leadership
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Leadership
We all recognize leadership as a valuable quality in a person.
Some people insist that leadership is something you’re born
with. Others argue that leadership can be learned. Whatever
your opinion may be, when it comes to our commanding
officers, our lives can depend on their leadership and
judgment. Our promotions may depend on their kindness. And
our selection for being trained for bigger and better things may
depend on winning their respect.























Although the captain’s air-conditioned pilothouse may seem
like an enviable workstation if you’re chipping paint two decks
below on a hot summer day, life may not necessarily be a
picnic at the top. Captains must answer to the company about
the bottom line of dollars and cents, while trying to operate a
vessel in a safe, fair and decent manner.

They say it can be lonely at the top. While generally true, it could
depend on one’s personality. Some old timers may not be
afraid to throw back a few beers on shore at a bar with
subordinates, while cautious newcomers might prefer to
maintain distance with subordinates, in the event of a need to
discipline someone in the future. One’s management style
could depend on the atmosphere created by the company.
Some inland river companies describe their staff as “family”
and encourage interaction at barbecues and other activities.
Regardless of how someone pulls off that thing called
“leadership”, there are probably not too many things as
satisfying as being respected and liked by a crew. And there
are probably not too many things as stressful as being
mistrusted and disliked by a crew.
Lieutenant John F.
Kennedy aboard the PT
109 in the Solomon
Islands may be an
iconic image of a  
leader who performed
under pressure in a
crisis situation, while
doing everything to
save his men.
The navy chief petty officer is an
enduring symbol of leadership at
sea. A good chief who knows his
stuff is looked up to by all aboard
a ship. Junior seamen and
machinist’s mates will look to a
good chief for guidance and
instruction. And while chief petty
officers may not have had the
privilege of attending a maritime
or naval academy, any
commissioned officer would be
astute to recognize and respect
the importance of the seasoned
Chief in the leadership structure
of a ship.
The real-life destroyer U.S.S. Thompson was used by Hollywood