Monday, September 10, 2012

Advice for your enlisted

Advice. Let's face it: everyone has advice to give about your Navy career, and especially about what your sailors should and should not be doing.

I think my sailors have heard it all at this point:
- You should be doing lots of community service
- You should be active in the JSA/FCPOA/command
- You should have lots of collateral duties

etc. etc. etc. It's almost mind-numbing anymore what gets put out to our enlisted sailors as what they need to do to become a chief.

I've tried to cut through all the silliness and focus on the facts, which I find in the CPO enlisted board precepts:

Reading through the document, I get the sense that in general, Big Navy wants a well-rounded individual, but that the biggest driver is superior performance of duties. The nice thing about the precepts is that I can find lots of little things that I can help my sailors work on.

To use an example from a previous command, let's say you have a hot running sailor that is your number 1 EP. He is running the division, making stuff happen, and a great operator to boot. What do you tell that sailor? If you say "Keep doing what you're doing!"'re wrong. You've lost that opportunity to help the sailor grow and become the best candidate for chief.

In my case, I dug through the precepts and found some missing items for my sailor. One was a degree, and the second was service and joint professional military education. Using the precepts, I helped orient my sailor towards how to improve himself and his chances for making chief. I used that opportunity to help a good sailor continue to grow into their (hopefully future) role as a chief.

Low performing sailors are easy to counsel, because it is (sometimes painfully) obvious what that person has to work on. It's the sailors on the cusp of greatness that need the most attention. Don't ever turn down the opportunity to help your top sailors excel. As a division officer, where you are often the first commissioned officer in their chain of command, you have a lot of influence and control a good portion of their daily work lives. Using that to help your best sailors rise to the top isn't just doing your's the unspoken expectation of you as a Naval Officer.