Friday, October 11, 2013

Have a difference of opinion with the boss?- You own 'the difference'.

Naval officers put themselves at considerable risk when their vision and strategic intent are at odds with those of their boss. Some of our Navy bosses view their positions as non-negotiable. But, your having a different strategic vision than your boss may be simply a matter of degree and therefore not completely unacceptable.

Complicating the issue is that some senior leaders have an absolute unwillingness to share their vision with their subordinates. This may be the result of the senior's insecurity with their vision or even worse, their own lack of vision (i.e., they have nothing to share). Make your best effort to have good communications with the boss and do the best you can in extracting his strategic vision. Failing this, you're on your own and will have to maintain some level of self-awareness and a sensitivity to your boss's shortcomings.

Just know you are in shoal waters. Someone once said, "when you and your boss have a difference of opinion - your boss owns 'the opinion' and you own 'the difference'."


Anonymous said...

Mike, That's when it's time to go - and go we have, will and continue to do. At best, the FLAG Officer corp presently in office, for the most part, is mediocre, at best! - They are truly not equipped or capable to lead, and lead decisively in today's environment, and its obvious. This is why the Navy is failing and a failed organization. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

HMS Defiant said...

You don't make flag by leading. Look at the promotion lists and see how many captains were promoted from positions of command.

You don't remain a flag by leading unless you lead your followers step by step in the wake of the CNO.

New leadership platitudes are wonderful but meaningless. The real ones were spelled out ages ago and haven't changed very much. They usually always start with taking care of your men first and then yourself. Do you see that anywhere?

Anonymous said...

Well it's pretty simple. You have a professional obligation to give your best advice and opinion, behind closed doors, then carry out the boss's direction once the doors open.

Sure, a lot of our senior officers suck at leading, but then they're not leaders. At any given time there are probably a dozen flags at sea leading and a couple of hundred ashore as part of the bureaucracy. Bureaucracies reward those who suck up and f*ck down, and so that's what we have.

That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the Navy. It's a bureaucracy and behaves as what it is, and that's it.

The Navy exists to justify its existence through bureaucratic battles, and that's why our flags are all bureaucrats instead of leaders. If we had leaders in charge, we wouldn't have a funded Navy.

We have who we need in charge to ensure the financial survival of the organization.

My kids' Mom said...

Mike, great post!

This predicament also exists in the real world. I have been in the situation where I had to own the difference. It ended badly. I became targeted and subjected to full force work-place bullying with the boss ass the bully and the CEO cheering her on. I resigned from that company.

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

@Anon -11:48pm

I disagree, its not simple, which is precisely why the cohort of current flags, and those that are under them, are failing. The crew is simply not capable, credible or up for the task. Further, a Navy funded to do, what exactly. The Navy we currently have is demonstratively not adequately funded to "man, train or equip" a war-fighting, sea going, credible Navy force. "Nothing wrong with the Navy", I could not disagree more with that preposition and statement. Just take a sample of the last 18 months: grounded mine sweeper (on a well marked reef), arson on the Miami, 13 dead at the Navy yard, 35 fired CO's to include Flag officers, if that's nothing wrong, I'm glad not to be in that Navy. "Ensure financial survival" - that's also a fail that I would say captures dereliction of duty when it comes to people, families and the duty to this nation, disgraceful.

I do agree with the assertions that:
1) Most of the Flags we have are not leaders, just look at Greenert - makes the point rather soundly.
2) Suck up and F' down, yes, they have that maneuver down in spades with a healthy dose of careerism, self preservation and cowardliness.
3) Bureaucratic, yes - that's part of what an organization is, "part" not the entire organization or the ends to itself. Last I checked, Navy is a warfighting organization - not the US Navy, however.

Finally, Navy does not have who they need in charge. The decline will continue, at an accelerated pace and severity - cause, lack of leadership, courage and values.

Unknown said...

I love these articles. When people who throw glass stone in the window with any ideal on how the Chief Mess Works. Every Chief has a boss and it not always just the Commanding Officer. Overall he is the Top dog like a CEO in charge of everything but each Chief has a Department head and a Senior Enlisted leader they need to account to. So I do not think the MCPON or the Chief mess got it twisted about who they work for. I think it you. Get a clue. I guess somewhere in your life you had a bad past experience you still holding on to. So breath, learn to trust and understand we are here to assist you in a decision making process. Not take charge of the decision making process that the President has given you. We are invested in making you thought process better and the MCPON and Chief's are here to help you make better choice in your decision since Officer have no clue about their enlisted. That why the position of the MCPON and Senior Enlisted leaders of every branch came about because of Officer that cannot relate to their people

Anonymous said...

And this is why we need a senior enlisted academy that teaches basic composition.