Positive workplace the key to resilience in Anzac

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Fenn Kemp (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer)

Location(s): Muara, Brunei Darrasalam

Commanding Officer of HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, RAN, (right) and Navigational Officer, Lieutenant Matthew Warren on the starboard bridge wing as HMAS Anzac prepares to berth alongside Muara Naval Base in Brunei. (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Commanding Officer of HMAS Anzac, Commander Belinda Wood, RAN, (right) and Navigational Officer, Lieutenant Matthew Warren on the starboard bridge wing as HMAS Anzac prepares to berth alongside Muara Naval Base in Brunei.

The ship's company of HMAS Anzac have had their resilience tested during a busy deployment to South East Asia. However, the commanding officer says simple techniques have helped all of her personnel cope with the high tempo.

Commander Belinda Wood said the key to maintaining a resilient crew is to foster a positive workplace. 

“A negative workplace culture that doesn't encourage everyone to contribute and participate will result in a sub-optimal outcome,” Commander Wood said.

“That’s the sort of thing which undermines capability and mission.”

Commander Wood said being away from family and general uncertainty in a deployment are two of the main factors which can impact on resilience. She encourages her team to maintain their resilience through meditation and self-awareness techniques.

”Getting to know each other's personal situation is critical for every leader on board,” she said. 

”You need to take a genuine interest in everyone. When someone feels that you are genuinely interested in them and care about them they will be more resilient.”

These simple and cost-neutral approaches to resilience are encouraged and further developed in the Navy Resilience Plan, which was released in May. 

The Navy Resilience Plan is designed as a practical and innovative way to assist all Navy members maintain their resilience. 

The plan  contains advice on how to maintain a physical, mental and moral resilience, as well as focussing on support given by the external elements, including leadership and ethics training, plus Defence Community Organisation and families services.

Commander Wood said resilience is also a state of mind and she has this advice for those about to embark on a high tempo 
operation of any kind.

“Make the most of the opportunity to see places and to undertake different personal and professional experiences,” Commander Wood said.

”You can't control the past or the future but you can make the most of the now.”