Lessons On Leadership

Click to share the article


“This year’s National Day Parade (NDP) was postponed to Aug 21 Aug, in view of the Phase 2-Heightened Alert (HA) COVID-19 restrictions. Decisions like these are not easy to make — and getting support for them depends on open communication between the leaders and those they lead,” says MAJ (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi, 38. This is something he has learnt after nearly two decades in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).He is currently the Deputy Commander of 21 Rescue Unit (21RU).

Although not involved in NDP 2021, he knows from experience how crucial good leadership is to the success of Singapore’s annual birthday bash. “I was involved in supporting a NDP during my NS days and I saw how important good leadership was,” recalls MAJ (NS) Rozaiman, who received the NSman of the Year award in 2020.


MAJ (NS) Rozaiman’s time in the SCDF has also shown him that there is no one style of leadership that works. Leaders will have to continually adopt different approaches as they encounter various situations, problems and mentees. But one common factor is a basis of trust between a leader and those he leads. This is especially important in units like 21RU, where commanders have to make split-second decisions that could impact mission success.

As an NSman, MAJ (NS) Rozaiman admits that it can be challenging to foster this level of trust with his men. “After all, we see them just 12 or 14 days per year,” he shares. “But what helps is that we see many of them year after year, for up to a decade. After all the time together, there’s a sense of mutual trust between teammates.”

To many of his men, MAJ (NS) Rozaiman is a fatherly or brotherly figure, depending on how old they are. “You become their coach and mentor, not just when they’re in uniform, but also when they are in civilian life,” explains the father of two daughters, aged 10 and five. “Being a parent helps as I’m leading men who are from a younger generation — and it is often said, each generation has to be led differently.”

Visit mha.gov.sg/volunteers and volunteer.gov.sg/mha for more information about their volunteer schemes.


Being a parent means that MAJ (NS) Rozaiman has to juggle even more responsibilities, apart from being a civil servant, his NS role in 21RU and his volunteer work with the HomeTeamNS Audit Committee.

“It’s a lot to cope with and sometimes it can get tough,” he admits, sharing that he has learnt to manage his time better. “I may sneak in a few hours of work after my girls go to sleep or during the weekends. But I don’t see any of these responsibilities as burdens. I genuinely am passionate about them.” Still, MAJ (NS) Rozaiman stresses the importance of “me” time. “That comes during my weekly 5km runs around my estate. It relieves stress and helps me train for my IPPT at the same time.”

When asked why he contributes so actively to HomeTeamNS despite his busy schedule, he says: “I guess it’s because I have a chance to lead and shape the next generation of our NSmen. I enjoyed my own service immensely and benefitted a lot from the wisdom of my leaders. I hope to pass that on to the NSmen leaders of tomorrow.”

It is this commitment of leadership that caught the eye of MAJ (NS) Rozaiman’s superiors and won him last year’s NSman of the Year accolade. “It wasn’t something that I expected at all, but it is a valuable recognition of my contributions to HomeTeamNS,” he reflects. “It has made me strive to do even better for my unit and the men that I lead.”
Leadership tips from MAJ (NS) Rozaiman:
“I believe that by empowering my men with tasks — be it big or small — they will, in turn, take ownership of their work and responsibilities.”
“Building trust instils confidence in leaders. Start by getting to know each of your teammates and letting them do the same. We can then better understand each other’s decisions and trust them instinctively.”
“Explain to your team the larger objectives, constraints and expected challenges. This allows them to better appreciate their respective roles and the challenges that may lie ahead.”