- People

Professional-development programme: ‘Troopology’ – Being a woman in the Bundeswehr

Frigate Captain Helena C. Linder-Jeß was one of the first female soldiers to join the Bundeswehr after it started admitting women in 2001. The descriptor ‘first woman to …’ has followed her throughout her military career ever since. After various postings, including one as the commander of the Datteln minesweeper, she has been the Deputy Marine Attaché at the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. since 2018.
We interviewed Helena about her approach to modern leadership, what it is like to be the first woman in a large organisation with a long tradition, and what needs to change in the Bundeswehr.

The Bundeswehr’s most important asset is its people. We need to pay more attention to individuals and spend less time on bureaucracy.

Our key take-aways on ‘what is good leadership’:
· Empathic and open communication
· Every team member is an individual: allow freedom for strengths and weaknesses
· Leave room for creativity
· A working culture that views errors as learning opportunities
· Trust: communicate frequently, protect and guide your team in difficult situations
· Motivate people to contribute

What does the Bundeswehr need?
· Strategists and visionaries
· Greater agility, creativity and flexibility
· A culture that allows errors
· The Bundeswehr’s most important asset is its people. We need to pay more attention to individuals and spend less time on bureaucracy.

 

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