1. “Leadership by walking around” is a good thing. Do lots of it. The Sailors love it.
2. Remember when reviewing reports, messages, etc., there are many ways to say the same thing.
3. Don’t do things yourself. If there is a problem with something that the Department Heads, Division Officers, Executive Officer give you, push it back down. Don’t do it yourself.
4. Maintain your commanding officer’s detachment. Let your Department Heads, Chiefs, etc. be passionate in defense or condemnation of their Sailors. The CO needs to be rigorously dispassionate in dealing with an issue to do what’s best for the Command and the Navy.
5. Be decisive. Sailors respect decisiveness even if the actions are initially viewed as harsh. They then know what to expect.
6. Don’t take action or make pronouncements/policy decisions before you have all the facts. If you make that mistake, be decisive anyway. Sailors immediately key on oscillation.
7. In case you didn’t hear it the first time: be dispassionate. Every decision I have seen bite a CO had been made based on anger and emotion.
8. Depend on the input from Medical and Legal, but remember they are just recommendations.
9. Always listen to your XO. Make sure your XO knows on a gut level he can disagree with you as strongly as he feels the need to be. Let the XO be the only one to see your doubts and concerns.
10. Be clear as a bell about the direction you want to go and your standards. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
11. Let your Sailors/Khaki do their jobs to the best way they know how. And hold them accountable when they don’t meet your standards.
12. Communications are everything.
13. Feedback is everything.
14. Never base decisions on that you may have “gotten away with” in the past or present. Sometimes hypocrisy is a necessary evil.
15. Be consistent.
16. No “smiley” or “frowny” faces.