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Leadership for Renewal
Officer Candidate Glenn A. Daley, U. S. Naval Reserve
It is amazing how many civilians see the military as a monolithic, rigid, pyramidal hierarchy, with little flexibility and little ability to generate innovation. It is sad how many in military uniform see it the same way.
Y Vincent S' < Astor ^ ./ Memorial • ^1 Leadership ^ Essay o, ^ Contest ^
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During the past year, public discussion has focused increasingly on the need for leadership and the need for military strength. These are not new issues, but they are now drawing more attention because of the presidential election and recent world events. We are seeing an awakened determination to reverse the decline in this nation’s fortunes, its international influence, its military power, and its sense of common purpose. We are also seeing a widespread dissatisfaction with leaders and leadership, at all levels, in all our institutions, public and private.
In light of these trends, naval leadership today has a responsibility and an opportunity for the rebuilding of strength and spirit in the Navy. More ships and aircraft are needed, but will be worth little without a renewal of confidence and commitment, morale and motivation, pride and purpose, vitality and vision. Renewal means both a return to forgotten values and innovation to meet future challenges. Without continuing renewal, we are not far from stagnation.1
Leadership for renewal demands more than determination. It requires fresh insight into the roles and obligations of both leadership and management. It requires committed practical effort to enhance the purposeful character of the Navy and the Navy’s people. And it ultimately depends upon self-renewal within individual leaders at all levels.
Leadership vs. Management?: One of the criticisms frequently leveled against the military in recent months has been that management has taken over the rightful place of leadership. “Train leaders and soldiers for combat, not management,” suggests a writer in The Atlantic Monthly,2 "Men must be led, not managed,” comments a Proceedings contributor.3 These complaints have some validity, but they are unfortunately worded. If cost management, systems management, and the management-by-objectives paperwork cycle have grown to disproportionate importance at the expense of more personal tasks, then mismanagement is the problem, and both leadership and good management are the solution.
“Leadership” has many meaning5. Our concern is with it as a role orre sponsibility of persons involved ,n purposeful group behavior. This meaning implies a personal object the led. More precisely, the object^ most often an aggregate of Pe°P ’ often referred to by impersonal noun5 such as “group” or “team.” Lean ship, in this sense, can be defined the act or responsibility of elicit'n» purposeful group behavior from ot persons.
“Management” can apply t0 classes of objects: impersonal thing5j like money or systems; PetS°n‘0( things, like an individual’s work 0 creations; and aggregates of pers°nS’ like a business and other orgn111^ tions. In the broadest sense of word, management can be defme the act or responsibility of glV order and direction to organize1 and their various affairs. . ,
The management of organize1 includes, but is very different m ^ phasis from, the management ot personal things. A person’s work a group membership may be abs tions, but cannot be isolated m P tice from his or her personhood. aging them requires due respect that personhood.
Management must be apPr°P ^
to the nature of the organization- though many of the same manage*11 principles apply, we must never *
that an armed force is not chain. The tasks, objectives, - j- straints, methods, and priorities^
management in a military orga ,j
tion are determined by the mission, which is, in George F.
words, “to be good at sustain' trolled violence.”4 In fact, the
agement of combat and of orgal
tions for combat is probably
complex and difficult manageme s in the modern world, except Per v for the management of demoC*
governments. As such, it re^U more—not less- petence. pt
Finally, leadership and manage are not antithetical but comple . ^ tary. Managing an organization j out being able to elicit effective motivated behavior is an exercise in futility. Some
describe leadership as one of the in- uoed responsibilities of business Management. On the other hand, per- s°inel will not respond well to leader- 'P 'f they have been given in- a(tequate resources, and if their organization and their work are poorly Structured as a result of mismanagement- Thus, the Navy’s old “General tuer Number 21” names good man- aSenent practices as one of the three o !tT,ents naval leadership. (The ers are personal example and moral re- Wnsibility.)
In their attacks on the managerial m'litary, the critics seem to be saying 0 things: first, not enough heed is Pa‘d to the personhood of the mem- ets of the organization; second, not J0ugh heed is paid to the unique naracter and mission of the organiza- n- Where this is true, what is dec* is not abandonment of man- gernent as a controlling concept, but oj.nevved attention to the full demands j Senuine management. Leadership renewal will take responsibility for fot^'ng t*le Navy w‘tI1 due regard Doth its people and its purpose.
Cooperative Leadership: Large organi-
on ons—an<^ t*ie Nayy *s a very IarSe
jjj ""display an inherent tendency to legat'd the personal realities of the ^ tvidual human beings within
,^ern. can try tQ jeny escape
] ’ explain it, or exploit it, but as j ers ar>d managers our responsibil- ^ >s to counteract it. The difficulty is current flows against us: big- automatically impersonalizes, Pla'6 rnaI<*nS organizations healthy Ces for humans requires vigorous 11 unabated efforts.
^he fundamental ethic of a military p ganization is one of mutual sacrifice j. tfutual ends. Such a relationship is tj “de, especially in large organiza- ns> and can quickly degenerate into Ration in which the members e simply on a contractual basis, v11 limited commitments, for pri- ,e Awards. Providing generous tan- t f e and intangible rewards and iden- Sou ^ PeoPle as tl*e mos(: vital re- ^ rce are essential efforts in the fight a^lnst impersonalization, but taken ne they may simply reinforce the Ception of being contractually rewarded for serving as means to someone else’s ends. What is needed is a philosophy of leadership that promotes the reality and the consciousness of mutual service, mutual commitment, and mutual purpose.
Cooperative leadership is the principle that leaders are not masters, but fellow-servants. Such leaders see themselves as resources for the fulfillment of the common purpose of the organization, rather than merely seeing their personnel as resources. Such leaders include among their responsibilities not only directing subordinates, but also assisting, equipping, encouraging, developing, and respecting subordinates. The ideal is mutual ser- vanthood and mutual respect. Robert Greenleaf calls this philosophy “servant leadership.”5 Few of these ideas are new to military endeavor, but neither are they widely articulated or followed as controlling values in the Navy today.
Cooperative attitudes can be contrasted with adversary attitudes. An adversary relationship produces “win- lose” situations at every turn; someone must triumph at the expense of someone else. This is dangerous behavior for members of the same team. Cooperativeness actively seeks to generate “win-win” solutions wherever possible. A fellow-servant feels pride at others’ success and shame at their failure, not envy at their success and glee at their failure.
Cooperative leadership means that juniors and seniors seek ways to support rather than hinder each others’ efforts. It means that they will give the benefit of the doubt, allowing time for trust and respect to develop while working together, rather than each demanding that the other earn trust and respect before willing cooperation is possible. It means meliorative rather than vindictive evaluations. It means developing “adult-adult” relationships rather than “parent-child” relationships. A cooperative leader will refrain from turning an “assist” role into an “attack” role, and will likewise refrain from “burning out” subordinates for the sake of his own career. Cooperative leadership will subordinate itself to the ends of the group.
This does not mean “command by consensus.” Decision in combat and in crisis must be quick and absolute, and must leave no doubt as to who is in charge. Cooperative leadership does not eliminate the chain of command, but rather gives it greater power and legitimacy.
Nor does this mean simply being “likeable.” A leader is not out to make friends, but followers. Followers are quick to spot both the villain behind the smile and the teammate behind the frown, and they give their loyalty to the latter. The leader’s integrity as a fellow-servant is the key to leadership effectiveness.
A corollary of cooperative leadership is mutual leadership. Our definition of leadership—eliciting behavior—says nothing about authority relationships. We do give specific leadership responsibility to specific persons, and we give these designated leaders the legal authority to do their job. But we can speak as well of a diffuse kind of responsibility held by everyone in common. To the extent that each person in the Navy has the opportunity to influence others without violating their humanness or their legal authority, and to the extent that each person is accountable at large for the mission and well-being of the Navy, each person in the Navy is authorized and required by duty to be a leader.
Such leadership is limited by the above constraints to methods like personal example and persuasion, exhortation, and encouragement. The recruit who uses these techniques to achieve greater teamwork among his buddies is a leader. \X^e need more such leaders. Mutual leadership is a potent force for renewal and an essential kind of naval leadership.
A further corollary of cooperative leadership is leadership up. This may sound dangerously like legitimized insubordination, but it is an ancient military principle which needs more attention today. The necessity for a clear chain of command and a single voice giving orders has required that military command authority be given to individuals and not committees. Yet, no individual commander is allwise and all-knowing. Traditionally, he is given a staff of assistants junior to him in order to inform and advise
lation control. Steaming into
What ought Navy leadership
- - , f (Cl
embarassing to talk about, that
high character values and about h10
late the values by which we live;
him. Their designated role could be called leadership up.
This principle should be applied more broadly in the light of cooperative fellow-servanthood. It is the responsibility of every junior to exercise leadership toward his senior—with all due respect to both the authority and the personhood of the senior, but with the confidence that duty requires such a role. In the implementation of decisions, obedience must be unswerving. But in the consideration of decisions, and in the development of character and competence, the junior’s influence ought to register.
Again, the methods will be limited by constraints of authority and respect to such things as personal example, persuasion, and encouragement. These are potent instruments when used with care and integrity. Cooperativeness from juniors can profoundly transform a senior for the good of the Navy. Leadership up requires a deli-
A cooperative leader will refrain from turning an “assist” role into an “attack” role, and will likewise refrain from “burning out” subordinates for the sake of his own career.
cate touch, but we ought to be committed to using whatever legitimate resources we possess, including leadership skills, to assist our superiors to do their job and do it well. We owe it to them as fellow-servants vital to the fulfillment of our common mission.
Finally, as leaders we ought to be receptive to leadership up from those under us. It is not going to erode our authority to admit we need assistance. What we can gain in insight and enthusiasm from our juniors will make us more effective leaders. On the other hand, if we insist on carving our untutored opinions into granite, we may simply create a win-lose showdown in which we, or the Navy, might be the losers. We ought to encourage leadership up; openly recognize it as a legitimate responsibility of subordinates; and attempt to make the Navy a place where it can thrive within its proper role and limits.
A consistently applied philosophy of cooperative leadership, including such concepts as servant leadership, mutual leadership, and leadership up, can provide the corrective force necessary to minimize the impersonalizing effects of military organization. Our relationships ought to be characterized by mutual respect and mutual assistance. Letting our lives and actions be renewed by these attitudes may not always advance our individual careers, but it will enrich and revitalize the Navy both now and for the future.
Mission and Character: As leaders and managers we are responsible for building an organization which achieves its purpose. We are responsible to the public, its government, and our fellow-servants within the organization for seeing to it that the Navy’s character and competence are equal to its mission. This requires that we commit ourselves to practical leadership efforts both within the Navy and in the public decision-making process.
The preservation and renewal of mission-oriented values within the Navy often take a low priority to daily operational demands. Yet, we cannot afford to neglect this responsibility.
First, the technology which gives us such awesome power has attenuated the linkage between ends and means. The connection between the specific technical tasks of naval personnel and the mission of the Navy as a whole ought to be apparent to those leaders/managers up the chain of command who are responsible at successive levels for structuring the connection in the first place. But the personnel down the chain of command do not often see the connection unless it can be communicated to them. Their motivation to perform depends upon confidence that the connection is there, a confidence which can be assisted by understanding but which ultimately must be based on trust in their leaders. If those in leadership positions become fascinated with technology and forget its ultimate purpose, they violate the trust placed in them.
Second, the subtlety of modern diplomacy and international politics makes the linkage of means to ends
dependent upon the logic of su^ things as deterrence, detente, and esc
Bay was much easier to underswn than is steaming in circles in the dian Ocean. What this means, aga‘n' is that leaders are responsible for tf) ing to communicate the connectin'15, but even more responsible for seelI1j' to it that the connections exist. sL1 is the trust placed in them. .
Third, the “me” generation is c lenging the basic values of mil'ta, behavior, such as duty, loyalty, ^lsC pline, self-sacrifice, courage, truS^ and respect. Yet, unselfish values * still be found, and many people u® on doing their own “thing’’ are 0 |j doing what their culture has t0 them to while longing for a n worthy cause. Psychologist and wr Robert Coles says, “The very
who are now feeling self-centered il crave something larger than r*ieIj selves to believe in and work tovva They’re not being given it by leaders.”6
doing to encourage high values? Certainly, something 0 ^ than rewarding self-interest
Remember leadership by PerS°^Uf example. We can hardly expeCt juniors to subordinate themselveS.^ the mission of the Navy if we afe subordinate concerning that m's j, We ought to seek to develop ouf ^ integrity of character, moral resp bility, and self-giving devotion t0 cause, before demanding them of one else.
Speak openly and explicitly —
If we find selfishness us something about ourselves we ought at least to attempt to af -s
should include a philosophy ^ -e[ tary behavior. Instead of the [() system of assigning political °^‘ce^es, units for the indoctrination of va ^ we all ought to consider such a our own responsibility, with t
spect for personhood and freedom, with boldness. j0(i
Seek to structure our orgamzat^f and its affairs so as to encourage
^lan discourage high character values. This would include taking some of the extreme pressure out of the promo- t,unal reward-punishment system. In- ttgrity is its own reward, but it ought n°t to be punished by competition 'v,th efficiency. The Navy as a bureau- cr«ic organization ought to embody,
Racier is not out to make friends, tlt followers. Followers are quick to sPot both the villain behind the s'"'le and the teammate behind the Jr<nen, and give their loyalty to tl}e latter.
0r at least not stifle, the values which (he Navy, as a fighting organization, Squires.
We have seen some characteristics armed forces which cannot be aban- °ned yet which must be countered by a steady pressure from the other direc- tlon in order not to do harm. The ,lecessity for civilian control of the ni,Iitary establishments of a free l'e°ple stands unquestioned. Yet, the vagarics of public opinion and of rep- rtSentative government can be crip- *’*‘ng to the nation’s defenses.
our society, which often seems Uriable to see beyond the next elec- |,l0n> we who bear the responsibility 0r ensuring that the armed forces can eet their commitments to national j ense have an obligation to provide °ng-range vision. Today, a single Ir,ajor weapon system can take longer t() develop than even the eight years of * ^oll two-term presidency, and we ave not even had one of those since ■senhower. A recent essay in the apal War College Review argues from ■storical, ethical, and legal grounds N say, “The military professional in a emocratic society has a significant 0ral obligation to participate in the 'ate on public policy in order to arpen the discussion by adding a Perspective of informed opinion and c,!perience. . . . participation in for- policy debate by the military of- ter is not only constitutionally ac- ^Ptable but is morally obligatory.”7 7115 task must be undertaken with the same respect for legal authority that characterizes “leadership up,” but it must be undertaken boldly. Some of the ways to begin are to:
^ Remember to lead by example. If we cannot subordinate our careers, our factional interests, and our pet projects to the national interest, how can we expect Congress to do so? The integrity and soundness of character of both the Navy as a whole and its leaders as individuals are subject to public scrutiny. We are obligated to set a shining example.
^ Engage in dialogue within the military profession, both inter- and intra-service, which articulates high values and advocates sound policies. This dialogue is the breeding and feeding ground of future policy recommendations and decisions, and contributes to the development of the well-informed leader.
^ Engage in dialogue with Congress and civilian policymakers which articulates high values and advocates sound policies. It may be necessary to water down requests in order to secure budget approval, and it may be necessary to toe the party line when questioned in an official capacity, but failure to communicate the reality of defense requirements is irresponsible. We must respectfully demand a sufficiency of resources to meet the obligations we are given and a consistency in policy to allow long-range planning. The downward responsibilities of cooperative leadership are required of Congress and the executive branch as well as of those who wear a military uniform.
^ Engage in dialogue with the public and the press which articulates high values and advocates sound policies. This is a task of every leader, not just admirals and public affairs officers. It requires sensitivity to both the constraints of legal authority and the difference between an official and a personal position. But public perceptions and debate will always remain inadequate without the contributions of professional military leaders on a wide scale.
^ Avoid, at all costs, becoming simply another special-interest, singleissue group or lobby. When that happens, we become self-seeking competitors for attention with all other such groups. The public dismisses what we say as only our job, or worse yet, only our "thing.” Issues become polarized into yes-no, win-lose questions, terminating creative, cooperative dialogue. We must always keep the national interest at the center of our attention and public attention, for that is our reason tor being.
Individual organizations have unique characters just as persons do. As leaders and managers, we are responsible for the character of the Navy, both now and for the future. Too often, though, we let perceptions take the rightful place of vision; our idea of what the Navy is becomes a self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating set of expectations, when we should be acting to fulfill our idea of what the Navy should be.
It is amazing how many civilians see the military as a monolithic, rigid, pyramidal hierarchy, with little flexibility and little ability to generate innovation. It is sad how many in military uniform see it the same way.
Others, both within and without, see it as a civil service-type bureaucracy, with its own internal class structure and politics, complete with career paths, entitlements to defend, dues to pay, and tome upon tome of arcane rules to be either blithely ignored or vindictively enforced at whim. This contains too much painful truth to be disregarded; but again there are those
Too often ... we let perceptions take the rightful place of vision; our idea of what the Navy is becomes a self-fulfilling, self-perpetuating set of expectations, when we should be acting to fulfill our idea of what the Navy should be.
in the organization who cannot see it any other way.
There are other images of the Navy floating around: the giant business corporation, the country club/mutual admiration society, and the game with the most expensive toys in town.
As a counter to these images, we need to have a strong vision of what the Navy should be, and we should act according to that vision. What is needed is a vision of the Navy as the Navy, not as anything else, and as a purposeful, competent, renewed and self-renewing Navy. The Navy we are building now ought to be a Navy that will make us proud in the future.
Two possible role models for us are Admirals Rickover and Zumwalt. It is not necessary to agree with their ideas and visions (indeed, it is not logically possible to agree with both of them simultaneously), but it is necessary to recognize their stamp on the shape of today's Navy. We may not have their kind of power, but we are responsible for what is in our power to accomplish. What counts is that we be men and women of vision, and that we take the steps today that are necessary to create the kind of Navy we want to see tomorrow. As our examples demonstrate, this means being willing to risk controversy. It requires impatience in the sense of downright contempt for inertia and complacency. It requires patience in the sense of endurance, long-suffering, and stubborn persistence. As leaders and managers, we are developing people and building an institution for the future. Our character, our vision, and our commitment to the task will make the difference between renewal and stagnation of the Navy.
The Ultimate Responsibility: Moral responsibility is part of the old official definition of naval leadership. This is something which cannot be produced on command, cannot be achieved by technique, cannot be evaluated except by the unreliable evidence of words and actions, cannot be motivated by reward or punishment, and yet cannot be done without. At most, one can attempt to instill it by example and by exhortation. This means that the ultimate responsibility lies within each of us, and we are accountable for it to no one but our conscience and our God.
Basic military training includes the painful lesson: “if one's fouled up, you’re all fouled up.” We ought not
to forget that lesson. Let us learn tu say to ourselves as we look in the mirror, “If I'm fouled up, the only Nav)j this nation has is fouled up.” then let us resolve to be renewed so tM the Navy—indeed, our nation, afl our world—may be renewed.
‘John Gardner analyses the need for this ficult process in society and in our institutiuns in his classic work, Self-Renewal (New York Harper & Row, 1963). „
2James Fallows, “Muscle-Bound Superpower. The Atlantic Monthly, October 1979, P* 7®’ .
3Raymond J. Brown, “Rx for Shipb^lf Morale,” Proceedings, July 1979, p. 94. „
4George F. Will, “Armies Should Win Wars. Newsweek, 18 February 1980, p. 120.
'’Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership (New Y°r ’ Paulist Press, 1977). j
“Robert Coles, “Our Self-Centere Children—Heirs of the ‘Me’ Decade, U' News & World Report, 25 February 19&0, p- 7Paul R. Schratz and Francis X. Winters, S-J “Military Ethics in the United States: Clos*1^ the Gap Between Civilian and Military, ^ War College Review, September-October 19 p. 102.
THE CHIEFS OF NAVAL OPERATIONS
Edited by Robert W. Love, Jr.
This is a history of the chiefs of naval operations from Admiral William S. Benson, the first CNO, to Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. Each of the 19 essays in this volume is devoted to the naval career of one of those men. Each examines the reasons for his being appointed chief of naval operations, and focuses principally on his years in that office. The policies, military strategies, and administrative changes of each incumbent are described and evaluated from a fresh viewpoint in this well- written, easy-to-read biographical study of one of the most powerful offices in the United States.
19801379 pages /illustrated
A Naval Institute Press Book List price: $28.95 Member’s price: $23.16
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