The Right Tools in your Toolboxal of 9 ships and staffs, I experienced a broad scope of leadership styles and collected a series of ideas that served me well in motivating and recognizing sailors and helping them achieve their goals. Another former commanding officer told me with great astuteness that it is just as important to “Catch ’em doing something right”—and tell them so. My time at sea having recently drawn to a close, this is a good moment to share some of these tools with a younger generation of leaders. Readers may already have encountered most, but perhaps a few are new and can make a difference.
Ensign 101: For 15 years I handed copies of this wonderful list to each new officer checking in to the ship. It is the product of retired Captain James P. Ransom, from the leadership forum of the February 1995 issue of Proceedings. It contains such wisdom as “Don’t eat every meal offered in the wardroom—you will double your weight in a six-month deployment” and “Know your people: their capabilities, goals, and problems . . . . Be genuinely interested, and show it.” This short but excellent article is a classic.