Talent-Based Leadership in Military Healthcare
Lieutenant Commander Douglas E. Stephens, MSC, U.S. Navy
In August 2000, the senior medical officer and medical administration officer reported on board an aircraft carrier for a two-year tour. Our responsibilities included the day-to-day care of close to 6,000 sailors and Marines associated with the ship and, later, its six-ship battle group. We soon found shortcomings within the department, primarily in leadership positions. We implemented what we called, "talent-based leadership," or selecting a person for a leadership position based on ability and not necessarily seniority or rank. This system had both positive and negative aspects of leadership as it applied on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.