS Parche (SSN683). He also served as Force Master Chief for the Chief of Naval Technical Training and Commander Navy Recruiting Command.

If you like this post, press the retweet or share button at the bottom of this page. To share how OSC is working in your command, please leave a comment. All comments are moderated prior posting and you may request your comment not be made public.