Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Chiefs' Mess

Inexperienced officers look to their Chiefs to see how they grasp a situation and how they make decisions. That is part of the self-education process a leader cannot get from a classroom or from books. Sometimes young officers believe they know more than the Chief; when they find out they do not, they have contributed to their own self-education.

You may recall seeing a poster displayed in many Chiefs’ quarters, messes, and clubs that says: “WHAT YOU DO, SEE, HEAR, AND SAY HERE, STAYS HERE.”

The Chiefs’ mess is a relaxed, amiable, and popular meeting place. The degree to which the chiefs socialize together often reflects their cohesiveness. The mutual bond and high morale of the Chiefs’ quarters are in part the result of a strong leader. The leader maybe a formal leader, like the command master chief, or an informal leader who leads through charisma or superior know-how. This person’s enthusiastic support and encouragement of others sets high standards for command personnel. Whether in formal or informal situations, the Chiefs respect this person. They know the person is competent and trust him or her to stand up for their interests and those of the crew.

The commanding officer and executive officer often seek this leader’s advice about the morale of the crew and other matters concerning enlisted personnel. The majority of the members of the Chiefs’ mess usually agree on who this person is. The Chiefs’ mess as a group is a solid, disciplined team. The members talk to each other, coordinate well, and solicit input from each other. They treat each other with professional respect. A strong part of this bond results from the collective confidence of being the best and not settling for less.

Great stuff from the Military Requirements for Senior and Master Chief Petty Officer.


Anonymous said...

It does make you wonder why the current CJCS has no SEL...

SRH said...

Many of my most prized mentors are CPOs (current or former).

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Perhaps I have been absent from the Navy too long, and therefore do not understand the present terminology used in the fleet. The following post brought to my attention; if you want to communicate you should make an attempt to do it effectively.

It does make you wonder why the CJCS has no SEL…

If SEL… means Senior Enlisted Liaison, the CJCS has individuals available as the Senior Enlisted Members of their respective services. The Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA) to the Chairman was established by a previous CJCS and from advice given by SEA’s of the services CJCS Mullen chose not to have his own Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman.

Very Respectfully,