Being an Officer in Indian Armed Forces requires immense guts and comes with great responsibility. Which is why, before recommending any candidate, he/she is tested against Leadership qualities which are known as Officer Like Qualities or OLQs.
OLQs are qualities expected from an ideal leader for him/her to successfully lead their team as an Officer. Certainly, all candidates are not equal. Some of them are better in one OLQ, while others excel in something else.
Service Selection Board seeks a candidate who possesses the maximum number of OLQs to suit the job of Armed Forces.
These 15 OLQs can be divided into 4 major factors and they are as follows:
Factor 1- Planning and organizing (cognitive abilities)
1. Effective intelligence:
Effective Intelligence is slightly different than the basic intelligence of a candidate. You are not really expected to be super smart, rather you are just expected to solve day-to-day problems practically and effectively with the help of available resources.
2. Reasoning ability:
This is the ability of a candidate to understand the problem thoroughly and provide a logical solution. Whilst providing a solution, candidate must be able to take into consideration all the aspects of the problem, hidden as well as apparent. He/she must be able to think and reason logically and have an inquiring attitude.
3. Organising ability:
A candidate’s ability to make use of available resources in the best and most optimal way possible is judged. This is generally checked during GTO Tasks. Candidates are given various problems and it will be checked how you make use of available resources in an efficient way to provide results.
4. Power of expression:
Your intelligence or ideas are of no use if you cannot really express it in a clear manner to your team. That’s the difference between an average and the best leader. This is generally displayed during GD, Lecturette and PI.
Factor 2 – Social Adaptability
5. Social adjustment:
Whether or not you are able to adjust with strange group members and work with them in harmony is termed as social adaptability. GTO tasks are deliberately designed to test your social adaptability.
If you cannot cooperate with your team, it is impossible to execute day-to-day operations as an Army Officer during your term. Hence, cooperation is an important OLQ judged in a candidate, generally tested during group tasks. You must be able to work with your group in unity and have a selfless attitude.
7. The Sense of responsibility:
A candidate must be willing to take responsibility of his actions. Pointing fingers is easy, taking responsibility of your mistakes requires fearlessness.
Only candidates who understand the values of duty and their responsibility as a citizen/child/student can take responsibility of their actions, without blaming others.
Factor 3 – Social Effectiveness (Guts)
An ideal leader is the one who can take initiative to resolve a problem when everybody else seems to be clueless. Not just that, he must be able to provide a logical and rational solution to achieve the goal. Initiative quality is checked during GD and GPE mostly.
How does a candidate react and behave when faced with unfamiliar situations directly tells about his/her self-confidence. Whether he faces every situation with calmness or baffles under stress is judged at SSB. Self-confidence requires you to have faith in your own capabilities.
10. Speed of Decision:
A single decision of an Officer can be a matter of life or death for themselves or their team. Best leader must be able to take right, practical and workable decision at the right time.
11. Power to influence:
If you don’t have the power to influence your team members, how can you possibly lead them in different tasks? A leader must be able to convince their group with his smartness, without being forceful.
Liveliness is what brings you through tough challenges. A great Officer is the one who can handle any problem with subtleness and a smile on his/her face. This is the quality that will boost the spirits of your team and help you face big challenges in life.
Factor 4- Dynamic (Related to Limbs)
To what extent you are willing and determined to achieve your goal is checked at SSB. During GTO tasks, the GTO will create several obstacles to check whether you are determined enough to cross all of them or not. A candidate must not give up quickly.
Your courage is determined when you are willing to take reasonable and calculated risks whenever required.
Mental stamina and physical stamina, both are important in a candidate. A candidate must be mentally and physically prepared to handle every situation that comes his/her way. It is checked whether you give up easily or fight till last minute.