Leadership at Sea and Seven Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2268 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership

Without a clear task that they are responsible for, individuals do not feel a sense of responsibility to the collective and perform poorly.

Another officer had a similar problem. Rather than wishing to accomplish activities in the most efficient and positive manner possible, he was more interested in asserting his own authority at the expense of others. Although he had some admirable, personal, independent qualities, he had no tact about enforcing his command and critiquing the work of others.

Although public discipline many be necessary at times during early training, often this officer overstepped the line to such a degree, the vehemence of his wrath rather than the actual issue at stake became the focus. This accomplished no practical purpose, either for the subordinate being disciplined or the crew overall. The subordinate was humiliated. As a result, the crew was given no incentive to excel in its own performance. They had a negative point-of-view of the officer, and a negative point-of-view of their own competence and the competence of their fellow officers

In general, the motto of 'praise publicly, criticize privately,' is the most effective method of creating a sense of trust in one's superiors and amongst one's peers and subordinates. Without it there can be no "balanced sense of self-renewal" upon the part of the disciplined individual. (14) Rather than trying to do the task better, and to a higher level of competence, and hopefully excellence, the individual's energy becomes channeled in the form of anger at the person whom is criticizing them in a humiliating fashion.

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It is easy for me, of course, to say that I would have done things differently. In the case of the first cited example of poor leadership, I would agree with the principle of the 'morning' meetings of the officer cited above. However, rather than simply hold myself aloof, I would have checked in with my officers at breakfast, before the meetings even began. I would have an understanding of the mental and emotional state of the other individuals, rather than simply privately rehearse what I personally wished to accomplish in the meetings.

Term Paper on Leadership at Sea and Seven Assignment

Next, in the meetings themselves, I would ask for input about how the previously assigned tasks were accomplished and conducted. Rather than simply brusquely move onto the next area of business, I would compliment those who had performed their tasks well and take note, mentally and verbally, of where other areas of needed work had to be addressed and built upon. Although the leader must assume ultimate responsibility for the flow of the meeting, the purpose of the meeting is to create a sense of "synergy," as Covey terms it, or a sense of cohesion in the context of a larger group dynamic. The purpose of leadership is never simply individualism -- leadership is by definition a collective act of a common unit.

In the second example, when reprimanding a subordinate for a job poorly done, I would ideally go over the specifics of the assignment in private, demonstrating how a better job could have been performed, if proper protocol had been followed. The purpose of criticism must be constructive, to build up a better individual in the service, with a greater sense of personal responsibility and integrity. The purpose of criticism is always constructive, never destructive. Humiliation in the service of building up an officer's ego is simply an exercise of personal egoism, not leadership.

It is tempting, perhaps to associate such exercises of loud and critical displays of machismo with the great military leaders of the past. However, these displays were always with a larger purpose, to break down the recruit's own sense of self and to remake him or her as soldiers who could perform to his or her highest level of ability. When this is not the purpose of such displays, as it was not, I believe, in the examples cited above, such public displays have no purpose in the general context of life at sea.

Covey's stress upon listening and responding to the needs of others may seem overly 'soft' to the military's needs. However, although Covey addresses his leadership challenges to civilians, he could not have written a more effective text for a military leader. A military leader must constantly respond to new stimuli and situations, and thus always have an ear for the words and needs of others. Yet there also must be a sense of habituation and the following of protocol.


Stephen R. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999, p. 3-46.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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