A courageous person is not necessarily
fearless, but has learned to conquer fear and
concentrate on the mechanics of fighting.
ABILITY TO ORGANIZE
AND MAKE DECISIONS
Essentially your primary objective as a junior
officer is to coordinate the efforts of your
subordinates so that they can strive toward a
common goal. However, the normal day-to-day
activity of the maintenance program of the
peacetime Navy may not readily reflect this. This
objective is more difficult to achieve when the goal
is less easy to define. However, an overall view
of the maintenance and training programs shows
how each minor accomplishment fits into the
whole. You should organize your subordinates so
that their labor and training will be used to the
best possible advantage.
To organize effectively, know the skills and
physical capabilities of your personnel. Without
that knowledge you would have to rely on a senior
petty officer to do the job. For officers to rely
on petty officers to the extent of their abilities is
proper and desirable. However, as an officer,
never allow yourself to be reduced to the
position of an old-time midshipmana messenger
running between the wardroom and the forecastle.
While you cannot help but profit from careful
observation of the methods of skilled organizers,
you should eventually attempt some organization
on your own. To do so, learn to make decisions;
without the power of decision, you are useless as
a leader. When a person presents a problem to
you, that person expects a clear-cut decision.
Discuss complicated questions or those clearly
beyond your authority to decide with an
immediate superior; dispose of the lesser ones
yourself. Never allow the dread of making a
mistake or the fear of looking ridiculous to deter
you from attempting to solve a problem. You will
make mistakes occasionally, but an honest
mistake seldom involves scorn or censure if all
elements of the problem were duly considered.
From mistakes comes experience, and from
experience comes wisdom.
Young people have a strong personal need for
examples to live by, at least until they have
formulated their own principles. They express this
need by following the example of someone they
admirefather, brother, teacher, officer, a great
leader in history, or even someone with antisocial
tendencies or habits. Young people will, in some
way, attempt to attach to and be like the person
they admire. As long as these young people are
not disillusioned and as long as they feel the need,
they will continue to emulate their hero.
Naval officers should have such dignity and
competence in all respects that they inspire their
enlisted personnel to emulate and respect them.
We cannot overemphasize the value of setting a
good personal example in your daily life.
Officers cannot live by the rule of "dont do
as I do; do as I say" without the risk of personnel
regarding them with suspicion or distaste.
Suspicious or distasteful regard for an officer
greatly diminishes the officers reputation as a
leader. On the other hand, outstanding conduct
by an officer can inspire others to follow the same
pattern, thereby benefiting the entire Navy.
When we speak of conduct, we mean conduct
ashore as well as aboard ship. A person in uniform
is consciously or unconsciously watched by
everyone around. In the minds of the observers,
that persons actions are interpreted as typical of
everyone who wears a similar uniform. Therefore,
we must do nothing to dishonor the uniform, lest,
in so doing, we dishonor the entire Navy.
You cannot expect others to follow regulations
if you ignore them. Depending on the extent of
the digressions, you may, for all practical
purposes, completely lose control of your person-
nel. You may not realize you have lost control
at first because someone else may keep the
personnel in line. However, sooner or later the
realization will become apparent, but by that time
you may be unable to do anything about it. In
any event, to regain the respect of your personnel
and to reestablish control over them will require
extraordinary effort. Rank has its privileges,
but those privileges are not extended to cover
deviations from accepted conduct. Rather, when
speaking of conduct, we must stress that rank
has its responsibilities.
Sign of an Outstanding Officer
Former Chief of Naval Operations George W.
Anderson, Jr., considered that truly outstanding
officers display the following traits. Many have
a direct relationship to effective leadership and