Role-playing teaches senior leaders about power, discrimination

| August 4, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers exchange chips for class position during Team EO and EEO’s “Star Power” exercise, July 19, Fort Shafter, to understand the relationship between power and discrimination. (Courtesy of U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Soldiers exchange chips for class position during Team EO and EEO’s “Star Power” exercise, July 19, Fort Shafter, to understand the relationship between power and discrimination. (Courtesy of U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Cashmere C. Jefferson
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs

Participants leave their ranks at the door

FORT SHAFTER — Equal Opportunity and Equal Employment Opportunity teams trained more than 750 senior military and civilian leaders about how junior enlisted Soldiers and junior officers sometimes feel they are being treated.

Four training sessions were held at Schofield Barracks and here, July 18-19.

“This exercise could make you upset,” said Lt. Col. Darren Holbrook, Equal Opportunity program manager, U.S. Army-Pacific. “Please take off your rank.”

All participants, from brigadier generals to sergeants first class, had to remove their rank from their uniforms.

“The ‘Star Power’s’ objective is to help the participants understand the impact of power on the ‘dominant group’ and the ‘out groups,’ while understanding the relationship between power and discrimination,” said Master Sgt. Marlon Moore, Team EO, USARPAC. “This was done for the purpose of ensuring everyone is treated equally at the start of the exercise.”

The opening remarks and rules for each session were conducted by senior officer representatives, including Col. Latonya Lynn, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command; Col. Mathew Kelley, 25th Infantry Division; Jon Lee, 9th Mission Support Command; and Brig. Gen. William Scott, 311th Signal Command.

A “breakout” exercise then evaluated how people are treated by different classes of society.

“The exercise showed how individual behaviors changed based on their role in their organization or society,” Moore said. “Senior leaders were able to observe what happens as people achieve power, and how that new power changed their behavior, which ultimately influenced the dynamics of that group.”

Five color chips and values were handed out to all participants, and they were given three chances to either keep or exchange their chips.

After each trading session, participants were then broken down into three distinct groups; the squares, which represented upper-class society or senior leaders; the circles, which represented middle-class society or junior leaders; and the triangles, which represented low-class society or lower enlisted.

“The training showed senior leaders that the EO program can help develop a more cohesive unit that has a direct impact on mission readiness,” said Sgt. Maj. Reynald Domingo, Team EO sergeant major, USARPAC.

“It also showed that treating everyone with dignity and respect contributes to better retention, unit morale (and) reduction in suicides, and (also) promotes a healthy command environment,” he said.

 

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