Chief of Defence Forces in Ireland, in favour of greater diversity

Mark Mellett, Defence Forces chief of staff in Ireland, says that it is vitally important that companies promote gender equality in aspects such as culture, ethics, religion, and age, in order to better deal with global complexities.

Companies should also allow for mistakes which will inevitably be made along the way, in order to learn from situations. Organisations that embrace differences, while allowing for mistakes as a way of learning, become more resilient and flexible to diversity.

Writing an article for ‘Health Management’, an online journal, Mr Mellett says that he advocates a strategy which embraces LGBTA (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender), and promotes values, difference, and equality. Leadership, says Mellett, is like innovation. It is also about accepting risks and mistakes.

Mr Mellett is the first Naval Service Office to hold the position of Defence Forces chief of staff in Ireland.

Women recruitment

A targeted campaign was initiated three years ago to recruit more women into the forces. The Defence Force is still a predominantly male sector with only 6.3% being female. By having an LGBTA support network, the forces are in compliance with the Gender Recognition Act 2015.

Mellett is in favour of bringing together the diverse disciplines, and structuring an atmosphere of tolerance, as well as nurturing the many different viewpoints of people in the forces. The military is the bedrock which underpins the country, and contributes greatly towards the framework of society.

‘We live in a time of extraordinary change and complexity,’ Mellett went on to write, with challenges the world over, about the values of society.

Change in mindset

The answers to the complex questions relating to gender and equality often lie outside organisational boundaries. When results are achieved in this, innovation has been in the forefront. Innovation is not only about creativity, but a methodical and systematic change in individual mindsets and cultures. This changed mindset then becomes apparent in organisations.

The more diversity in organisations, the greater the potential for disruption will be. Driving innovation requires that the status quo be challenged, and then changed. Cultures become open and inclusive, and there is no room for ego. More importantly, there is an acceptance that mistakes will be made along the way.

Mistakes which are associated with diversity, says Mellett, are different from violations, which are an unacceptable breaching of the laws. Collaboration and co-operation between the Defence Forces and higher education institutes has already produced benefits in this.

Mellett finished by saying that the future is all about how knowledge sharing is achieved, where ego is eradicated, and support is key.


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