At 1-Year Mark, College of Leadership and Ethics Officials Talk about Teaching Officers How to Lead — Plus What They are Reading

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Here’s a link to the full article, but the takeaways for us are:

Q: If I’m a mid-level Navy manager, what are the three things I need to know to improve my leadership skills right now?

Klein: What I would say to any midlevel officer or middle manager is, to be a good leader, self-awareness is key to almost everything else you do.

Leaders have to influence, and to influence they have to communicate, to communicate they have to know not just who they are but how other people receive them.

There are many models that say humility is also very important, because you have to understand that you may or may not be the smartest person in the room. Many times, when we promote people, their thinking is “I was promoted because I’m the smartest person in this area.” Helping people train their brains that that might not be the case is incredibly important.

The third thing people need — that doesn’t come when you study how to fly a plane, or how to drive a ship or submarine — is empathy.

They have to have empathy to understand what they telling people to do – not just how it’s going to be received but how it is going to be executed. Understanding how people receive your orders is incredibly important.

A fourth thing would be understanding “command and control” leadership, as opposed to a more collaborative, thoughtful, transformational leadership ideology.

There’s a time and a place for command and control, and it’s usually when you are getting fired upon. It is a very industrial-age model. As people understand how to work with a team and how to develop a team, there is not a need to have a command and control leadership style 24/7.


Q: What are some leadership books that people should be reading now?

Andersen:  The book that’s driving some stuff we are thinking about now is Finney and Mayfield’s “Redefining the Modern Military: The Intersection of Profession and Ethics.”

This book is about why do we do what we do, what does it mean to be us and why does that matter in what we do as members of the military. Because senior leaders have to be able to answer the question — and to drive the message on — why is this job worth your time, your energy, your sweat and maybe your blood.

Klein: I would tell you that “Humility Is the New Smart” by Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig, reinforces the need for humility. They talk about the need for humility, in the sense that you need to be realistic about what your strengths are and how you interface in this smart-machine age.

A classic favorite of mine is Carol Dweck’s “Mindset.” There are plenty of studies out there – and there are books about grit and the Navy talks about resilience and toughness – and a lot of that is contained in this book about the new psychology of success.

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