Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Expectations of a Commanding Officer
As a fathom is to a foot, so must your standards of behavior be many times higher than the already high standards of an officer. As Commander, you are now not only an example for your crew; you are an example to your officers. A Commander who drinks too much, swears too much, doesn’t know his or her profession, who doesn’t place the welfare of his people far above his own—that Commander will create officers who behave that way, for lack of proper example.
A good Commander will, immediately upon taking command, publish in writing to his command his expectations, his desires, his standards.
A good Commander will write himself a private letter, describing the Commander he resolves to be. He will set standards for himself. He will re-read that letter at least monthly during his time in command.
A good Commander will sit with his senior officers and instruct them: “Help me to be better. Help me to avoid temptation. Help me to avoid breaking any rules, however slight, either through ignorance or neglect or lack of attention.”
A good Commander knows he is human, and seeks the counsel of his support team to keep him on the straight and true.
A good Commander will have read all the guidance provided by the service concerning the ethics and behavior required of commanders. He will keep those papers in a packet at his desk, for frequent reference. As even the godly among us go to church often, and re-read from the Bible often, so too must even the virtuous Commander frequently review, and re-read, the guidance on ethics and behavior. Actions form habits, which in turn form character, which leads to destiny.
Excerpts from RADM Wray's excellent piece - available in its entirety HERE.