Thursday, May 2, 2013

From The Navy Leader Transition Notebook

Understanding Subordinate Personnel Leadership  
Always find time to talk to your subordinates. Listen to them. Find ways to communicate with them early, not to conduct reconnaissance on their area of responsibilities, but to get a feel for what is on their minds, their concerns and how they assess situations. Understanding their strengths, weaknesses, competence, developmental needs, motivation and issues can help you understand how to improve their effectiveness thus improving the organization.
Formal Assessments
Review the following sources for background on personnel.
  • DH records, service records, DIVOFF notebooks, Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) records on key people.
  • Operational / Training Performance Records.
  • Operational /Deployment/Training Event After Action Reports
Informal Assessments
Take the opportunity to observe leaders and subordinates in informal settings.
  • Contact higher staff and leadership to gather their impressions of your organization and personnel.
  • Continue to be visible around your organization. Get out and walk around.
  • Spend time in the galley, at training sites and in the field talking to Sailors, civilians and leaders doing their jobs. Never be too busy to stop and ask for thoughts and ideas from your subordinates.
  • Visit your BEQs during duty hours, at night and on weekends. Talk to staff duty officers and Petty Officers and visit with Sailors. 
  • Observe subordinates every chance you get to determine their state of discipline, standards and morale. Being seen early also pays dividends by building confidence and gaining the respect of your subordinates.
  • Assess the initial level of experience between yourself and subordinate leaders. For example, leading at the command level is different than the Department Head level. At the command, your DH, Division and other leaders may have five to eight years experience and you will have 17 to 20 years. The gap is significant. Therefore, the Commanding Officer provides more precise guidance, direction, mentoring and direct leadership for his officers.
Initial Counseling
  • Conduct initial counseling of your immediate subordinates. Be committed to getting their counseling input forms and conducting initial counseling within required time-frames (within first 30 days). NEVER, NEVER, NEVER submit evaluations or FITREPS late. There is simply – NO EXCUSE – none whatsoever – ever!
  • Consider providing separate letters outlining your expectations for everyone you rate. Use the letter as the basis for their initial counseling sessions during which you discuss philosophy and goals.
  • Set-up follow-on quarterly performance counseling sessions to provide ample preparation time.

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