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  1. Doug Marble
    July 26, 2018 @ 10:14 am

    Short lesson on leader optimism… Late 1989, as a young frocked Navy LT (wearing the rank but not yet officially promoted) I took over as Executive Officer of an oceanographic survey unit embarked on a USNS ship, permanently deployed doing sea floor mapping in Indonesian waters. Small unit, about 75 Sailors total, an 04 CO, 6 officers and about the same number of Chiefs, with a comparably sized civilian Merchant Mariner crew led by a civilian Master.

    I was still very tightly wound having just escaped from the East Coast Surface Navy. There are three very different US Navies – East Coast, West Coast and WestPac, their respective attitude and nature then divide further based on the warfare areas. The only thing more anal than an East Coast SWO is a Nuke. I was pretty excited about transferring into a new community, Oceanography, and my new role – Executive Officer, second in command, being able to set the tone, helping lead an entire organization. Heady stuff for a second tour.

    Coming out my stateroom one morning I stub my toe on the knee knocker nearby (the lower lip on a watertight hatch) and curse softly under my breath on my way to breakfast. I didn’t think about it any more as the day progressed in a reasonably normal fashion, but I encountered very few of the crew in my wanderings, and those I saw were quieter than usual. At lunch I sit with a crusty Chief Warrant Officer 3 who owns the comms and survey electronics onboard and has been in the Navy for-freakin-ever, at least compared to my whopping 3-1/2 years at that point. He probably preferred the XO didn’t sit with him, even if his main source of pleasure is picking on Junior Officers.

    “Hey EMO, what’s with the crew, they seem on edge?” “Word has it you are in a foul mood, Sir” said with a mustached smirk over the top of the ever present nasty ceramic coffee cup black inside, white outside, standard issue for Chiefs and Warrants. “Dude, I am never in a foul mood!” “Did you just call me dude, XO? Petty Officer Smith saw you cursing and muttering in the passageway this morning, word spread, watch out for the XO.”

    Lightbulb moment right there.

    Anyway, moral of the story, leadership sets the tone. I think General Powell is credited with “attitude is a force multiplier.” Cheesy but true. Strapping on the pom-poms and saddle shoes is not it – cheerleader style rings hollow from the get go. However, if you as the leader bring the negativity, it is guaranteed 100% the crew will channel it. Work on being a silver-linings kind of person. Find the positive (tying it to the mission always works), get and keep folks focused on it, and lead by example.


  2. Brandon Morgan
    July 26, 2018 @ 10:35 am

    Josh, this is a great article. I can’t agree more in the power of connecting ideas and thoughts into a coherent piece that gives value and meaning to ourselves and those who read our work.

    I’ve begun writing professionally a bit as well, and it’s been a transformative process for myself, and I believe is value added to the community. It is awesome to see the debate and discussion of your own published work.

    I also read your article in the Company Leader about why you serve. It was an awesome way for me to reflect on my own service, I love what I do, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

    Thanks for your contribution to my leader development, it began in 2009 in Company E2 and continues today. Hope you are well!


    • jbowen100
      July 26, 2018 @ 3:18 pm

      Brandon, thanks for the supportive words! Hope you’re doing well, man. Go Brewdogs!


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