Thursday, March 10, 2011

Navy Leaders

Trust me, it's not all "blah, blah, blah."
Navy leaders are not popular entertainers, but professionals vested with extraordinary military authority who must be held to a higher standard and maintain their credibility in the eyes of their subordinates under the most difficult, even possibly life-threatening, circumstances.

Poor judgment and behavior that undermines that credibility threatens good order and discipline and, over time, jeopardizes the crew’s faith in its leadership. That means we cannot simply ignore actions  that clearly call into question a Navy leader’s judgment, character, and fitness to command.

To be true to our Navy’s core values of honor, courage and commitment, our leaders are required to ensure the well-being of our people, show respect toward all, and treat each individual with dignity.

Admiral John Harvey
Commander, Fleet Forces Command

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What you have written is true, but there are many current and former navy personnel that still don't understand. This lack of understanding is very troubling. Of course, you know I am referring to the XO movie night incident(s).

Anathema said...

Hear, hear.

Rubber Ducky said...

One must remember that half of just about any group is below average ... but seldom do they go out of their way to so identify themselves. This gaggle of folks who don't want to understand what Honors did and why Harvey fired him - that's the half I'm talking about. At the practical level, don't bet on them to move forward; anyone that dumb should not.

Anonymous said...

It is truly a sad state of affairs that the Navy has innumerable leadership classes, whole commands dedicated to teaching and fostering good leadership practices, our leadership "recommends" countless leadership and mangagement books be read. We even have a special school just for training COs and XOs, and yet we have Captain Honors' escapades (which if you have not watched them, don't waste your time. His performance makes Animal House look intellectual). Even more disheartening we have people defending him and drawing analogies to Patton slapping two soldiers at the height of the Battle for Sicily or Nimitz grounding his destroyer. Do we not have better judgement than to try and compare his deliberate and repeated acts of crude, demeaning frat boy behavior to an Army field commander under unbelievable stress? Or to a naval officer grounding his vessel in the days before radar or GPS. And oh by the way, both Nimitz and Patton were in fact punished for those mistakes. Don't we have higher standards and expections for our leaders? I want to trust my leadership, I want them to have good judgement and strong moral fiber. I don't want them to entertain me, I don't want them to be "one of the boys", I want them to set the standard, not lower the bar.

General Quarters said...

The traditional Navy culture that values discipline, good judgement, and high standards that Admiral Harvey writes about is anachronistic, superior to, and completely at odds with prevailing civil society. Bacon's "blah, blah, blah, leadership" cartoon is dead on target in its satirization of the dangerous clowns in naval officer costume who just "don't get it." I am thankful that we still have a few stalwart traditionalists like Admiral Harvey who really demonstrate how it should be done, but I'm not optimistic that you can so radically change the dumbed down ethos of the current naval officer intake.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

I AM WITH YOU 100% GQ !! And yes, I was shouting.

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Never having been a Navy Officer, but having seen the effect of how good leadership from the Captains and Executive Officers of ships that I served in molded the morale, attitude and actions of those crews, I have determined that those effective crews were a direct reflection of what the Captain, the Executive Officer and other key administrative members of the crew gave to all those individual crew members. I was unfortunate enough to see the lack of effective leadership from administrative personnel lead to problems that affected the ships operations and preparedness of that ship to meet ordered fleet responsibilities.

Very Respectfully,
Navyman834

Chris Hauser LCDR Ret said...

Reading the comments on Navy Leadership I guess I must be in the lower half of the class then. I saw a leader that was working to keep up morale and apparently doing a damn good job of it. I have served under more than 13 different COs, excluding school commands, and worked directly for 5 flag officers. Out of all of them I worked the hardest for the ones that I could see as human beings, admittedly with a great deal of responsibility on their shoulders. The ones that maintained the aloof command demeanor were the ones that got only 100% of my effort. The real leaders, the human ones, got 150%. The aloof ones were also the ones that demanded I do things that were against regulation or fleet guidance (because they didn't want to look bad and ruin their chance for flag). So all of you say we don't understand the nuances of command and that CAPT Honors committed frat boy antics. Ever been in a Ready Room that didn't cut up a little? Ever been on a Carrier. Most of the ones I was on were depressing places with uptight COs. The ones where the leadership went to a little trouble to lighten the mood were good ships. Ships that did their missions, did it well and did it in a teamwork oriented environment. That is what he was doing and it worked. According to the sailors on Big E the difference between then with Honors and now with the new CO it is like night and day. Everyone is subdued and down. Honors was a leader that walked among the troops with ease and yet they respected him deeply and adored him. So, while you say Honors did wrong, I will tell you I worked for someone very much like him and I would have walked into hell and spit in the devil's eye if I thought it would make him happy. For the ones that were above it all with command airs, I would have said, why after you sir.

General Quarters said...

Mood lightening, crew loyalty to "hell and back", compassion, humor, and the human face of leadership can all be accomplished without lewd, buffoonish, denigrating behavior that brings discredit upon yourself and the Navy. It is a false dichotomy to suggest that there are only two leadership styles: aloof and ineffective vs. preposterous, yet awe-inspiring.

Chris Hauser LCDR Ret. said...

General Quarters. I don't disagree, there is a spectrum, not black and white, 1 or 0, on or off. I am telling you my perspective. The ones that were human had more honor than the ones that were aloof. I can cite chapter and verse about the leaders that were more worried about appearances than reality. One example. A CO of a big deck amphib on a port visit to Boston. One of his sailors was shot at a BART station for wearing the wrong colors, it was a gang shooting. The sailor was totally unaware of the situation and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The CO ordered the UNITSITREP not be sent out. To quote "There was no shooting, don't send the message, don't say anything to the press that is out on the pier". Oh, and this CO also directed me to not put a man overboard signal in LINK (in direct contravention to standing OPTASK procedures by 2nd Fleet) when we had a suspected man overboard. He was more worried about appearance than reality. The other CO? He said, do what you are supposed to do and do it well. And I will back your call one hundred percent. Two different men. And the second CO was a leader of Honors type. And we won the Battle E that cycle. There is nothing wrong about being able have fun.
Furthermore, this is all for attribution and you can use my real name when citing it. I eschew psuedonyms. If I say something I attach my name to it and stand behind it. That is something else the "Honors-like" CO taught me. Stand up and be counted and say what you think and stand behind what you say.

Anonymous said...

Well stated General Quarters!

Navyman834

USN Ret 58 said...

Had the honor of serving with (then) RDML Boorda as CCDG on CV-60. He was easily equally as inspirational if not more so than supposedly inspirational XO of CVN-65, and never waivered in the professional and role-model behavior.