Saturday, May 28, 2011

Force Master Chief David C. Lynch on Mentoring Sailors


The first and foremost trait of a leader is treating people with dignity and respect. I believe people will never reach their full potential if they are treated in a negative way. People often confuse this aspect of leadership with being too soft, when in reality the preserving of someone’s dignity can be one of the most powerful motivators that I have ever seen.

Taking the time to hold individuals accountable appropriately not only preserves the dignity of the offending Sailor but also the Sailor who never gets in trouble. Caring about a person and their well-being is being able to be upfront and honest about their behavior and demanding change when it is appropriate. This approach is direct and blunt but produces behavior change in a positive direction.

The cost to the leader is personal time. In order to be effective, a leader has to spend a lot of time monitoring, researching and finding different ways to motivate the individual. There is no substitute for this work. No assumptions that people may have about the current generation of Sailors can substitute for getting down and getting first-hand knowledge of each person. A lot can be gained from this process of discovery.

Individuals can be disciplined and held accountable without being treated with an abusive or dismissive attitude. Successful submarine crews with good morale and retention employ the seven principles daily, with improved quality of life for the entire command.

The seven principles of good leadership are:
1: Treat people with dignity and respect.
2: Affirm the value of every person.
3: Take a personal interest in their Sailors.
4: Lead with a calm mental attitude.
5: Find creative ways to motivate.
6: Accomplish the mission in spite of poor performers.
7: Improve the process.
Just because things are the way they have always been does not make it right. Knowing the standard and enforcing the standard is the key to maintaining and improving human performance.

Time is the essential resource that makes all seven elements of effective leadership work. It is the most valuable thing we can invest in another human being. There is no way to get around it. Leaders need to spend as much time as they can mentoring their subordinates, and spend it wisely. Time invested in subordinates pays dividends.

This is not babysitting, or softness, or “kinder and gentler.” It is simply caring about your people and ensuring that they have every chance for success. It is the spirit of the Submarine Force that never quits.

The entire article from UNDERSEA WARFARE is HERE.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

My efforts for 24 years must be very dated because I always had the opinion that military forces were primarily trained to kill the enemy or to make provisions to keep the enemy from killing them. It is probably not PC to point that out. It appears that we must mollycoddle our Sailors to get them to do the job that they signed up for. I always believed in treating Sailors properly and respectfully, and even giving them a break because most young Sailors are full of P and V and it requires discipline and training to channel those activities to be what is best for the Navy and their country. In the 7 principles of leadership mentioned in the FMC’s essay, I did not find the first word of things to do to kill or eliminate the enemy. This is Boy Scout leadership not warrior leadership.

Very Respectfully,
Navyman834

Anonymous said...

Navyman836,

mollycoddle? The seven principles lead to mission accomplishment. You said it yourself that treating people appropriately is something you did.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 9, 2011 4:20 PM

This is Navyman834. Not Navyman 836, A character in a movie once said some words that may be relevant at times, (Are you speaking to me, are you! speaking to me) Close does not count except in today’s leadership, evidently.

Yes I said mollycoddle? And that is what some items that are in the FMC’s most important principals of leadership are. The people are no doubt the most important consideration but there are other things that are very important as well.

The Master Chief listed this leadership principal; accomplish the mission in spite of poor performers. That fails to make any sense to me. But I can see where that attitude has been embedded in many of our leaders for some time, everyone is a winner, do not hurt anyone’s self esteem, everyone gets praise, advance people regardless of their shortcomings. With this attitude the Navy should just deep-six the UCMJ according to these stated leadership principals.


The leadership principals that Gen MacArthur used are somewhat different than the liberal, mollycoddling methods. As noted in the MacArthur Tenets. Do I use moral courage in getting rid of subordinates who have proven themselves beyond doubt to be unfit?

The leadership principals that Gen MacArthur used are somewhat different than the liberal methods some employ today. And I also wonder what ever happened to such leadership traits as being the example in appearance, attitude and demeanor. Those traits listed by FMC Lynch lack any real substance.

Navyman834

Anonymous said...

NAVYMAN834,

Believe it or not the primary function of the military is not to kill people. We actually do humanitarian missions. It blows me away that you would be so disrepectful to our military. These young men and women have made just as much sacrifice for thier country as any generation and you have the nerve to run your mouth about the state of it. You are actually quoting MacArthur... REALLY? I would like to see MacArthur fight this multi theater warfare with the same amount of people we have. This is an apples and oranges issue and like always we will have people like you saying how great the military was when I was in it. Enjoy your freedom shipmate, its brought to you by those people that you have such a harsh opinion about.

By the way, I am talking to you directly in defense of about 325000 people in the United States Navy working everyday so you can maintain your armchair quaterback status.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 20, 2011 9:53 PM

So nice to see that you had the unique ability to use my proper call name this time. Let me mention a couple of things. I do not disrespect any of the enlisted men/women of the US Navy unless they prove they are unworthy of my respect. Every Sailor I ever met was 4.0 in my book unless they proved otherwise. Bluejackets were always my favorite people and remain so to this day.

For your enlightenment here is a copy of the oath that is administered to enlisted individuals. At one time we trained on a daily basis to protect our country from our enemies, and now the policy seems to be to aid those countries that will destroy us if they have the chance.

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

All Sailors are bound by these words and I do not see anything in this oath that outlines the humanitarian mission you speak of. The enemy is still abundant, but we fail to recognize that enemy, today if we look at it we find that just as Pogo observed a number of years ago “We have met the enemy and he is us”. I leave that for you to determine who the enemy is.

Do you really think that the nature and necessity of military leadership has changed over the years? I think not! At the rate the Navy in general, not the Sailors who will do as they are told to do, is falling backward in their ability to be able to lead the Navy in responsible directions to follow their oath of enlistment. It will not be long before Sailors will be unprepared to fight for their country. You can only do what you have been trained to do. I just hope that another Pearl Harbor does not engulf our country.

By the way Anonymous, it would be to your advantage to either find a spell checker or invest in a dictionary to check your spelling, one certainly lacks credibility if they cannot properly spell the words they use.

At a passing glance you might take note of how the present Secretary of Defense is more than willing to cut defense spending, which will include cutting pay and benefits of active duty personnel as well as retired individuals. He is on his way out so he is abiding by the administrations wishes. Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of the Armed Forces, who is also on his way out, has bowed to the present administration to do that very same thing. If it is your intention to remain in the Navy, good luck to you and your humanitarian mission.

E. A Hughes, FTCM(SS)
USN(Retired)
Navyman834

Anonymous said...

FTCM(SS) Hughes,

This is Force Master Chief Lynch. I have been following this blog between you and "Anonymous" since one of my Chiefs informed me of your post. I appreciate the individual standing up for his/her shipmates serving in the Navy today. It shows me that people will still stand up for each other when the going gets touph. To address your criticism of my article in undersea warfare magazine, I have been exposed to many styles of leadership in my 25 years in the Navy and the traits I noted were common tie points of successful commands. These commands took the fight to the enemy in the many conflicts I have had the opportunity to participate in. It is that simple. In the article I never claimed that these are the only traits that exist to compose a successful warfighter. They are just things that I observed personally. I hope your retirement is going well shipmate and give me a call for any further discussion. By the way, I am an FTCM (SS) also.

v/r
FORCM(SS) David Lynch
8082821270

Anonymous said...

FTCM does not even know the evaluation system. We have a 5.0 system now and have had it for years. Shows how outdated his opinion is. Force, don't give this old grumpy man your time of day. Let me see, did I spell everything ok. CHECK!

Anonymous said...

FORCM(SS) David Lynch,

I certainly appreciate your taking time to look into what some old reprobate of a Sailor is doing to stir the pot in some of today’s Navy. I am positive that you have a multitude of tasks that await you and your time is more valuable than someone’s time like myself who does little except cause other folks some heartburn. I can understand how "Anonymous" is willing to stand up for his Shipmates, but he failed to understand that I am only talking about the leaders, and they change directions just like the wind in my opinion. I have a thing about telling folks what I think they have done wrong, and if they continue to do things wrong in my opinion I do not let them off the hook. It is not because I believe I am always right, because I am certainly not.

Here is a little example of my stubbornness or attitude or whatever you might want to refer to it as. Prior to entering our patrol area on the Tecumseh the CO would always give a pre-patrol pep talk to the Officers and Chiefs of the Tecumseh. He started out by saying that the primary mission of this patrol was reactor safety and then he went on to talk more about other Nuc Stuff when he was finished with his talk he asked if there were any questions. I stood up as COB and said Captain I had some understanding that the primary mission of any FBM Submarine was to be the effective deterrent to nuclear war, and I heard nothing to motivate the Sailors on the front end of the Boat that provide that deterrent. We Weaponeers make up over half of the crew of the Tecumseh and I feel we are important to address. Everybody in the wardroom appeared to be in shock except the Captain and the Executive Officer, and I thought to myself, why did I say that. Captain Vogt who was a fair Skipper said “COB you are correct and I am sorry that I left the Weapons Department and other Departments out of this briefing”, he then went on to say some words about Weapons Personnel, Cooks and even A Gangers and IC Electricians. When he finished I thought the group in the wardroom was going to start clapping, but they held off. The A-Weaps and Launcher Officer were both grinning at me as they exited the Wardroom and many times during that patrol individuals through the forward end of the Boat would comment about what I had to say in their behalf. Captain Vogt never made me suffer for what I said or did, and I made 6 patrols with him. After each patrol he would catch me in the airport at Prestwick, Scotland and tell me “Thank you for making this another successful patrol COB”. If you think that did not make an old Sailor feel pretty good, you would be mistaken.

I considered anything I did as COB on the Tecumseh was leadership for the crew; I stood a watch every day that we were underway. And that was for my Shipmates on the Boat to see that I was in sync with them. I wish I had a dime for every Boat walkthrough that I did with nonquals. I did this for them and you probably have some idea how important these young Sailors thought that they were because I made them feel important, that was my intention.

What bothered me was your “Mentoring Sailors” never mentioned war fighting, the enemy, or even combat. I am afraid that the Sailors of this generation have no understanding of what they should be required to do in combat, I am sure that you are aware that our primary job is to defend our nation and not to have to cater to individual personnel problems at critical times. And even though our people need the proper leadership they must be put aside if they interfere with the major mission of the ship.

Master Chief Lynch I was well aware that you were an FTCM(SS) before you presented this last post. You might be surprised to look me up on Together We Served and find that I never served on a Submarine until I had 20 years in the Navy. But I had more than enough leadership and knowledge to provide the Tecumseh with what She needed for 7 patrols.

Very Respectfully,

E. A. Hughes, FTCM(SS)
US Navy (Retired)
Navyman834

Anonymous said...

FTCM,

Your opinion matters to me. If it was not for people like you, we would never make true progress. Someone must stand up and challenge the system when we see flaws. I get it, your a real Chief Petty Officer. For those of you reading this blog, look up Master Chief Hughes online and read the poem he created when he was attending college at Denver University (1958). It will show you where his heart is. Respect your elders, they hold the keys to future success. The many lessons learned they lived through may not apply specifically to the challenges we face today but history will repeat itself if we do not reach back and listen to our veterans. Thank you for your service Master Chief. Please contact me if you get close to any of our bases and I will get you a tour of our latest war machines. I think you will be proud of the quality of the boats and the people.

V/R
FORCM (SS) David Lynch

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Thank you Master Chiefs Lynch and Hughes for your frank and open discussion here. You make this blog better. The Navy and her Sailors are in a state of perpetual change. The Navy is always going to hell according to the previous generation of Sailors. We have a great heritage looking back and a great future looking forward. Thank you both for you service and for your leadership in your respective eras.

Anonymous said...

FORCM(SS) David Lynch,

Thank you for the kind words Master Chief, it is easy to understand by the way you express yourself how you have attained the unique position you hold today as the Pacific Submarine Force Master Chief. The Navy and the Submarine Force were great experiences for this Navyman, and this world has changed a bunch since I served. But it is still a dangerous place and I hope that the Navy is able to maintain the reduced Naval forces to be the formidable force we were during the Cold War.

The 41 For Freedom Boats of which you served on at least two, the Adams and the Carver, in my opinion were the obstacles that the Soviets could not overcome. The Communists knew that these Submarines would be there ready to deliver weapons if necessary, no matter what. I thank God that never was necessary, but to be a part of that program is gratifying to a lot of old Sailors and that deterrent effort over the years did indeed save the world.

I reside in Charleston, SC and have since I retired from the Navy, and I would love to take you up on an invitation to visit a modern Boat in the Great Northwest. I served on the Battleship Missouri in Bremerton back in 1957 and that part of the country was very appealing to me. The liberty was great, the forests and mountains and the Puget Sound are deeply embedded in my memory and were much to my liking. But that is a long way from Charleston and as much as I would love to come down a Submarine Control Room hatch for a visit it is probably not a reality for me.

Very Respectfully,

E. A. Hughes, FTCM(SS)
US Navy(Retired)
Navyman834

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Thank you for your words of encouragement and praise, the Navy was the most important job that I ever had and it is even made more important by the recognition of previous Commanding Officers such as yourself. If the minor effort that I can provide helps to motivate any Sailor then I will be satisfied. I thank you, Captain Lambert, for your tolerance in accepting the words we submit to your blog, and for your service to your country as well.

Very Respectfully,

E. A. Hughes, FTCM(SS)
US Navy(Retired)
Navyman834