Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Leadership Lessons of a lifetime in the Navy

Lessons in life and leadership from one of the Navy's greats - Admiral Tim Keating.
  • If you figure everybody is senior to you, and regard them that way and give them that respect - whether they are or not isn't so important - it will allow you to develop the capacity to listen, to pay attention and to learn.
  • There isn't anybody who doesn't have a good idea and isn't eager to do their job. And, when given a certain amount of latitude and authority and responsibility, in an extraordinarily high percentage of the cases, they rise to the occasion.
  • Drive the authority down to the appropriate level. Give some general guidance, and then kind of get out of the way and let people do their jobs at the level at which they are capable, capitalizing on the training and equipment they've received.
  • When forced to make tough decisions, strive to ensure they're "firm, fair, consistent and honest.
  • You won't always have the blessing of sufficient time to explain every decision you make. Sometimes they're hard, and have to be made in a split second.
  • Whenever possible, seek advice and counsel from "an immensely dedicated, smart group of men and women" - the ones who are working for you.
  • If you give people the time to make their recommendation, sort through the facts and decide to do what you think is best for our nation, your command and the men and women who are going to have to do the heavy lifting, most times it turns out to be a pretty good decision.
Admiral Keating said his United States Naval Academy experience reaffirmed many of the leadership lessons he learned from his Mother and Father at his childhood dinner table.

But he also pointed to several major figures he said influenced him and his leadership style during his career:
  • Retired Navy Rear Adm. Thomas A. Mercer - his first fleet squadron commanding officer.
  • Navy Adm. William J. Crowe, the former PACOM commander for whom Keating served as a military aide while a flag lieutenant, gave Keating wide exposure to the Asia-Pacific region and new approaches to addressing the challenges there.
  • Another former PACOM commander, retired Adm. Joseph Prueher, became Keating's close friend and advisor.
  • Retired Rear Adm. Jack Zerr, who assumed command of Keating's squadron after its commanding officer died in a tragic accident, provided a "spectacular" model of leadership as he looked out for the health and welfare of everyone in his charge, Keating said. "I try to live those lessons every day," he said.
  • Retired Marine Gen. Peter Pace, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left a deep impression, Keating said, citing his "towering integrity and abiding interest in the men and women in uniform."
  • His wonderful wife Wanda. One of the most profound influences on Keating came early in his career, when he was serving with Attack Squadron 122 at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. "Wanda Lee is a perfect example of the strength you can draw from a partner who understands the importance of what you are doing and makes every sacrifice to help you achieve your command and personal goals," he said. "She is every bit as dedicated to faith, family and friends and country as anyone in uniform."

1 comment:

ADM Tim Keating said...