Command and Staff Program

By Readiness Network, Inc.

It’s Your Ship

Replies
512
Voices
259
Dr. Mitch Javidi
Instructions:  
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 
  • Heather Phillips

    Lt. General Hal Moore's video was very inspiring. He talked about how it's not 3 strikes and you're out in life. There is always more you can do and the more you do, the more opportunities you have. I related the most to what he said about trusting your instincts because it's the best resource you have. I trust my gut feeling often when making professional decisions and it usually leads me down the right path. He also discussed how life is not a bed of roses and to expect adversity. That's so true and how we handle
    it that defines us as a person/leader.

  • Justin Haynes

    There is simply not enough that can be said for empowerment of your people. Abrashoff's ideals on this are brilliant and can be applied in whole hose of different industries. We have all experienced a call taker at a call center where as they simply are not allowed to make a decision that is a no brainer. We are always left with having to ask for a supervisor who has been empowered to make menial decisions causing stress, frustration and lack of forward momentum.

  • Reynaldo Gregory

    I learned that empowering the people you supervise has many benefits and allows for a better work environment. I embrace this style of leadership due to fostering a family type atmosphere for employees.

  • Christopher Kozub

    To Try and change the way things have operated for years is a tough task to do. You need to have buy in from everyone that you supervise and then those that they supervise. Sometimes a leap of faith is needed from all those that you command, but that leap of faith is easily taken when those that you supervise trust and respect you. The ability to support those ideas that we supervise, is a great way to show that we have their back when they bring an idea to the table, but when that idea is successful, that credit goes to those that thought of that new way of doing something.

    • Justin Haynes

      Christopher,

      The portion of about credit to a subordinate seems to hard form some. I think this way of leadership is great in that in doing so, it ultimately will empower the leader themselves. It is also appropriate and worth its weight in gold with the masses going forward.
      Great point.

      Justin

  • Thomas Shay

    One of the similarities between Abrashoff and Lincoln that stuck out to me is that they were willing to give people a second chance. I agree with this idea. Sometimes when officers make certain errors, we are not afforded that opportunity. I have also found that due to staffing shortages, some officers have been afforded third, fourth, and fifth chances. While a good leader will provide the support and training to a struggling officer, a departments credibility can be lost when an officer is given too many chances.

  • Kenny Goncalves

    Abrashoff's approach to leadership is simple but powerful! Treat everyone with respect, empower your team to make decisions, and create a culture of continuous improvement. He also emphasizes the importance of communication and transparency. By following Abrashoff's principles, any leader can create a team that is more engaged, productive, and successful.

    • Reynaldo Gregory

      I agree treating employees with respect creates a nurturing environment and fosters innovation and a happy workplace. This too will make employees more productive.

  • Bernie Woodward

    Captain Abrashoff's approach was to empower his crew and foster a culture of ownership and accountability. By doing this, team members feel they can trust their leaders and are more accountable for their own performance. Of the the key remarks that stood out to me was that leaders don't need to be liked, but they do need to be respected, trusted and effective.

    • Thomas Shay

      I agree with leaders don't need to be liked. Sometimes it seem that leaders in a department will also be respected and trusted by their teams, but their need to be liked hinders their effectiveness when it come to certain tasks. For example, when the time comes that corrective action or discipline needs to take place, the leader will be hesitant to do so because they fear it will cause their team to not like them anymore.

      • Heather Phillips

        Absolutely! As a leader, you are there to do a job and if subordinates "like" you, it's an added bonus, but shouldn't be what a leader strives to achieve. I have also seen times where the leader is more worried about being liked than actually doing their job. They play favorites and don't take necessary actions required of their position because they are too worried about someone being upset with them or losing that friendship. Leaders should focus on gaining respect rather than popularity.

  • Frederick Gimbel

    "It's your ship" is a leadership philosophy that empowers employees to take ownership and responsibility for their work. It is based on the idea that everyone on the team has a role to play in achieving success, and that everyone's ideas and contributions are valued. In my recent position change within our organization, I have employed this philosophy to those who report directly to me. I believe that it was extremely important to do so because I have never worked within this department before, and they have more knowledge than I do on many of the topics. I just have to give them the right tools for the job and ensure that it aligns with the overall vision of the agency.

  • Mitch Allen

    This was a great course on the practical application of the leadership traits we learned throughout this module. Capt. Abrashoff's book "It's Your Ship" shows how to take a bad work environment and turn it into the most productive force that it could possibly be. This course emphasizes the leadership traits of being a good listener, giving credit where credit is due, leading by example, communicating clearly, and many others. My takeaway from this course is to be a good listener. This is one trait that I have found to be lacking and need to practice listening at every opportunity.

  • Ben Jones

    This was a great module on several different leadership traits and skills packed in a short amount of time. Abashoff was a true leader and focused his leadership on the men and women that worked for him. He created an environment that was fun and rebuilt that trust between supervision and subordinates. He believed in delegating tasks to his subordinates and gave them the ability to act without micro-managing them. There were several additional leadership traits laid out in this module; however, the moral of the story is that all leaders need to be there for your people, no matter what. I think in leadership, it is easy to forget where you came from and create a disconnect with your subordinates. If you are in a leadership role don't lose focus on your people and get out of your office and walk amongst them.

    • Kenny Goncalves

      When I first got promoted to Corporal in 2016, I was hesitant to delegate tasks to my team members. I was worried that they wouldn't be able to do the job as well as I could. But then I read Abrashoff's it's your ship and realized that I needed to trust my team members and give them the opportunity to learn and grow.

    • Christopher Kozub

      It is a great when your supervisor has enough trust in you to allow you to do your job when handed a task, without having to ask you every 5 minutes if you did something. As long as you got to B, does it really matter how you left A, as long as you went from A to B. When you allow those that you supervise to think for themselves, they respect and will do more for you. I agree that those in leadership roles need to get out and walk amongst those they lead, how many times does someone get promoted and you never see them again, but are making decisions for those they just worked with!

  • Clayton Feagins

    This section covered alot of strong points which was extremely beneficial. One point from the module and the book showed an excellent point about checks and balances. Abrashoff was able to nearly perfect the idea of managing your leadership and taking care of your subordinates. Abrashoff methods of leadership were absolutely essential in the development and success of his crew. I enjoyed the point of List A and List B were he as a commander was performing the duties on list b. The excellent point of leading by example in which showing the actions you expect.

  • Jessica Daley

    There are many things to learn from this module. One that sticks out to me is when Abrashoff was discussing the "dark side." You can be the best leader ever and still have what his crew considered a bad day. It's hard for anyone to be at the top of their game all day every day. It's ok to have bad days. A good leader just figures out when they are having one of those and tries their best not to let it have a negative impact. In our profession it can be helpful to have a coworker that's willing to step up for you on the days you cannot give 100% and they fill in the gaps. You would do the same for them on their bad days.

    • Ben Jones

      In the law enforcement profession, every day can be challenging. As the saying goes, the only easy day was yesterday. Leaders need to stay focused, and so do their subordinates. This includes looking out for one another. Some departments don't mandate shift briefings throughout the entire working rotation; however, I use this time to interact with my officers on the shift. I also use this time to read body language and mannerisms to see if the officers are acting normal or if something is wrong. If the issue is with me my co-workers have picked up on this and helped "fill the gaps". Being a leader is about supporting your staff and accomplishing the goals set out for your team. These goals could be anything and some might not be accomplished; however, with constructive feedback and maintaining a positive mindset instills trust to your subordinates and drives them to reach the finish line.

  • In "It's Your Ship" by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, key leadership lessons abound, with one central theme: effective leadership is rooted in trust, empowerment, and a commitment to fostering a culture of accountability. Captain Abrashoff emphasizes the importance of listening to and valuing the insights of every crew member, regardless of rank, to harness their collective potential. He showcases how empowering individuals to take ownership of their roles and encouraging them to innovate can lead to remarkable improvements in performance and morale. The book underscores the significance of setting clear expectations, fostering open communication, and instilling a sense of purpose in the team. Captain Abrashoff's experiences on the USS Benfold serve as a powerful reminder that leadership is not about rank but about creating an environment where everyone feels motivated, engaged, and inspired to give their best.

  • I appreciate Cpt. Abrashoff’s outlook on leading. He understood that he alone couldn’t operate every aspect that comes from running a ship, as there are many moving parts. Every person on the ship has a job to do and he allowed them to do their job without the need to be micromanaged. He provided the workers the freedom to conduct their jobs without someone constantly looking over their shoulders, which helps to build a sense of pride and confidence within each person. The most important motivating factor I found in this module was that not only did he allow his crew to do their jobs, but he wanted them to enjoy what they were doing. Many people only think about the stress that comes from working. Most of us forget that we choose our career because there was something we enjoyed about. Having a leader, who openly reminds everyone to have fun with what they’re doing, is a great motivator to take pride in your job and will help push everyone to perform better.

    • Great points, and your answer reminds me that the best police leaders never forget their roots as patrol officers. Mostly because this connection to their origins keeps them grounded, empathetic, and in touch with the realities of frontline policing. Having served as patrol officers, they intimately understand the challenges, risks, and demands that their officers face daily. This firsthand experience helps them make informed decisions, prioritize the welfare of their officers, and advocate for the necessary resources and training. Moreover, it fosters a sense of credibility and trust within the rank and file, as officers see their leaders as individuals who've walked in their shoes.

  • Nicholas Wenzel

    Captain Abrashoff is probably one of the greatest military leaders of our time. He looked at the problems through the eyes of his sailors as well as his own. He saw the flaws that the previous captain had made and saw how the sailors reacted to him. He saw the problems of the crew and immediately began taking small steps to begin the change. His first changes were small but he quickly took action on his most important item on the ship, his people. He saw the retention rates were very low and began improving those rates by getting sailors to buy in on his leadership style and the changes he made. Reading his book, he is a contagious leader, and it would be easy to follow someone that used the methods that he did. He took input from the sailors and at the same time shared his goals of making it the best ship in the history of the Navy. His leadership and changes completely changed the morale of the ship. He challenged past practices and made changes to those that did not make sense for example changing sending sailors' home for the births of their children where past practice did not allow it. This is a major morale booster for the sailors.

  • Jon Swenson

    This has been the most insightful module for me. I enjoyed this book. I thought I was doing a good job leading since I was promoted to sergeant 2 years ago, but realized after reading this I had a whole new perspective for Leadership. I plan to take Captain D. Michael Abrashoff's leadership style with me and do better. I particularly liked the empowerment he showed with his crew. I feel that the officers on my team have good morale and work well as a team. I do recognize that they need more empowerment to improve their working environment which will increase their buy in to our department's vision.

    • Being able to have a department, or crew, that is willing to buy in to the vision of a department is essential for any department and it starts with having good leaders. Leaders who are willing to take a leadership approach like Cpt. Abrashoff will see their department's moral go up and work production increase.

    • Frederick Gimbel

      This was a very insightful module and great book. I have read this book previously as it was given to me as a gift a number of years ago. Empowerment and giving his crew ownership is key. Just like Jocko Willis says about extreme ownership. Even though Abrashoff gave ownership to his crew, he would still take ownership of their mistakes and pitfalls.

  • This module was jammed back with great leadership traits, skills, and ways to become better. Captain Abrashoff is the epitome of a selfless leader, and many things can be learned by his leadership philosophy. He stated several things in the podcast that resonated with me. First, he stated that if your people are fearful to talk, it is a problem with you and not them. As leaders we must not scare our subordinates into work or management. They need to feel comfortable coming to us with ideas, problems, and solutions. If we truly practice an open-door policy and treat them fairly and respectfully, we will grow as a unit. He also stated that there is a difference between discipling someone and coaching them through a mistake to help them grow. I like this idea because we follow a progressive discipline model when the need arises. However, if I can coach and help a deputy work through a mistake rather than just putting them on paper, I build rapport with them and can watch them grow by learning from the incident. We cannot be so quick to just put somebody on paper and not help them change

    • Derick Eidahl

      I agree with you and him wholeheartedly about subordinates being too afraid to talk to their leaders. I speak to each one of mine every single day, and it's more accessible with only seven versus 300-something. I don't know if they enjoy it as much as I do, but they need to see me, and I need to see them.

  • Michael Kathman

    I have to admit that it's been quite a while since I read a book front to back. And I was a bit concerned that it may take me more time than I wanted. But, what an easy read and so full of insight. I thought the concept of empowering and enabling those around you and allowing them to use their own creativity to problem solve was found throughout. It seems like such a risk to take. The traditional follow policy and procedure model, although safe, may not always yield the best results. I really liked Capt. Abrashoff's thought process of allowing others to make critical calls as long as there was no risk of injury/ death, waste of tax dollars, or damage to the ship. Although I'm sure there are plenty of Naval policies that apply to those areas, I'm sure that there are plenty that don't.

    • Jon Swenson

      I had a very similar approach to this book. I also found it to be an easy read. I gained such a large amount of respect for Captain Abrashoff's vision for success. I plan to take what I learned back with me.

    • Bernie Woodward

      I couldn't agree more. I found this book hard to put down and found joy in reading it. Captain Abrashoff took quite a few risks in his leadership style and approach and going against the grain of "well that's how we've always done it". He made it his goal to be inclusive awith all members on the ship and welcomed new ideas and innovations that actually changed the culture of other ships in the Navy.

  • Caleb Tesdahl

    While reviewing this module I was surprised to see leaders like Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and Lincoln have so many similarities while living in such different times. I really liked the idea of challenging "the way we always do it" and empowering everyone no matter of rank to effect change. Abrashoff was an excellent communicator and used this to influence others to work hard towards a common goal that was clearly defined. He admits that he alone cannot run a ship nor does he know everything about the ship but someone does. That person may be a lower ranking person but has the knowledge and expertise to make things run smoother and should be allowed the ability to make on site corrections when needed. The idea of empowering everyone to effect positive change should be at the top of everyone's department.

    • Jessica Daley

      I agree with challenging "the way we always do it." People change, culture changes, technology changes and we can use all of those to help make our jobs easier. Empowering the whole agency to effect positive change makes it easier to institute what we are trying to do. Many hands make light work!

  • Randy Fujisaki

    After reading It's Your Ship by Capt. D. Michael Abrashoff and watching the lecture on his leadership while in the navy, I can see many parallels from the examples in the book and within my own organization. Our Chief of Police has encouraged people within the ranks to present ideas and to help develop them into new procedures. At the same time he advises those in leadership positions to encourage those with the ideas, provide vital support when needed, and monitor their progress so that they know when some encouragement is needed and what type of support to provide.

    One of my fellow supervisors made some changes to the way that we hold our briefings and put an emphasis on mental wellness. He started small with some changes to the way that incidents are documented adding some humor and personality. Then he added some activities to the briefings like trivia and simple games (all that relate to improving job performance) and provided a forum where officers can have the freedom to express themselves and get to know the people that they work with. Almost instantly morale went up and so did job performance. These things are almost a mirror of the small changes in how things were done on Capt. Abrashoff's command and the corresponding results.

    • Michael Kathman

      Unhappy people will not produce astounding results and they will most likely be looking to go somewhere else. Although there is a time and place for everything, I think it's imperative that people are able to have fun at work. It should be part of the culture. I really liked the ideas in your post. Mental wellness seems to be such a hard topic to get people to embrace. That barrier needs to be broken. Creating an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and where they can be open, as your fellow supervisor did, is certainly a step in the right direction.

  • Matthew Franco

    I believe on of the greatest mistakes made by many leaders is not involving their subordinates. Captain Abrashoff clearly illustrates and details how doing something as simple as allowing your subordinates to question a process is, and can be, culture changing. Giving your employees the ability take certain risks to challenge the "norm" or the old way of doing things is sometimes a very nerve wracking or challenging task. As leaders, we need to realize that through a certain amount of freedom and communication, we can accomplish more that just a task . We can nurture community and buy in. We gain trust and develop[ leadership in our subordinates by doing this. I was also struck by the emphasis on face to face communication. When thinking about how open face to face communication makes me feel, it really hit home how important it is for the way I do my day to day business.

    • Matthew, I agree that one of the biggest mistakes is not involving subordinates. If we want to achieve total buy-in, we must involve them with the decision making and steps to achieve the mission. I fall guilty to letting my guys take risks and that is an area that I am changing. By empowering my deputies and letting them take on these challenges I am watching them grow more successful and have achieved buy-in from them. Face to face conversations are awesome and its sad to see how they are diminishing due to technology. I think that will continue to grow as a challenge as new hires are more and more bound by technology.

  • Brian J. Blache, Sr.

    Captain Abrashoff's leadership style resonates with me based on my personal experience. I recall when my division was under significant pressure to meet deadlines.

    In the face of that challenge, my then Captain (a US Navy veteran) intentionally focused on understanding and fostering the team member's strengths, much like Captain Abrashoff did. We met with the team and discussed their unique skills and concerns. Based on this feedback, we restructured their caseloads, ensuring everyone worked on the cases where they could contribute most effectively and feel valued for their input.

    I learned a great deal from this method of leadership. Looking back, I realize that following principles similar to those of Captain Abrashoff's approach not only helped us meet our deadlines but also helped us become a stronger, more cohesive, and more resilient team.

  • Gregory Sumner

    In this module, I learned that Abrashoff knew what motivated his crew and this gave him a better understanding of the ins and outs of his crew. Knowing how someone is motivated will allow a leader to able to effectively communicate with his or her subordinates and that subordinate reach their full potential.

    • Caleb Tesdahl

      I agree. Knowing the people on your team, how they operate, what their needs are and where they want to be in the future builds trust. Although this seems like a easy topic we have all had managers who care about their progression far more then anyone else. Cpt Abrashoff used his leadership to help everyone he could make it to their true potential.

      • Caleb, I agree entirely with truly knowing the members of your team and how they function. As leaders, it is imperative to take the time to learn our people on a personal level. This results in trust that yields credibility. When it comes to Captain Abrashoff, it truly demonstrates a selfless leader rather than a selfish one.

  • Emily Warnygora

    This was such a good read, and one I should often refer back to throughout my career. So many of the steps that Abrashoff took to build up the belief that his crew had in themselves paid such dividends for the success of their ship. I don't think that the crew on Benfold was an anomaly and have already seen some positive results in the last few weeks with my employees exceeding expectations when given the opportunity.

    • Matthew Franco

      I too have been encouraged to pursue engaging more employees and providing them opportunities where they can hopefully exceed expectations. I really believe a vast majority of employees want to feel like their work matters and that they contribute to the bigger picture. This module emphasized how so much of my employees work happiness and engagement starts with me.

  • Lindsay VanGuilder

    I truly enjoyed reading this book and feel there were many take-aways that would be insightful for new and seasoned leadership. Captain Abrashoff got to know his crew, sought to understand what motivated them, empowered his subordinates, and gave them credit for their success. I really enjoyed his direction on giving second chances. I feel as though we are often judged by supervisors for our mistakes and Captain Abrashoff frequently gave his crew the chance to redeem themselves when in the wrong. Instead of feeling like they had tarnished their career, they were given the opportunity to right their wrongs and moreover, shine through their mistakes.

    • Brian J. Blache, Sr.

      Absolutely! I couldn't agree more. Captain Abrashoff's leadership style is something every leader, regardless of industry, could learn from. While it's easy to view Abrashoff's tactics as "naval wisdom," it's important to note that they are universal. They speak to the fundamentals of leadership: respect, trust, learning, innovation, and forgiveness.

    • Clayton Feagins

      Excellent point about Abrashoff getting to know his crew personally. The fact that some of the crew never seen the inside of the commander's office. Abrashoff made it his mission to speak to each crew member and learn of their families and situations.

  • Angel Maranto

    This module was inspiring; the way Abrashoff's relationship with Secretary Perry influenced the crew on USS Benfold was monumental. The crew was inspired, knowing the captain had the support of Secretary Perry which empowered them and built trust across the ship. They all shared a commitment to the success of the ship.

  • Captain Abrashoff’s unique leadership skills that he acquired at a young age paved the way for him to run the most successful navy ship in the world. Captain Abrashoff discovered that the old style of leadership from decades ago in the Navy simply did not work in today’s military.

    • Gregory Sumner

      I agree with you. Abrashoff seems to be an amazing leader and he was someone who was willing to challenge the way the Navy did things because he did not believe that just because it was always done that way that it needed to continue to be done that way.

  • Jeffrey Snyder

    One of Abrashoff's most powerful lessons is that leaders should focus on their people first, not their mission. By taking care of his crew and ensuring they had everything they needed to do their jobs well, he achieved incredible results. This approach is particularly relevant today when many organizations struggle with employee engagement and retention. Another important lesson is that leaders should lead by example. Captain Abrashoff was known for being visible and accessible to his crew, which helped him build trust and respect among them. We need to see more leadership with and working with our people.

    • Randy Fujisaki

      I agree with this completely. There is a common adage that an organization's most valuable asset is the people that make up the organization itself. Simply put, this mean people first.

      In our organizations we always maintain the highest standards and only retain the people that can meet those standards. We invest in each person with training that will help them accomplish any goals that are set, and incorporate them into our culture to ensure that we can all work together toward a common goal.

      No matter what is the goal, it always begins and ends with the people that we are working with. A very simple concept, but one that is also often lost along the path toward our goals.

  • Giovanni Tarullo

    Captain Abrashoff wanted to run the best ship in the Navy and used the leadership style he learned from Secretary of Defense William Perry, to accomplish his goals. He gave his crew freedom to find new ways of doing everyday tasks and gave them credit for their their work. Captain Abrashoff gained the respect of his crew by being engaged with them often and learning about their personal goals. Captain Abrashoff began to think like a leader before he was promoted. I realize now is the time to work on my game plan rather than waiting to be promoted.

  • Allan Tabora

    I enjoyed this module and book a lot. From this, I have become an admirer of Captain Abrashoff. The way that he gave his crew a sense of "ownership" of the ship, making the Benfold theirs and not his. Captain Abrashoff encouraged new ideas, and even broke the rules for right reasons. Captain Abrashoff sought out his crew daily, in order to reward them and not chastise them. Often, we work for supervisors whose sole purpose in life is to be miserable. Captain Abrashoff even gave our over 115 medals to his crew in his first year, where the navy only allowed 15 per year.

    Captain Abrashoff had the courage to fight for his crew and what was right.

    • Jeffrey Snyder

      Captain Abrashoff is someone to be admired. He has shown outstanding leadership skills that I wish I could see more of from all of us. Great discussion, Allan.

    • Lindsay VanGuilder

      Allan, I agree. I really enjoyed this book and found many of his leadership skills very admirable. Captain Abrashoff was someone we all would love to lead our agency. In my opinion, all supervisors should be required to read this book.

  • Lawrence Hurst

    This was a very good module on showing different principles on how to treat and encourage the people you are in charge of. I like the tone of giving your people the freedom to act on their own initiative and being able to take some risk without being completely micro managed. In the video by Ken Wright he stated that people will forget what you say, forget what you do, but never forget how you make them feel. I feel that is a statement that we all can learn a lot from.

  • Kyle Webb

    I have found that when you delegate responsibility to your subordinates, they will surprise you with the innovate ideas or solutions they come up with. By allowing them to have responsibility, you increase their buy in to your vision and the effort they give to accomplish that vision will far exceed any expectations.

    • Lawrence Hurst

      Kyle I agree a lot with your response. Sometimes as Supervisors we want to take the safest route possible to achieve a goal but in doing so we can stifle and limit potential growth in our people. Sometimes we have to let loose of the reigns and let our people be more creative. Like you said , they will surprise us!

    • Giovanni Tarullo

      Kyle Webb, this is very true. When you show trust in your subordinates and give them freedom to make their own choices, they will rise to the occasion. As a leader, it is our job encourage growth and give them every opportunity to become great leaders. This starts with giving them responsibility.

    • Emily Warnygora

      I completely agree, Kyle. And knowing how many employees want to be part of something bigger, this creates more buy in to the larger goals of the organization.

  • I found this book to be an interesting read. A lot of the practices of the author are simple and even though this was the Navy, they are easily applied to other career fields. On a smaller scale, some practices discussed in the book are already done by me at my organization.

  • Jason Demoulin

    Capt. Abrashoff's book was a pleasant read. He emphasized the importance that all employees should be valued to accomplish any agency's goals. In order for all to "buy in" to the mission, employees have to feel valued and their mission has purpose. He re-enforces that leadership style affects all around you.

    • Allan Tabora

      Two things that Captain Abrashoff's impressed me and stood out for me. Captain sawed out all his crew, individually to get their thoughts and ideas. Another thing he did was, he offered his crew to be "partners" in the ship opposed to work on the ship as his subordinates. This gave them ownership and they eventually reaped the reward.

  • Eric McElroy

    This book was an excellent way to learn how to lead by example. Captain Abrashoff took the bull by the horns and created an atmosphere that people wanted to be a part of. The atmosphere aboard the ship was a model for success and initiated determination in the sailors. I didn't agree with everything from the lecture, but the key points were well interpreted.

  • Jesse Tallant

    It’s Your Ship was a good training module; the book is excellent. Captain D. Abrashoff was a superb leader whom we all can learn from. He respected all of his subordinates and listened and took advice from his senior leaders. He knew he didn’t have all the answers and encouraged others to develop good ideas. The leadership trait I try to use the most is the one that leads to Abrashoff having much success, Leading by example and from the front lines.

  • Amy Pope

    The beginning video by Ken Wright talking about what people will and won't forget drives home that people want to be treated fairly and with respect. Captain Abrashoff exemplified this several times in the recounting of his tenure throughout the book, his crew paid him back tenfold due to the amount of respect that he brought them from the very beginning. The level of engagement from that crew is a level that every leader should strive for with their teams.

    • Kyle Webb

      I agree with you that if people are treated fairly and with respect by their leader, the amount of effort they give and the results achieved will be absolutely phenomenal.

  • Travis Dunsford

    I found this lesson slightly difficult to grasp at first. Once I was able to truly understand everything that was being taught I was intrigued. To me this module is more than just teaching your job down and learning the job above. Its more than just not being a micromanager. Its also about being a role model and setting an example for future leaders. If they see us working hard to make our boss’s job easier, then they are more likely to follow suite. This style of leadership would boost morale and instill trust within the agency. Abrashoff is definitely a leader to learn from and look up to.

    • Eric McElroy

      Travis, I was the same way. I didn't agree with everything in the lecture, but I did understand him. This module was a motivator and gave great points on building a team.

    • Angel Maranto

      Travis, I agree. The book makes it all the more interesting. It's great motivation! It shows that we are making our boss's job easier while also making their job easier. Its a win-win with communication and team work.

  • Jennifer Callaway

    Abrashoff has many great qualities of a leader which reflected heavily on his success with Benfold. He was able to build the trust and respect of those operating the ship by giving an immense amount of trust and respect in return. What better way to allow your “ship” to feel useful than to put the responsibility and ownership of its productivity in the hands of those who were capable of performing the job? Abrashoff’s ability to recognize great work and also continuously follow up with and communicate with his team is fascinating and is part of the reason he is looked to by other business leaders of America until today.

  • Megan Russell

    It’s Your Ship was an excellent read. In reading this book, I learned a considerable amount of knowledge that I can apply in my everyday duties. Captain Abrashoff showed me how important it is to for a leader to teach his job and responsibilities to his subordinates. Captain Abrashoff gave several examples of how demanding respect because of a position you hold can be so detrimental. I learned several new ways to transform my leadership skills.

  • Bill McGuire

    My dad was in the Navy for 23 years. I'm certain he would have appreciated a captain like Abrashoff. He often complained about his leadership while in the Navy. One of the things he did pass on to me from the Navy was training those under you. When I got promoted to corporal, the first thing he told me was to "Learn the man's job above you, and teach it to the guy below you. Then make sure that guy does the same. You're job will never be easier."

  • Josh Cathcart

    Since I had already seen this lecture in ICLD and I had already read the book, watching this lecture a second time only reaffirmed that Captain Abrashoff was the type of leader we should all strive to be. Captain Abrashoff received buy-in from all because he engaged them on a more personal level and allowed them to have input on the decisions. He showed that they were all in this together. I especially like the fact that when a visitor would visit the ship, the sailors would greet the visitors by saying “welcome to the best damn ship in the Navy.” We as law enforcement leaders should all have this type of enthusiasm about our organizations, if we don’t how could convince others to follow or come to work for our organization?

    • Jennifer Callaway

      The amount of care and ownership Abrashoff was able to instill in his team is great! They way he was able to aid in team building is quite apparent in the ship’s welcome message to visitors. Not only were they doing their jobs; they were having fun doing it. Any job can get monotonous. It is in our human nature to want to enjoy what we do. We just need to focus on the how.

    • Jesse Tallant

      I agree that all leaders should strive to make personal connections with those assigned to them. Learn your subordinate’s strengths and weaknesses and put them in positions to be successful, learn, and develop. Let your people know who you are to create trust and chemistry.

  • Jeffrey Griffin

    This book is outstanding, offering numerous valuable ideas that can be effectively applied in the workplace. One idea that resonated with me is the importance of flexibility and trust in employees, enabling them to make decisions independently and feel a genuine sense of ownership in the company they work for. In essence, it's all about building a strong team.

  • Reading the book and listening to the lecture, stressed the importance to me of the give-and-take relationships with subordinates, delegating more tasks to empower them, and encouraging them to make decisions and take chances. I have always been taught when it is successful give them praise and credit, and if it fails, take the blame for it. This was a great module and I will use this more at work. I do wish there was more from Lt General Hal Moore.

    • Jeffrey Griffin

      I completely agree that this location served as an outstanding hub for consolidating all the modules in one place. It effectively brought together the various modules to form a whole.

    • Mitch Allen

      Michael, I will agree with you. The importance of empowering your subordinates gives them a stake in the company. This will make the agency successful as well as the subordinates being able to show their true worth to the higher-ups. All in all, this is a great leadership skill that I have seen as not being used enough in the law enforcement environment.

  • John Lynd

    What a great mindset of a leader in Captain Abrashoff. Instilling leadership qualities into all members of his crew by delegating with a purpose, making people have solutions for problems, and having positive reinforcement as his primary leadership trait made him obviously successful in leading. He was also successful in developing future leaders within his crew for generations to come.

  • Chiquita A. Broussard

    I enjoyed this lesson. It gave me many opportunities for reflection on my own leadership skills and how I can improve. I think of Captain Abrashoff as a forward thinker. In other words, he made sure the complaints were accompanied by solutions. This is what President Lincoln asked of the leaders he appointed as well. There will always be problems and improvements to be made, but it all remains stagnant if there are no action oriented suggestions to improve the quality of these situations.

    • John Lynd

      This was a good lesson. I also agree that Captain Abrashoff is a forward thinker. Implementing the mentality throughout all members of your team to have solutions to problems that arise is a true leadership mentality. Not only for Aborshoff, but for him to instill those leadership traits into all of the members of his crew no matter their titles.

  • Daniel Rogers

    I like this comparison and also liked seeing the commonalities of of two different leaders in two very different leadership roles. Most of this seems like common sense, but many leaders fail so badly at just practicing some of basic principles of leadership. Many of them have been to multiple leadership courses and still cant get out of their own way. What I see in the policing profession is that mainly two types of people that become leaders, those that care so deeply about the job and the department that they rise based on effort and those that care so deeply social status such as title and rank and power. I think it goes without saying that the leader type I mentioned first gets things done for the good of the order and is respected and the later is often the root cause of many leadership issues that often arise and even plague police agencies.

  • Lewis Blanchard

    Lewis Blanchard
    National Command & Staff College
    Session # 17, Myrtle Beach, SC
    Learning Area 1, Module 9
    Discussion Board: It’s Your Ship

    Most leaders share the same common traits. Often, they lead from the front because they know the men and women need to see you, hear you, and observe your actions. The get out of the office and get to know their people, build alliances, encourage others, give credit, accept responsibility, repeatedly share the vision, set goals, achieve results, practice honesty and integrity. These are leaders whom you can show loyalty.

    Those who demand respect and loyalty often are not deserving. Leaders need and want people around them they can trust; therefore, loyalty is needed. Loyalty is earned if the leaders’ actions are legal, ethical, and moral…if not, they don’t deserve loyalty. It was suggested in the training if you could not be loyal, you should leave. I disagree with this philosophy because at times you care being loyal to your oath, community, mission, and vision statements, etc. but are unable to remain loyal to the unethical leader who is not moral and may be committing illegal acts. You should take action, but not necessarily the action suggested in this video.

    • Daniel Rogers

      Lewis, I agree that loyalty has to be a subjective trait. Continuously supporting an agenda from a toxic leader is the root cause of many of the morale issues and flawed operational functions of many police agencies. Being loyal to someone who is causing detrimental harm to the department is a tough pill to swallow. So for me loyalty is viewed more fundamentally, be loyal to the citizens you serve, the department and the people who you work with. Doing so will help mitigate the influence of toxic leaders who are harming the agency and underserving of loyalty.

  • Robert Fennell

    I enjoyed Lt. General Moore's comment of "there's always one more thing you can do". I am sure we have all been in situations where we feel like all options have been exhausted or we are at a disadvantage, but having this "never give up" mindset is crucial to a leader's success and the success of their team.

    • Lewis Blanchard

      Robert, you are spot on. The "we must never give up" mindset is crucial to ourselves, our communities, and the entire USA. There really is always one more thing we can do and often that idea may come from others with whom we seek counsel or guidance.

    • Josh Cathcart

      I also enjoyed the video with Lt. General Hal Moore. I especially liked when Lt. General Moore pointed out that “life is not a bed of roses, you are going to be hit with adversity, you have to believe that you will prevail.” This is definitely the case in law enforcement, just when something is going great, we are hit with something not so great. Through perseverance and faith, we keep moving forward.

    • Bill McGuire

      I had a firearms instructor that sounded like Lt General Moore. He would talk about a mental toolbox and the importance of always having two or three or four of the same tools (or training techniques). You might have your favorite, but if it's not working, you'll always have another.

  • Randy Stallworth

    This week’s lesson may be one of the hardest for Law Enforcement to cope with. Listening to others and showing them the respect they deserve no matter the rank seems to be a tall order. In the book Its Your Ship, he even stated how hard it was for him to put forth the effort to make sure and give someone your complete and undivided attention. Completing this task is definitely on the top of my list of priorities as a leader.
    Not only listening, but accepting input from your team or those under you is a must. In a leadership position putting the goals of the team before our own personal goals has to be first and foremost on your agenda. Your department spent a lot of time effort and money on making sure these new officers are capable of doing the job, so give them a shot. Also not giving up on someone if they make a mistake and taking the time to develop that individual shows everyone else you are willing to go the extra mile for your team. This will be appreciated by all who see it.

  • James Mackey

    One aspect of It's Your Ship that is a great, easily reproducible idea is when Captain Abrashoff sends each new officer assigned to the Benfold a swag bag of ship-related items. I think this would be a great way to welcome new deputies to the ranks, especially in the days of recruiting and retention issues. While most of the uniform items are already provided by the department, adding a few more branded items would be a well-received addition to the onboarding process and uphold that they made a sound choice by joining the ranks.

  • It's Your Ship was a pleasure to read. One of Captain Abrashoff's best strengths was the ability to recognize a problem and implement a solution. I hate to use the term common sense, because many of his solutions were unconventional to Navy culture, but his perspective made it look like common sense. Captain Abrashoff somehow managed to complete the Naval Academy, work through the ranks, serve under traditional naval leadership, and then resisted being contaminated by the negative influences. I wish he had remained in the Navy to continue to directly influence the culture change. Within my department, there are a lot of procedures or accepted practices that we do because that how we have always done it. In the last few years, I have heard a lot more "why do we do this" from new officer. I think I would benefit the most as a leader if I listened to the "why's" and address anything that might be possibly done better or not at all. I understand that sometimes there is a good reason for why we do things a certain way, but I need to exam a problem closely when I cannot explain those reasons.

  • Jason Wade

    One of the best lessons I learned from this was the reminder of micromanagement and trusting your staff to do their job. A leader does not have to be a part of everything or have their say know how things have to be. In several points in my career I have felt the need to make sure to be a part of everything or make sure to double check all the work of my staff. I always thought that being involved was the sign of a good leader, but it is a fine line to be involved and lead, and micromanage and not trust your staff. Abrashoff showed an excellent example of how he led the right way and not taking advantage of his crew.

    • Randy Stallworth

      Jason we share the same thoughts on micromanagement, no one likes it. I too thought when the supervisor was always in on the project it meant they had good intentions. Later on I found out this was seldom the case. We invest so much time and effort in training our new officers and we seldom give them the opportunity to even show initiative. When they do have an idea we are often so busy with ourselves we don’t truly listen. Treating them fairly and showing them that basically they matter is a huge step in the right direction

    • Travis Dunsford

      I struggle with the part of not trying to do everything yourself. Over the last couple of years, I have had to consciously stop myself and remember that the guys under me are capable of doing the task at hand. As a police officer we are taught to not trust half of what you see and most of what you hear. Separating that from your team can be difficult sometimes.

    • Amy Pope

      The idea of trusting your subordinates with a job, or delegation, was something that got my attention in a previous lesson. As leaders, we all fall into the trap of simply doing it ourselves or micromanaging others while they perform. Abrashoff shows us that it is possible to turn over tasks to team members and still be successful, perhaps even more so than before.

  • Mitch Nelson

    I most enjoyed learning how both Abrashoff and Lincoln employed fun in the workplace. I have had leaders who embrace fun at the workplace and those who discourage it. I felt much happier and productive in a fun environment, as I feel most others do.

  • Daniel Hudson

    This module hits some points I respect and will use as a leader. The first is getting to know your team, what they are into, and their goals. Building a relationship builds trust.

    Ask others how they would complete a task and implement it. New eyes might bring about an improvement in the way task are completed. It will empower the one who came up with the idea and strengthen their sense of purpose.

    Don’t give up on people who make mistakes; we’ve all made them. Instead, use them as a teaching point and build the individual, as it will strengthen the team.

    One thing we see all too often is moving problem people around. This is prevalent in sports; fire the coach and start over when the team fails. It doesn’t fix the problem; they just become someone else’s problem. Figure out what the issue is and try to fix it. Use all the resources available to rehab the problem employee before kicking them to the curb. Good teams take time to build. Learning your coworkers, building trust, and earning respect take time.

    • Mitch Nelson

      Great points Daniel. I especially agreed with the problem mover solution. For years in the NFL you would see a coach fired for having a terrible W/L record, only to see the same guy hired at another job simply because he had "experience." And you see the same professional sports organizations fail year after year. Someone in the front office needs to take a look in the mirror, into their eyes, and into their soul as motivational speaker Zig mentioned.

  • Patrick Brandle

    I feel this is a great block and gives us all hope to be better. I was already a big Lt. General Hal Moore fan "We were Soldiers" because he would lead from the front and was not afraid to get dirty. I then got to know more about Captain Abrashoff and I really was enlightened by his leadership techniques. I appreciate his honesty and humility he shares with his subordinates. He leads by example, gives people time to become successful, allows second chances, trusts his people, encouraging initiative, and nurturing risk takers and responsiblity seekers, These ideals will help get your people engaged and on board with the team effort.

    • Nicholas Wenzel

      I agree Captain Abrashoff was one of the most influential leaders of modern times for the military. He viewed the problems that his sailors had and challenged past practices to make things better for them. He became successful due to what he did for his sailors. He showed he was approachable and open to suggestions on how things could be done. He looked at past practices and rules that did not make sense to make things better for those that worked for him. An example was when they were supposed to go into port and he challenged why they could not go in earlier to give his sailors some extra time off of the ship. He knew this would improve morale but at the same time allowed equipment to be repaired on the ship.

  • Jarrett Holcombe

    The key takeaways from this module for me were Cpt. Abrashoff’s leadership traits of leading by walking around, learning how to anticipate the decisions your bosses will make, and his personal interactions with all levels of his ships crew. By building the personal relationships with each member of our teams we foster an environment and culture of caring. Paired with our ability to anticipate how our leaders will react, allows us as leaders the freedom and trust to operate at our level without micromanagement from above. In turn, we as leaders must develop trust with those below us so that we do not micromanage them.

    • Patrick Brandle

      I agree one of the big takeaways was thinking like your bosses and anticipating needs or decisions. Micromanagement is definitely not the way to go but it happens all the time. I believe trust is an essential part of leadership as well.

    • Daniel Hudson

      Solid points, Jarrett. People do not like to be micromanaged and feel as if you don't trust them. However, building personal relationships builds trust and relationships with your people, solidifying the team.

  • Chad Parker

    I've seen a few post on failure. I agree, it's not fun to fail, especially in from of your employees, but its important for them to see it. And you own it. What I mean by that is they can see you are human too. You can fail, just like them. But what you do with that failure is what sets you apart. show your people even in failure, success can be found.

    • Robert Fennell

      Chad, your post made me think of a quote from the last module in which Chief Tobia said, "some of the biggest successes have come after spectacular failure". A good leader doesn't pass the buck, they own the mistakes of their team and take action to correct it or ensure it doesn't happen again.

  • What stood out was Captain Abrashoff's willingness to put his troops first. He knew he was only as good as his troops were. His devotion to making the best crew was also to be with the team. Not just an armchair quarterback. Today’s disloyal supervisors do not use many traits he used to develop subordinates. It doesn’t take much time at all to identify the different leaders. Even within my department, just walking through the halls, it’s very easy to see the clicks. The hardest part is motivating troops within the disloyal groups and not being labeled the outcast.

    • Jason Wade

      Cory,

      I am dealing with the exact problem you are describing in your post. I have several clicks in the department and several members of my department I would not say are disloyal but they are definitely not on the same page as everyone else. This causes a lack of focus and individuals who are not wanting to make efforts for success but only to keep equilibrium and no change..

    • I agree I know a lot of supervisors that hinder their officer's productivity and smother any enthusiasm. They do this to reduce the change for mistakes and to not make waves. What they don't seem to realize is they (the supervisors) are not only evaluated on their shift not making mistakes. They are judged on their shift's productivity, retention, morale, and the word of mouth in the department. Leaders can always tighten down on their troops, but their troops can also screw up. Respect is a reciprocal relationship.

    • James Mackey

      I think Captain Abrashaoff had the same effect on his peers. He was the least senior of all his fellow captains and not only did he ruffle the feathers of the "old timers" he sometimes went against the organizational historical hierarchy. One effective way of breaking that mold was freely sharing aspects of the day-to-day job in areas where he and his crew could remove obstacles. In essence, making the job easier, such as sharing the database for frequently boarded merchant ships in the Persian Gulf or troubleshooting generator repairs that impacted the entire fleet of similar class ships. If the other captains in his battle group didn't like latching on to reproducible success I imagine it was a hard go for them during evaluations when rated against the others.

  • Elliot Grace

    I enjoyed the portion of the lecture presented by Lt. General Hal Moore. General Moore used a baseball analogy of three strikes and you’re out but in life you’re not out because there is always something more that you can try or do. His point of never giving up whether it’s a life-or-death scenario or obstacle within an organization that needs to be corrected, continue to put in the effort to achieve the goal you’re seeking. There is always something else that can be done. As Leaders of an organization, we have to be an example of someone who lives as unconquered.

    • Jason Wade

      In the movie We Were Soldiers, I always found the statement that was attributed to Hal Moore as powerful and inspiring, there is always something more that you can do. As leaders that should always be the case that even in minor cases or concerns of the needs of the department we can look to make change, or look for ways to better serve our community rather than ourselves.

  • Patrick Hall

    This reading of the "It's Your Ship" by CPT. Abrashoff is an excellent book and one all leaders should have in their collection. I loved the way CPT Abrashoff lead and inspired all those around him to not only accomplishing the mission or task at hand, but inspired them to seek and improve as a person. He expressed to us to get in touch with those that we lead by invest an interest and time in their goals and lives. By doing so our people knows that you have their best interest at hand and this will can only strengthen your organization or team.

  • Cedric Gray

    This module focuses on the path to goal achievement by having a vision, establishing personal relationships with trust and respect, leading by example, and rewarding behavior. There is strong emphasis on empowering people and giving them space to innovate without micromanagement. Not the least significant aspect was Captain Abrashoff's engagement intelligence.

    • Jarrett Holcombe

      I agree completely. Our ability as leaders to empower our subordinates and refrain from micromanaging them is crucial.

  • Joseph Spadoni

    Joseph Spadoni, Jr.
    Session #15

    Learned about how important giving credit to those who render the hardest work or for their accomplishments, in my opinion, is extremely important. I’ve seen it all too many times watching others take credit for someone else’s hard work. I find that hurts relationships amongst coworkers and hurts the productivity of that employee. That type of behavior will destroy a good employee.

  • Jimmie Stack

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to General Hal, in his war tactics that he incorporated to his everyday life. I agree with him that in order to be an effective leader you need to be where the action is. What is meant by that is that it is for someone to bark orders but the true measure of a leader is a person who is not afraid to get their hands dirty. I do this daily with my team, although I am their supervisor if I see my staff needing assistance I am not afraid to step in and assist them. I believe this goes along with Abrashoff's and Lincoln's common beliefs.

    • Joseph Spadoni

      Jimmie, I also enjoyed listening to Lt. General Hal Moore. I'm a firm believer in what Lt. General Moore stated bout leading on the battlefield and when he spoke on your gut feeling. Always said to follow what your gut tells you. I can't say how many times that gut feeling I had in the field lead me to a better outcome in situations.

      • Patrick Hall

        I too agree with both of you, a great leader will lead by example. Part of this is leading from the front, on the front lines with those that you are leading, it's shows to all that you are willing to roll up your sleeves and assist in getting the job done. not just give out orders but also sweat and bleed next to everyone.

  • Kevin Carnley

    This book is an excellent example of leadership allowing those within the organization to grow and gain a sense of ownership. It is so important to keep that line of communication open. A leader must keep a finger on the organization's pulse, which helps to correct and motivate their people. The book shows allowing a person to express ideas and creativity leads to better work environments and money-saving ideas. In this module, I learned the importance of listening to be more of an active listener and give others my undivided attention.

    • Jeremy Pitchford

      Jeremy Pitchford Session #015

      I really like this book. It's encouraging that Captain Abrashoff was able to question norms and convince superiors to allow violations of some of those norms. Like when they were allowed to skip out on four months of training and they were basically able to vacation from Mexico to Canada. It was a nice reward for their hard work.

  • Lance Richards

    I really enjoyed this module. The comparison of the two leaders and seeing how far leadership has come. The thing that stood out to me the most was when Lt. General Hal Moore said, "What am I doing that I should not be doing" and "What am I not doing that I should be doing." It's a good saying to help keep yourself on the right course.

    • Cedric Gray

      This was to me the most significant part of this module. It was clear Lieutenant General Moore's conviction and commitment to excellence remained strong well into his retirement. "What am I doing that I should not be doing?" and "What am I not doing that I should be doing?" reflect two characteristics good leaders possess: self-awareness and constant assessment for improvement.

  • Paul Smith

    In this lesson, I observed some of the same traits that I use as a leader every day. I have taken several leadership classes, both in law enforcement and military, which shows that the subordinates that we supervise want to be heard and rewarded. As in this lesson, this shows many different principals which will assist leaders so that their subordinates can be part of something special and great.

  • Walter Banks

    I enjoyed this section, the way it showed the common traits in leaders from two different leaders. It was apparent in Capt. Abrashoff's statements that he understood the scope of his influence could be expanded by delegating authority and responsibility to his subordinates.

    • Paul Smith

      This lesson showed that the leadership skills and abilities have not changed that much over time. However, as leaders we do need to consider change and be able to train and develop our subordinates to be the future leaders.

  • Jason Doucet

    Very good lecture to go along with a very good book. I really admired how Capt. Abrashoff accomplished his goals while building his crew and their capabilities.

  • Lawrence Dearing

    I am also one who likes to get away from the desk and getting with my people, learning about them, their interests and families. I have found that building this rapport with them opens a door for them to come to me with concerns, ideas and issues instead of letting frustrations build up and then having to deal with disciplinary issues or resignations. I also liked the part where these leaders delegated responsibility to their subordinates and empowered them to act on their own. I believe in allowing my people to succeed – and fail on their own, as long as the failure does not cause harm, injury, or a violation of law or policy. I believe we learn best from our own mistakes.

    • Kevin Carnley

      I agree that getting out and being with your people. I also agree with empowering them to take action on their own. This leads to new ideas while building their confidence. I agree we learn from our mistakes I know I have.

  • Joe Don Cunningham

    In this module it shows that to be a leader you don’t always have to tell everyone how to do the job. Captain Abrshoff showed you can give an assignment and then have your people complete it. If you give your people the authority to take on task or solve problems, it will empower them to take ownership in the organization. This will build loyalty between you and your people. For if you have disloyalty, it could cause the organization to collapse.

  • William Haskins

    One of the definitions of leadership that we are using is being able to influence others to accomplish institutional goals. In this lecture, we learned that both Abrashoff and Lincoln focused on learning the "ins and outs of human nature". This struck me as being another way of describing emotional intelligence. By recognizing what is important to our followers, and honestly appealing to those needs, we can influence them to perform in the way that we need to accomplish our goals. It is becoming more and more clear to me that emotional intelligence is a critical leadership trait. Too bad it's taken me this long to figure this out!

  • It’s Your Ship: Thinking about the book and lecture, I have had the opportunity to work for leaders who had set goals for me to achieve capabilities our organization did not have. I did not realize at the time how much confidence my leaders had in me, but the result created loyalty and trust between us like Abrashoff laid out. I felt like my work was important and was inspired to do my very best. My leaders also gave me “advanced respect” when I was singled out for my accomplishments.

    I was delegated goals and the responsibility was left to me of creating advanced capabilities for our organization. I was not micromanaged nor given any input on how to reach the goal as the leaders were not technicians so to say. This engagement created emotional commitments with my leaders because of the trust we had. My experiences have led me to forge similar relationships with my subordinates, engagement on a personal level, setting goals, and encouragement.

  • Devon Dabney

    This was a great lecture. Captain Abrashoff brought up some key points to becoming a supervisor. ABeing able to solve problems without the supervisor input

  • Andrew Weber

    I loved the idea that Captain Abrashoff gave about empowering others to make decisions instead of having them wait for you to make the decisions. That way, you don't always have to be there to make the decisions, you empower them to do it on their own and learn from their mistakes.

    • William Haskins

      This dovetails with something else we have learned. I am trying to change the way I view delegation, not as a way to get work off my own plate, but as a way to "plant leadership seeds". Empowering others is critical for a law enforcement leader.

    • Devon Dabney

      I agree, also Give the credit for a job well done to the people that actually did the work. Rewarding those for their hard work motivates officers to want to do more.

  • Todd Walden

    This is my favorite module so far. I think Abrashoff not only went against the grain of what was the norm in leadership at the time, he completely changed it.

    • Todd, speaking from experience, I was just separating from the Navy (USS Boxer LHD-4) when Abrashoff took command of the USS Benfold. I experienced the bureaucracy and years of tradition he described. As an example, in a year and half period, I met the captain on the ship once, when I received and good conduct medal during a ceremony. There was no engagement in any area of leadership above me. Like Abrashoff laid out in his book in relation to retention, that led me to discharge when my initial goal was to make a career out of the Navy.

  • Michael McLain

    I enjoyed this module greatly. The book IT'S YOUR SHIP was one of the best books I have ever read. I think it should be required reading for anyone who is in a leadership role. My only disappointment was there was not another page to turn. We all should thrive to be the leader Abrashoff was and be prepared to "fall on the sword" for our guys.

    • Jason Doucet

      I totally agree and I am glad this book was recommended to me a few years ago and have read it several times. Really gives insight of a true leader and ways to meet your goals while everyone else meets theirs.

  • Mitchell Lofton

    Captain Abrashoff began as the traditional naval Captain but realized the approach was outdated and ineffective. He realized he had to work on himself first and learn to be a leader. He built on the leadership styles of President Lincoln and began to live it as an example to his crew. Captain Abrashoff made personal connections with his crew, and as he became invested in them, they became invested in the ship and loyal to its Captain. The result was the complete turnaround in the culture aboard the USS Benfold. Captain Abrashoff did not invest in the crew simply for the benefit of the ship. When he learned several of the crew members were interested in using their GI Bill for college, Captain Abrashoff brought a test official aboard the ship so they could take the SATs. Investing in our team members is vital for their success as we as the organization's success. Leading from the front and by example is what we must do with our agencies to change the culture.

    • Michael McLain

      Mitchell, I agree with you. We as leader have to understand that things get outdated and we cant be afraid to break the mold.

  • George Schmerer

    In this lecture, Chief Gary Benthin creates a comparison of the leadership styles between President Lincoln and Captain Michael Abrashoff. The comparison was extraordinary, and although the leadership concepts are not necessarily new, the way Abrashoff learned to apply them resonated with me. He was honest that he had to learn how to lead, as it did not come naturally to him. One of the biggest takeaways for me was how he communicated to officers and sailors under his command. Abrashoff made it a point to get to know the Benfold crew on a personal level. Abrashoff was self-aware, he knew what his goals were but also knew that he could not achieve them without the crew. There were several examples in the book on his excellent communication skills, but I found his listening skills to be his biggest strength. He listened to his crew and implemented the ideas that were sound. Some of the examples mentioned in his book, It’s Your Ship have turned into best practices for the Navy.

  • Tommy “Chris” Weeks

    While the principles of leadership demonstrated by Captain Abrashoff are not new or groundbreaking, they do solidify my belief in his style of leadership. However, one critical point in the lecture by Chief Benthin resonated with me and that was Captain Abrashoff’s feeling on loyalty and its importance. The quote, “Disloyal employees are one of the biggest problems a leader can have, particularly if they’re allowed to rise to a level of authority.” is something my agency is currently experiencing. Unlike President Lincoln, I do not believe you can turn a disloyal person around, especially if they’re determined to undermine at every turn. Like cancer, they have to be removed from the organization before they can poison anyone else.

    • George Schmerer

      I agree with your comment about the sense of loyalty and its importance to the overall team. There is nothing more demoralizing than having an employee or a supervisor being disloyal can cause problems within the organization. Loyalty is one of those intangible qualities that can make or break an organization. I agree there is a point if and when the employee doesn’t care to be a loyal member of the team that is better for them to move on.

    • Joe Don Cunningham

      I agree, when you have disloyal employees that try to undermine the organization, they need to be removed.

    • Lawrence Dearing

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comment, Chris. I, too, am dealing with such an employee and for YEARS my agency has moved this problem around and have given this employee chance after chance. All this has done is to spread the poison and cancer to every division where this person has been. At some point, there must be a realization that this person is undevelopable and unredeemable and to stop investing valuable time and energy into them. Also, people see what you are doing when you move problems around and that sends a message to the rest of your people when you don't deal directly with the problem.

  • Jeremy Harrison

    Learning Area #1 / Module #9 Discussion Post and Response
    Captain Jeremy Harrison
    Oklahoma City Police Department
    National Command & Staff College, Session 16, 2021

    The most encouraging part of Abrashoff’s book was the fact he was willing to challenge age old traditions which no longer made sense (2012). There have been far too many times where the response to a question is “that’s the way we have always done it.” My response to that answer generally is, “well yeah, but why.” There is always a time and season for certain decisions but that does not mean circumstances will not change in the future forcing a different decision or approach.

    So much is changing in law enforcement due to technology. We now have GPS, body-cameras, the internet in vehicles, all things which did not exist when I started on the street just 18 short years ago. There are many traditions and decisions which were made prior to the implementation of these new technologies. We now have to consider if new ideas or technologies should influence past traditions. I believe we should always challenge and evaluate prior techniques to ensure we are doing what is best for the public and the organization. I loved that Abrashoff would just say “why not” at times and try something new because it made sense (2012). It seemed to work out for him in the Navy. We as leaders need to be willing to say “why not” at times and try something outside conventional thinking.

    References:

    Abrashoff, M. (2012). It’s your ship: Management techniques from the best damn ship in the navy (2nd ed.). Grand Central Publishing.

  • Kent Ray

    One of the things in the lecture and book that resonated with me was the level of communication Abrashoff used to get his message across. The book describes how he would use the ships’ PA system to communicate things to the crew. So much so that he was dubbed “Mega Mike”. With this in mind, I reflected on how I could better communicate about any number of topics to commission and non-commissioned personnel. Although I try to be a good communicator, there is much room for improvement. The communication of the Chief’s (Commander’s) Intent about a given topic, more frequent and timely communication about good performances (individual and group), an explanation of why we are changing something, etc… Although Abrashoff made frequent use of the ship’s PA to address the crew, he and Lincoln preferred face to face communication. He would meet and interview every current crew member and every newly assigned crew member. He would regularly visit every work group on the ship and make himself approachable and accessible. We must fight the urge to use text, e-mail, and other impersonal means of communication every opportunity that we can so we can have in person interactions as much as possible. With the increased face time, communication, trust, and rapport will all improve.

  • Dan Sharp

    A couple of things I thought really stood out and are the fact that Capt. Abrashoff the time and effort to get to know each of his sailors. Not only knowing their names but also learning about their families. I really like the five minute interview idea. This is something i have been wanting to implement with my shift. Not only to find out what their career goals are but to learn about them as a person. I also liked the walking among his troops. AS leaders we are often tasks with numerous administrative duties and sometimes end up putting those first and forgetting to just get out and have conversations with our people. I believe this is a must and something I need to work to improve on.

    • Jeremy Harrison

      Dan,

      I believe leaders getting to know their people is incredibly important. I can remember as a young officer feeling highly encouraged when the captain or major knew my name and something I had been involved with. I believe we get in our own way sometimes on this front as we want to ensure the chain of command remains intact but at times, the desire for the chain of command to remain intact limits a leader’s ability to get to know officers two or three chains down. Additionally, there have been leaders I have worked around who do not want subordinates communicating with the leader two chains up. There are all kinds of reasons for this type of view but that leader two chains up must be intentional about getting to know that officer down the chain. I must do better at this myself. There are many I know very well but some I have not taken the time to get to know. It is vitally important they know how much I value them and there is no better way to do that than to get to know who they really are as people.

  • Matt Lindsey

    There were several things that stood out to me regarding Captain Abrashoff's leadership style. Specifically, working to empower his subordinates to make decisions, getting to know them, and the importance of being an enthusiastic leader. Beyond a limited set of critical circumstances, Captain Abrashoff expected the crew to make decisions and take ownership in the decisions they made. Captain Abrashoff also took time to get to know each sailor. From the introduction interviews he had with them, to eating with them, and allowing new sailors to call home. I bet this amazed those sailors and went a long way in building trust. Finally, his comments regarding the importance of being an enthusiastic leader. I could not agree with that more. There is enough negativity that infiltrates our workforce, without leaders adding to it. Everyone has bad days, but it is imperative that leaders work to stay positive and set the tone.

    • Dan Sharp

      Matt,

      I couldn't agree more on the point of being an enthusiastic leader. The story in the interview about the captain who hated coming to work everyday really hit home. Recently, I was not having a great day and had not slept well. During line-up I was passing on some information to the shift. The information was not negative in any way or adding any duties to the troops. My delivery was lethargic and just plain awful. At the end of my talk the room was totally quiet and the guys got up and left as if they were all mad or in a bad mood. I immediately saw this was 100% my fault and was due to my delivery.

    • Tommy “Chris” Weeks

      His belief in giving his people the opportunity to make their own decision gave them the pride to do a good job because they knew they were apart of the process.

    • Matt said it well. The amount of negativity in our workforce is overwhelming. We need to promote troops and ideas with more enthusiasm. Also, getting to know your officers or troops is critical. How can you better understand the needs of subordinates and what drives them is to get to know them first.

  • Rodney Kirchharr

    The fact of leadership that I believe Abrashoff is showing is being a part of the group, not just the person telling everyone what to do. When your people feel that there is a group effort and that they have input they are a lot more willing to do the things that are required and the things that are just wanted of them. Abrashoff really shows that treating people fairly and with respect can get so much more for you than bossing people around. There are many different leadership styles, but having respect for your people and guiding them to work with you, not for you, should be a part of all of them, in my opinion.

    • Kent Ray

      I agree that there needs to be more emphasis put on working with and not for a supervisor. It is too easy for employees and supervisors alike to lose sight of the fact that we are all working together as a team in support of our agency’s mission, goals, and values. Leaders have to communicate and reinforce this team concept. Leaders must be careful to never do anything that promotes dysfunction or erodes the team concept.

  • Jeff Spruill

    The undergirding key to Abrahoff's philosophies of leadership, I think, is humility. The kind of empathy, development, willingness to listen to your people and build them up seem like common sense (and they are) but they come from a deep understanding that your people are every bit as important as the leader. That sounds simple, but I wonder how many leaders that don't exhibit these qualities fail because they allow themselves to think "this is the way I came up; why should these guys get off easy?" I suspect a fair number of people have been poorly led by leaders who climbed to the top from under people who led them poorly and now they think it's their turn. As I'm typing this, I realize it sounds kind of conspiratorial and ungraceful to that kind of leader, so I'll say here that I'm not actually suggest they are doing this on purpose. Instead, I think that when leaders like this hear suggestions that they can lead differently than the people who led them, they might be quick to blame those suggestions on the PC culture or Millennial invasion or any number of other golden-age myths that allow us to ignore suggestions that things can be different. Instead, if we recognize that one of our roles as leaders is to make things better for the people who come after us, it may be easier to let go of the ineffective old practices and hierarchies that hinder our organizations, as Abrashoff did with the Navy's. If we are able to recognize the importance of our people, affirm their humanity, and believe in their talents, Abrashoff's style does in fact become common sense.

  • Adam Kronstedt

    I think I appreciated "It's Your Ship" the most out of all of the required readings. Captain Abrashoff presents such simplistic methods for leadership. I say simplistic because it really is common sense. It is simple, but definitely not easy. We are so engrained in doing things a certain way in our organizations, because that is how we've always done it. In order to effect positive change, we need to be able to see that the old way of doing things, might actually need a tune up, an overhaul, or to be scrapped altogether. Abrashoff outlines a simple path to reach a difficult change.

    • Chiquita A. Broussard

      Adam, I agree with your comments. This was one of my favorite reading assignments as well. I think Captain Abrashoff's career path prior to Benfold and the people around whom he was fortunate enough to be surrounded prepared him to be the great leader he turned out to be. This includes the leadership with whom he disagreed because there were also lessons for Captain Abrashoff in those encounters.

  • Jared Yancy

    This module touched on many good points—the importance of loyalty and how it can ruin or help an organization. Lincoln promoted the importance of commitment, but he also believed he could help the partially disloyal become loyal. That speaks volumes to a leader. A leader must have the knowledge and trust to convert a non-loyal person to be loyal. He made a good point about turning your failures into opportunities. Failures are great opportunities to learn from, whether it is positive or negative. Every great leader has faced failures but what makes them great leaders is learning from them.

    • Jeff Spruill

      Lincoln's optimism that he can turn a disloyal person into a loyal one is striking, especially for a president who was in constant danger. I think in our own organizations, gaining loyalty from followers will almost always be tied to having a clear vision for the organization--one that takes into account our people's own personal goals and values. Being able to build a unit where the members respect and trust one another and have a clear view of where they are going builds loyalty because our coworkers will feel a sense of loyalty to one another much more than they will toward the organization. It's the inverse of the management proverb that employees don't leave jobs; they leave bosses. Employees aren't necessarily loyal to their jobs; they're loyal to their coworkers and to leaders who they know are looking out for them.

  • Steven Mahan

    This module is what I believe to be the meat and potatoes of leadership. It provided a good conversation on what two great leaders use for success. The central theme in both leaders was that a leader should have good, loyal people around them that they trust to make decisions and come up with ideas. That leader should foster that culture of innovation and praise the subordinate when they excel.

  • Kimberley Baugh

    I agree with so many things addressed in this module. You have to get to know your subordinates. Just like you have to know your motivations in life, you have to learn theirs to know the type of people working under you. Praise them when they deserve it. Encourage them to make decisions when the time comes. The lead by example is something I continually work for. I don’t expect my subordinates to do anything I am not willing to do myself.

  • I enjoyed this module and enjoyed reading Captain Abroshoff's book. As genius as his approach to leadership is, it's also fairly simple. He makes himself approachable to his people. He gives them ownership and listens to the input. I learned something from every chapter. I appreciated his humor and his perspective. I like what he said about looking at failures and finding ways he contributed to them. He spreads out the credit for success but takes credit for failure personally. Who wouldn't want to work for a boss like that?

  • Dustin Burlison

    One topic that was mentioned in the lecture stood out to me because it is so easy and effective but underutilized. In my experience, influencing by conversation is always most effective. Sometimes leaders will be too formal when talking to others they wish to persuade, or influence. I believe this places the other person on guard, making them skeptical of your points. Through casual conversations you can make your points in a more subtle way, without anyone feeling uncomfortable. For this to be effective though, you will need established relationships well beforehand.

    • Matt Lindsey

      I absolutely agree with you. I think building relationships is key. Establishing relationships, getting to know those who work with you and allowing them to get to know you allows you to have more relaxed conversations. These conversations don't always have to be work related. However, when they are, I agree with you that you may have more success conveying your point.

  • Stephanie Hollinghead

    This was the first time I have read “It’s Your Ship”. I have found this book to be motivating and encouraging. Even though I feel like I follow some of his principles, I see much room for improvement. There are several things I can do better. His concept of putting others' interests and achievements before your own is key to successful leadership. Knowing the backgrounds of those working under your command and allowing them to do their job helps build trust. This is a great book for anyone at any level in any organization to read. I wish I had read this book earlier on in my career. No matter where you are in your leadership journey, there are always improvements to be made that will make you a better person, leader, and better mentor to those who follow.

  • Deana Hinton

    The "It's Your Ship" discussion reiterates that good leadership is timeless. President Lincoln and Captain Abrashoff used principles of inclusion by seeking advise, mentoring and advocating by recognizing good work in those around him, giving opportunities and accepting failure as his own, acceptance by recognizing failure as a learning process and grace by giving time and second chances to succeed. Finally, they demonstrated the principle of courage when it was time to slowly ease those who didn't succeed out of their position. Although decades apart, the methods of leadership were timeless because they are built on moral fortitude. Today, the same principles can be taken into the organization as a way to build strong teams that can withstand challenges of change inherent to all groups and come out stronger. Once such principle I particularly like is recognizing you need to give time and second chances. In times of failure I find it important to remember we need progress and not perfection. That takes time and second chances.

  • Jerrod Sheffield

    This module focused on Captain Abrashoff and his leadership capabilities and how he was able to use his experience and build on that to develop one of the greatest Navy ships in its time. The comparison between him and Lincoln were remarkably the same. The lecture outlined several things that they had in common. This proves that this way of leading works even having years of age in between them and under different dynamics. The same basic principles are in play and lead to success.

  • Tyler Thomas

    I have read a lot of comments talking about the concept of "laying out the requirements and allowing staff to design the solution." I recently had an employee with a great idea. We looked at policy together to create the "framework" or the requirements and then allowed them to carry on with their idea. While it was a small idea and nothing that affected the department operationally, it was a huge success for the line level staff to see they can bring ideas to their Sgt. and then me with confidence. I read this book prior to starting this class and I have found myself reflecting on what I read through area 1. It's amazing what happens when the line level feels they have power to make their own decisions or feel comfortable enough to go to a supervisor with a new idea.

    • Deana Hinton

      I agree, empowerment is a powerful tool and so elegant in its simplicity. Mentorship is the avenue to empowerment and can start with a simple idea that grows into a new direction that can have lasting impacts on the organization. In turn, to give full credit to that person solidifies the loyalty to the leader and the organization.

    • Dustin Burlison

      I agree with you Tyler. I have always tried to take the same approach. After I present my subordinates with the problem, and my intended end goal, I review their plan with a few question: Is their plan within policy? Is it morally, ethically, and legally sound? Obviously, these are low standards, but if the answer id yes, I tell them to move forward. It is so important to allow the up-and-comers to drive the car from time to time, even if they scratch the paint a little.

    • Jared Yancy

      Well said! As time evolves with anything, all things change. Change is the root of success; as leaders, it's our job to promote change and to accept ideas when it comes to change. Getting ideas from lower line supervisors and following through with them allows growth, and it shows that the organization cares.

    • Adam Kronstedt

      It is an amazing revelation for an agency that historically, only lead from the top down, to allow leadership to occur up and down the chain of command. The ownership that is created just by allowing our people to present their ideas and run with them, brings great pride in the workplace. We should always take advantage of those who have great ideas for agency improvement. By giving them ownership and letting them carry those innovations forward, our people will be more apt to know and understand the overall direction and mission of our agencies, because they will feel a stronger sense of importance and belonging.

  • Curtis Summerlin

    I read It’s your Ship by Capt. Abrashoff a couple years ago and was very impressed with his ability to get everyone involved to turn around the ship. I like using the face to face, management by walking around and do so as often as possible. Once I was assigned to my last patrol squad, I immediately started showing up on calls unannounced, just to observe and lend a hand if needed. I made sure to let the guys know that they were still in charge of their investigation. Some were put some off at first but soon, everyone realized I wasn’t there to criticize. It gave me a minute after the call was handled to get to know them as well as let them know something about me. It wasn’t long that I started receiving calls from them if I hadn’t made an appearance in a couple days.

    • Tyler Thomas

      I have never been a big reader until my promotion. This book impressed me and I will be reading again after this class to try and apply the concepts as I'm reading.

    • Steven Mahan

      Curtis, I do the same now that I am a sergeant on a shift. I learned it not from the book but from working for you. I try to meet with the deputies I work with on every shift when possible.

  • Several aspects of this module I loved. The first video that discussed having employees engaged is totally correct. People forget what you say, what you do, but they don't forget how you make them feel. If an employee believes that are appreciated and are engaged in the organization, they will have higher performance. The leadership comparisons between Captain Michael Adrashoff and President Lincoln were very informative. Both believed in leading from the front and being an active leader within the organization. The Podcast was also great. In it, Captain Abrashoff gave great examples of his leadership style and his discussion about public safety was spot on.

    • Kimberley Baugh

      I agree with you Johnathan. I did enjoy the videos. It was informative about the comparisons between Captain Abrashoff and President Lincoln. I was able to see on areas I would like to change.

  • Andrew Ashton

    Lt. General Hal Morris said it best, "a battlefield leader has got to lead from the battlefield". No truer words have been spoken even to this day. Leadership is so much more than just handing out tasks. Respect is gained from involving yourself with the team and showing them they matter rather than just telling them they do. Abrashoff was able to endear his crew members by involving them in decisions that were relevant for the success of the entire team. This in turn forged a strong and loyal bond which is important in any agency. People who share the common goal or vision will more often come out on top in the end.

    • Andrew, I could not agree with you more. Lt. General Hal Moore exemplified a "Battlefield leader has got to lead from the battlefield." I live in Auburn, AL and I had the pleasure to meet Lt. General Hal Moore a few times before he pasted. He left a lasting impression on me. He was such a great leader in both the military and also the community where he lived.

  • Trent Johnson

    The comparison between Abrashoff and Lincoln was interesting in this module. Lincoln, holding the highest office possible had the right ideas of leadership, but perhaps being as high as he was, was also limited in his ability to act on those philosophies. Abrashoff however was in the ideal position to put into practice those philosophies and did so to his and the Navy's full advantage.

  • Glenn Hartenstein

    I just finished reading "It's your ship" by Michael Abrshoff. I really learned a lot from this book. I am a true believer in leading by example and listening to your people. One of the things that stuck with me is Abrshoff's stating that there is always a better way to do things. Must question everything and get people's input as it encourages buy in and makes carrying out a task fun. This is a great way to improve morale and to give people incentive to do a good job. It's also has a benefit of making you as a leader successful.

  • Joey Brown

    During the module, I found how critical employee engagement is in retaining valuable subordinates and evaluating work gratification. It is so important that leaders begin utilizing engagement intelligence (EQ2) to better understand the employees they are supervising. This will assist the leader in discovering their employee’s motivators to improve morale, attitude, and work performance. I was impressed how both leaders in the presentation mentioned leading by example and out front. Law enforcement leaders must incorporate this notion into their daily operation in being successful. Both leaders promoted loyalty that lead to employees performing at a higher standard. Both had different approaches to leadership but shared the same vision on being a good listener and building trust. The key is to make efforts directly towards your employees by spending a small amount of time with them and recognizing their contributions to the organization. If the leader will integrate the concepts mentioned, it can establish a culture of engagement to retain and attract the best people.

    • Trent Johnson

      I agree, I don't think engaging your employees can be stressed enough. There has been a shift in leadership from a management style to more of a leadership style with a focus on emotional intelligence, but the engagement intelligence discussed by Ken Wright brings about a whole new dynamic in leadership.

  • John Simonson

    I enjoyed the YouTube video about engagement, I found it interesting that studies found that around 50% of employees were not engaged. That speaks volumes about the leaders to me. The simple steps he offered in the video to improve engagement were easy to implement, but the only one I shied away from was the idea of handwritten notes. I don't know if anyone else would be able to read my handwriting.

    • Joey Brown

      John, I totally agree with you. However from experience, one of the best ways to show your appreciation is to write a hand written thank you. The hand written message makes the person receiving the note feel appreciated.

    • Andrew Ashton

      I agree that engaging with your coworkers and employees is important. Each person can be engaged differently though as each has different needs. Some maybe a hand written note will suffice whereas others just want you to look them in the eye and tell them they are appreciated. Feeling appreciated only strengthens their loyalty to you and the command.

  • Jeff Byrne

    I have really enjoyed this module and took a lot of great pointers away from it. Reading how Captain Abrashoff made it routine to constantly involve sailors under his command in doing jobs normally reserved for the higher ranks really resonated with me. He set a very clear vision, got to know each sailor on a personal level, found out what motivates them, what their strengths and weaknesses were, and then challenged and empowered them to take calculated risks and make decisions. Top notch leadership.

  • Donald Vigil

    I found Captain Abrashoff's book "It's Your Ship" to be a very interesting read which I finished in just over a day. I liked how he was able to close the gap between mission accomplishment and troop welfare. This book has taught me that both can go hand in hand with greater results. This module has given me some great insight to which I'm excited to incorporate into my style of leadership.

  • Shawn Winchester

    I love how Capt Abrashoff allowed his people to make decisions on they way to do their job. He told them if it works you get the credit, but if it fails then I take the blame which gave his people a much respect for him as a leader and a person.

    • Donald Vigil

      I agree Shawn. By taking ownership of the failures, Captain Abrashoff gave his crew the freedom to make decisions and take calculated risks without fear of major repercussions. This has been an issue at my department at times when wanting to make changes or trying new ideas but didn't out of fear of the backlash from upper management.

  • David Mascaro

    Retired Lieutenant General Hal Moore made several statements that impacted me as to his vision as a true leader in some of the most adverse situations. He stated that he was aware of what his presence on the battlefield meant to his men, he was aware of the tone of his voice on the radio and of the look in his eyes. He truly lead by example and what a great inspiration he was to his men. Captain Abrashoff also took an approach in his leadership style that I admired. He allowed his men and women to think outside the box and takes risks in order to effectively solve a problem. This is an inspiring tactic, especially on a ship in the middle of the ocean. He instilled a sense of trust and responsibility in his men that truly set the team work atmosphere which ultimately lead to their success.

    • John Simonson

      I agree with the impact of Lt. Gen. Hal Moore's video. He has a charism about him that is hard to ignore.

    • Glenn Hartenstein

      I agree David, This was definitely one of my favorite videos in the course. General Hal Moore's statements and vision of a true leader was truly inspirational.

  • Jose Alvarenga

    It seems as though Cpt. Abrashoff was not only a good leader but also a good follower. I'm sure he absorbed many of his techniques from others and learned through some of his failures. In his book "It's Your Ship," he gives credit to many leaders who mentored him. He also gives credit to many of his subordinates. He allowed them to make decisions which gave him a different perspective on doing things. We can learn much from many we need to listen and allow ourselves to learn from everyone.

    • Jerrod Sheffield

      Jose,
      I agree that Captain Abrashoff was also a good follower. He displayed this characteristic in his book. He capitalized on the concept of learning what make people do what they do and learned how to adapt to their needs and then used it to improve what he did as a leader once in that position. Him getting feedback from his followers proved beneficial and important when transforming into one of the best Navy ships in the fleet.

  • Chris Fontenot

    After this lesson Capt. Abrashoef has me wishing I could have worked under his command. That’s what exceptional leaders do, draw willing people who desire inspiration, knowledge, success and prosperity. I share many of his beliefs. In the podcast the Captain talked about dealing with a problem officer that was fired from another assignment and given to him. His unorthodox way of successfully dealing with the situation will resonate with me forever. He had goals and seems everyone knew them clearly. Their success makes that evident.

  • There are many individuals who lead from the rear / from behind their desk. How can you earn or expect respect if you're not "side by side with your troops on the battlefield." How can you suggest or command something or someone; if you have no clue or experience? How can you give an answer if you haven't solved the problem?
    Effective leaders earn their respect by leading from the front. Enduring what their troops are enduring and experiencing. Its' easier to respect someone who has been through the war; versus someone who has not. I make it point to work side by side with my staff. I make sure I go the extra mile to make their jobs easier. I always reassure them; they work with me and not for me. I live by the saying "Every good supervisor; has a great staff."

    • Jose Alvarenga

      Great point. I try to do the same with my team. I am rarely in my office and try my best to be seen out on calls with them. I have built a relationship where they know I'm not there to micro-manage but support them any way I can.

  • Andrew Peyton

    I too, like others, thoroughly enjoyed the message from Lt. General Hal Moore. Lt. General Moore's concepts of leadership follow that of Captain Abrashoff and are something I have molded my leadership style off of. I have found this is certainly the most receptive and positive approach, especially when trying to change the culture and morale.

  • Kevin Balser

    I thought the message given by Lt. General Hal Moore was excellent. He said that he tried to always trust his instincts and go with what your gut is telling you; he always asked himself, is what I am doing is something that I should not be doing and is what I am doing maybe something I should not be doing. Finally, he said that when he was met with adversity, he believed that he would always prevail at the end. Very powerful message by the general who has certainly seen a lot in his time serving our country in undoubtedly a leadership role.

    • Andrew Peyton

      One of the biggest points I took from Lt. Moore's message was the concept of "A battlefield leader has to lead from the battlefield." I have found throughout my career in Law Enforcement this is one of the biggest complaints of low morale, leaders not leading from the battlefield.

      • Chris Fontenot

        Andrew, right. Being on the battlefield makes it truly a "team" effort. Sometimes, I think leaders get caught up in management and forget they are part of the team. The door opens for plenty of missed opportunities the leader could have taken to create positive culture.

      • David Mascaro

        I agree. I continue to tell my personnel that I will never give them an order or task that I would not do myself. I was fortunate to work for men in the military and in law enforcement that were true examples of this and what it can accomplish within the brotherhood of a team / unit.

      • Shawn Winchester

        I totally agree with you on that point on leading from the battlefield. I have saw supervisors move into a higher position and force people to do things they refused to do when they were in that same position.

  • Darryl Richardson

    I have now read the book, It’s Your Ship twice and agree that it is a very good book. After watching the module I realized that even though I have a long way to go in becoming a better leader, I currently use some of Captain Abrashoff’s leadership style. I make it a point to come from behind my desk and help my personnel complete tasks. While doing this, it allows me the chance to talk to everybody individually. I get to know my personnel on a personal level and even get to discuss what their goals are for their careers. I even get to know what their dreams are outside of their law enforcement careers.

    • I read the book and plan on reading it again. I appreciate his common sense approach to leadership. Looking out for and taking care of people. Being open to input and allowing his subordinates to take ownership.

  • Burt Hazeltine

    The module was a very good comparison of the leadership styles of two great leaders in American history. Although their roles and responsibilities were extremely different they took on some of the same leadership practices. This is a good example that these leadership principles do not work in only one arena. It shows that they can be used in almost any leadership role.

    Where many leaders fall short is investing the time in their people to really know them. To know their goals and dreams. To know them on a level that shows that the leader is genuinely interested in where they want to be in the future. A leader that takes that time is rare.

    • Jeff Byrne

      Agreed, Burt. Something I have found truly makes a difference with personnel under your watch is getting to know them on a personal level. It costs nothing and goes a long way to building trust and relationships.

  • Ronald Springer

    The module for this section was a significant divergence from the one in the leadership program. It really opened my eyes when they started by comparing Captain Abrashoff and President Lincoln. I remember reading It’s Your Ship and Lincoln on Leadership during the original leadership program. So it makes sense that here on the next level they are compared and contrasted. However the part where they are the most successful is where President Lincoln and Captain Abrashoff invested in their people. They both left the office to get to know their followers and meet with them to get their input (Benthin, 2017). The addition of the interview of Captain Abrashoff on the Badge Cast also gave further insight by him citing personal stories where he learned and developed the leadership skills he utilized and passed on in his career. It was a pleasure to reread It’s Your Ship and be able to compare it to It’s Our Ship. The camaraderie that he was able to develop with his crew is what I aim for with my shift. I try to follow his advice to make the job as fun as possible.

    Abrashoff, D. M. (2002). It’s your ship. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc.
    Benthin, G. (2017). It’s your ship. Module 9, Week 1. National Command and Staff College.

  • Jay Callaghan

    A lot of great posts about Captain Abrashoff. All well deserved. However, I was particularly intrigued by Lt. General Hal Moore's comments about readiness and perceiving problems before they become a problem. "what am I doing, that I should not be doing and what am I not doing, that I should be doing". A leaders foresight and willingness to hold themselves accountable as well as those that they serve can/will keep officers safe and free from scrutiny.

    Captain Abrashoff was a big believer in inclusiveness. He routinely sought out insight from his sailors to improve performance and morale. I think sometimes we as leaders, need to come up with all the answers and solutions to problems because our titles demand it. If the situation is not exigent, it can only be beneficial for the leader to seek out input.

    • Jason Demoulin

      Jay, I totally agree. Capt. Abrashoff and Gen. Moore must be "cut from the same cloth". Capt. Abrashoff's goal of inclusiveness should not be taken for granted and is a good lesson for all in management positions.

  • Brent Olson

    One of the things I took from Captain Abrashoff is the importance of making work fun. This can be hard to do in a career field that is bound by legal constraints, policy constraints, and public constraints. However with the new generation of officers coming into the ranks, I believe it is imperative we find a way to make work enjoyable and fun! If we don't, we ultimately don't retain those officers. Captain Abrashoff empowered and encouraged his subordinates to find ways to make the job fun without compromising safety, productivity, or necessary rules. He recognized the tension this would relieve and also the great lengths it would go to create a specific type of culture within an organization. In today's policing era, the ability to relieve tension and focus more on emotional wellness is a necessity.

    • Darryl Richardson

      Brent, I too agree that it is important to make work fun, without compromising safety. It is very important to be able to relieve the tension. If personnel can get the tasks completed properly then it allows them a little time to have fun and enjoy being at work. If they cannot enjoy being at work then their mood brings the entire shifts mood down.

    • I concur, making the work place fun helps reduce stress and animosity. If individuals are getting the job done and completing their tasks; a little down time is good for moral. This helps with bonding, trust, and motivation. We have to remember the environment / atmosphere plays a huge role in success and support.

  • Bradley Treuil

    I am fortunate to work with a mostly seasoned group of guys who have the willingness to make decisions and accept responsibility. The few young guys are still learning this. When I do get the calls from my young guys, ( they are becoming fewer and fewer) I first listen to the question and then ask them what they think is the correct course of action is. Most times they know the correct answer and simply needed to hear it. I always assure them that if they make the correct decision I will always make sure that they get the credit for it and that if they make the wrong decision I will take the blame for it. This is a giant weight removed from them.

    • Megan Russell

      Bradley, I have worked for supervisors within my department that demand respect instead of earn it. I have also observed these same supervisors make subordinates feel stupid for asking questions. I applaud you for your grace and leadership that will make a difference.

  • Buck Wilkins

    After Reading and Listening to Captain Abrashoff in the podcast it was great to hear that I kind of lead the way he did. By those under you coming to you with a problem and then asking them what they think a solution would be first then giving them your input. I myself have worked for people that all they knew how to do was micro manage people. They were the most hated supervisors in the department. You have to get to know your people and this is what Abrashoff did, he got to know the people working for him and started to build a relationship of trust from the very beginning. It goes without saying if you let people know that they are doing a good job then they will do a great job.

    • Jay Callaghan

      Agreed Buck. I am coming up on my 3rd month at CSUPD; and have taken a lot of time getting to know my staff and in particular my officers. Building relationships and trust is imperative for long term success when we're talking about leading people.

  • I very much like his principle that “The key to being a successful skipper is to see the ship through the eyes of the crew. Only then can you find out what’s really wrong and, in so doing, help the sailors empowers themselves to fix it.”

    I think this can be applied to just about any organization. It's incredibly hard to fix something from the top down if you can see the issues that everyone else is facing on a day to day basis. It can be big things or even little things that drive down productivity. If your not able to see their challenges, their motivations, their aspirations than you cant even begin to tackle issues and make changes. Well, you can, but you probably wont like the results.

  • Kenneth Davis

    The concept played out in the instant module centers on the importance of several key principles that great leaders share (Benthin, 2021). A central and overarching theme throughout these traits is communication. Out of the fifteen traits featured, absolutely none of them can be accomplished without sound communication skills. Accordingly, in addition to repeatedly sharing the vision, building strong coalitions and building two-way trust- sound communication must also be considered. Additionally, while the traits of great leaders are shared, so too are the traits of great communicators. Great leaders are well-schooled in sound and credible communication. likewise, communication is the foundation of building great leaders. It is likely the most important fundamental skill in a leader's toolbox. Great communicators become great developers...of ideas...and of people.

    Ken Davis

    • Ronald Springer

      Ken,
      That is so true. Communication is the key in almost everything and he pushed that throughout the book just like a real estate agent pushes location. Captain Abrashoff gives examples that put the traits in perspective and show how to use them.

  • Stan Felts

    "It's Your Ship" is an absolutely wonderful read. There are many great bits of leadership advice, and more than anything, it seems Abrashoff wasn't what we would call a natural leader, but a great learner. Most of the things he implemented were learned from others, and sometimes others of lower rank. The second great thing is that his getting to know his men/women taught them to trust him, which opened up more opportunity for success. I would recommend everyone in leadership read this.

  • Derek Champagne

    Usually, I'm not particularly eager to read books, but it was hard to put it down when I started this book. While reading the book, I got motivated, and I would often go to work and quote some of the things discussed in the book. I also began recommending the book to other supervisors who I felt could use the training on leadership. The Captain created a positive culture, and by doing this, his ship became the best dam ship in the Navy.

  • Chris Crawford

    This has been one of my favorite module thus far. Both men were incredible and "real." I seriously admire the fact that they put their ego in check and made a serious honest effort to know their team and opened themselves up so their team could really know them. So many leaders rarely get out into the field with their people and lead by example.

    • Derek Champagne

      I couldn't agree more, Chris. I had a conversation this week with a newly promoted Captain and stressed to them the importance of not leading from behind a desk and getting out of the office and get to know his people. I told the Captain that his people need to see him out in the field, in uniform, and to know that he has their back. It almost seems that once you get to a certain rank, you forget about the same things you needed as a young officer.

  • Scott Crawford

    Exactly, more than one I`ve said to myself, " If I do this once, it will become mine forever." I have since changed my mindset to believe that the more I know, learn and do, the more of an asset we can become to our agencies. I think it`s all in how we look at things.

    • Bradley Treuil

      This is something I try to make sure I do every day. I also try to show this to the guys I supervise by being the first to take the calls no one wants. I try to lead from the front / by example so that they guys see, hey the sergeant is doing it, I can too. I try to express to my younger deputies the importance of education and how it makes you that much more of an asset to the office.

  • Scott Crawford

    I read It`s Your Ship at the recommendation of my captain. He attended the first class of the Command College. To me, this is the best book I had ever read on Leadership. No nonsense, not filled with crazy ideas, etc. It was written by a man that knows how to lead. The most important aspect to me is to get out from behind your desk and know your people. We as leaders need to build trust with our subordinates. Getting to know them, as well as what`s going on in their personal lives will build a loyal employee.

    • I totally agree. The ability to truly lead people will require knowledge of and empowerment of each person on the team. You can get results to some degree by dictating from a desk, but you will be much better off leading by walking around. I also very much like the idea that he was focuses on the big picture, and let the people who were supposed to do the work, do it. No micromanaging.

  • Zach Roberts

    I have read and watched several books and podcasts from Capt. Abrashoff. He has always caught my interest on leadership. Capt. Abrashoff does a great job of explaining the importance of leadership and what it takes to be a leader. He explains in this module how teamwork, loyalty, honesty and teamwork make you an effective leader. It is important to understand that it is your SHIP as a leader. Those you lead see you for what you bring to the table and how you treat others.

  • Kaiana Knight

    This is one of my favorite modules thus far. It explained the importance of respect, teamwork, leadership, and loyalty. I think that Abrashoff and Lincoln had a lot in common. Abrashoff was really a great leader, he was bold and proud. Abrashoff also believed in face to face communication and in today's world I think that's what we are missing. Majority of the time we communicate by email or over the phone and often we get misinterpreted. I think we should communicate more face to face. I really like how Abrashoff shared his vision with his crew, and how he worked hard to gain the trust and respect of his crew members. He wanted people to make a difference. I believe that strong leaders can make a difference and change the world.

  • Brian Smith

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading “It’s Your Ship.” Abrashoff leads how I desire and, at times, used to lead. I created a fun environment at work with weekly BBQ’s and was told to stop. I fought for my officer’s when denied worker’s comp claims and was told to stop. I did that again and was told I was in jeopardy of being insubordinate. I’m realizing the leader I had always wanted to be and who I was allowed to be were in contrast to one another. In retrospect, I wish I had stood up more boldly to my boss – yet realize I did at times and was threatened with discipline. But, I have conformed to what I am told and realize those around me probably stopped having as much fun as I recognize I no longer have. I miss comradery, I miss fun, and I miss freedom to be who I like to be as a leader. I am striving to get back to who I am as a person, which has been stifled by command. I am striving to have fun again. I am striving not to dislike my job as I know that will be seen by others. It’s great to read about a leader that succeeded despite bucking the norm!

  • Steve Mahoney

    I believe that Abrashoff's ideas and principles should be instituted immediately at our police department. I think that like the Navy, we are stuck in antiquated procedures, policies, and sometimes traditions that have a negative effect on the people that we supervise. I really enjoyed in his book how he talked about reaching out to every new sailor that is boarding the ship. I like how he has someone meet them at airport, bring to ship and starts to show around. Having the sailor call home to let family know that they arrives and are ok. Making them feel like they are part of the team or family right off the bat. I think back to my first day here at the pd. I was told to report at the front desk at a certain time. I had no idea where to park, who I would be talking to first, what i needed to bring on first day. I think my department would do a whole lot better if we personally reached out to new hires. Tell them where to park, meet them in parking lot to introduce mentoring officer, give them a tour of building to introduce them around as the first thing, give them a GBPD t-shirt, and start talking to them like they came to the best department in the country. That pride in department starts early. I believe as a leader this would help my department succeed as from the beginning the officers know they are part of the team.

    • Brian Smith

      I like your desire to bring inclusion to our new hires. At my previous agency, I coordinated hiring processes and was told time and again by recruits and applicants, they applied and wanted to be hired as a result of how well I interacted, communicated, and treated our applicants. They felt included from the time they met me. Sadly, I struggled to get the same feeling on day one as I suggested to my boss we purchase department polo shirts and challenge coins for each new hire to receive on day one. I was scoffed for the suggestion and provided the excuse/reason from my sergeant, "Why would we buy them a shirt? What if they don't work out here?" I tried to explain inclusivity and making someone feel important from the moment they start working. I was overruled.

  • Robert Vinson

    Cpt. Abrashoff provided a lot of great lessons, but what stood out to me the most was his ability to innovate. He could both think outside of the box, and encourage his crew members to do the same. While working within a very specific set of parameters set by the Navy, he was still able to bend and flex rules and sometimes find loop holes that allowed him to operate in an unprecedented manner. He was able to work the system to make mundane task fun for his crew and maximize troop welfare while not only maintaining mission effectiveness but improving it.

    • Kenneth Davis

      Robert- I completely agree. I seek out folks that are outside the box thinkers...and those who know they are empowered to be frank with their colleagues and leadership. There have been times, in my circle, that very frank discussions have been held that explored parameters of decisions to be made. Although loyal to the leader and the decisions ultimately reached, we were all given the latitude to contribute. This spoke volumes about our boss...and it made us more effective as a team.

      Best and stay safe-

      Kenny

    • Buck Wilkins

      I agree, I have a new Sergeant that works for me and he comes to me with great new ideas and I applaud him for thinking out of the box. He talks with the other patrol guys and gets them on board. This day in time we have to make sure there are no bad apples in our command.

  • Jared Paul

    I have seen some of these actions mentioned during the lecture and in the book played out by one of my previous supervisors. My previous supervisor was a great mentor to me and really showed me that a true leader is invested in their crew. He cared about every single officer, which included their personal life. He would often take the time during the week to sit down and just ask how things were going at work as well as with your family. He would help you establish career goals and then would work with you to achieve those goals. As a supervisor in my agency I use a lot of the techniques and style that my mentor displayed. I think this also speaks volume to the importance of setting the example. We have such a huge opportunity to show our officers our values, mission and goals through our attitude and actions.

    • Kevin Balser

      Jared - I also had a former supervisor that invested in their personnel and knew everything about them professionally and personally but also could remember the small details even about their families. that obviously went a long way with the personnel that were under his command and he was well respected for that.

  • Eric Sathers

    I thought the book "It's your ship" was outstanding and one of the best books on leadership that I read. I found the idea of empowering those you lead to be very interesting. I loved that he encouraged getting to know your people and learning about them, including their motivations. This helps to build trust, which allows you to begin delegation and ultimately share leadership. I also very much like the idea that the leader shares leadership, gives credit to others but takes responsibility when things go wrong. I'm a big believer in the "buck stops with me" approach.

    • Chris Crawford

      Agreed. So many leaders forget that they too were the young officer looking for guidance and a place to belong. The fact that this man put his ego in check and opened himself up to his team is a big inspiration.

  • Sgt. Samantha Koscher

    I really enjoyed Captain Abrashoffs' book "Its Your Ship". I like the leadership approach he took of getting to know his crew and looking for feedback from the crew on how things were being run on the ship. Captain Abrashoff put trust in his crew and gave them parameters to operate within where they could make decisions. It is important that the crew, or staff, know that they are a valued part of the team and their work is valued. This is especially important in nurturing the personal growth of the individual as well as the team. I liked that he would delegate recognition for success to his crew and would accept responsibility for failures. That showed his crew that their leader had their back and genuinely cared for the wellbeing of his crew.

    • Jared Paul

      Sgt. Koscher,

      I agree that it is important that your crew and staff feel they are a valued part of the team. Something I found interesting in this book was the concept of, honor is theirs if they succeed and blame is yours if they fail." I think this is a great mentality to have as a leader.

  • Thomas Martin

    In part two of the lecture it was stated that face to face was one of the best communication tools, especially when praising a subordinate. I believe this will soon be a lost art. We are moving completely away from face to face communication. We will not be able to put the blame solely on Covid-19. I believe this phenomenon surfaced early on with the invention and use of smartphones and other devices. We should attempt to interact with our staff and our supervisors in person, now more than ever, especially when giving praise on a job well done. A pat on the back or a firm handshake with congratulations will always mean more to me, than any paper that will be placed in my employee file.

  • Paul Brignac III

    The thing that stood out to me the most when reading "It's Your Ship", is how the Captain had a private conversation with all 310 members of the crew. He then went on to learn not only their names, but the names of their spouses and children as well! I believe that leaders who invest that much effort in those that they lead, will be rewarded by individuals that "want" to follow them. Captain Abrashoff exhibited emotional intelligence, by coupling that with practicality, he succeeded in leading the "best damn ship in the Navy".

    • Burt Hazeltine

      I completely agree. When I was first hired by the sheriff's office the Sheriff greeted me by name. He already knew who I was the first time we met. I was very impressed by this. To have a leader that is that interested in making you feel valued was an amazing feeling.

  • Marshall Carmouche

    Captain Abrashoff is the example of a leader with determination, vision and focus and made everyone understand the need for these. He is the model, I as a leader, can look up to. Captain Abrashoff clearly had a vision, plan and goal in mind. He knew the problems he faced and he conquered those problems determined and steadfast. As a leader, although not a military leader, I can and should recognize that vision, determination and goal setting is important. Being able to know subordinates talents and put those talents to use for the betterment of everyone is important.

    • Sgt. Samantha Koscher

      I agree Marshall! Captain Abrashoff is an excellent example of an effective leader. He used his position of leadership to influence others to become better and work towards a common goal of making their ship the best in the Navy.

  • Travis Linskens

    One of the essential takeaways from this book is how Captain Abrashoff connected with his crew personally, which allowed for a further understanding of what motivated them and helped build trust.

    Another important takeaway is Captain Abrashoff allowed his crew to make decisions for themselves within reason. When they would fail, he would take responsibility for the failure, but when they would succeed, he was sure to give them all the credit.

    Interacting with our people personally, empowering them in their work and rewarding excellence is an essential aspect of being a great leader.

    • Robert Vinson

      I agree that personal connection made a tremendous difference. Identifying and engaging his sailors' motivations ultimately turned a hostile work environment into "the best damn ship in the Navy."

  • Matthew Menard

    I very much enjoyed Abrashoff's book. He did a fantastic job of describing not only the challenges he faced after taking over command of the Benfold, but also the successes he enjoyed. The ideas presented in the book of giving those you lead more responsibilities in order to make them better is something I see being very useful. If you challenge your people they more often than not step to the plate and prove themselves more capable than you otherwise knew.

  • Ronald Smith

    Being a product of the United States Navy, I was leaving active duty as Mr. Abrashoff was beginning his transformation of the navy. I still fight it's my way or the highway mentality. I marvel at the capabilities of one man to inspire so much change, but in typical navy fashion once you prove your worth you will be abused. Keeping the USS Benfold's crew at the top of their game was impressive, he explained in detail that their success is why they were called upon time and time again. Then he questioned the We always do it this way and his sailors were rewarded with permissions to do things or fuel to expedite transit, just asking goes a long way, getting to do it made him the captain among captains. I would have stayed navy if I had worked for half the captain Mr. Abrashoff.

    • Eric Sathers

      I definitely agree that those who excel, tend to be "abused". When being excellent at something always leads to more work, it's no wonder that some people choose to fly under the radar.

      • Scott Crawford

        Exactly, More than one I`ve said to myself, " If I do this once, it will become mine forever." I have since changed my mindset to believe that the more I know, learn and do, the more of an asset we can become to our agencies. I think it`s all in how we look at things.

  • Major Willie Stewart

    Being in a leadership position for my agency, I believe that leadership set the tone for how things are operating. Its our place to earn the trust of our staff by giving them faith hope and freedom to have a workplace they are proud of. We are only as strong as our staff and should always show them we are proud of them and the work they are doing.

    • Kaiana Knight

      I agree Major Stewart. I think that when you appreciate your workers they tend to go above and beyond on their job and their work ethic improves. Often times leaders forget to show appreciation to their team.

  • Sergeant Michael Prachel

    Like others have said in this discussion board, I enjoyed reading “It’s Your Ship.” One of the best pieces of advice from the book and this module was leading by example. Get out of the office and motivate others by your own actions. Though I am new to supervising others, I have tried to remain active in the field, hoping to influence others. Additionally, giving credit where credit is due is often times overlooked. This may not be an intentional act to show disrespect; it merely just may get lost in the haze of everyday busy work. Take the time to let the person know that their hard work was noticed and they did a great job. These small gestures may go a long way and help motivate and influence others to keep moving forward.

    • Matthew Menard

      I agree with you on taking the time to give credit when it's deserved. I try my best to do this, however with more work being expected of those in leadership positions every day it becomes ever more difficult. I find that if you carve out that time and make sure that you make the praise you give out known to not only the person receiving it but also their peers and other supervisors, it has a good lasting effect.

  • Timothy Sandlin

    During this module the opportunity was taken to compare some the things we learned from "Lincoln on Leadership" by Donald T. Phillips and the book "It's Your Ship" by D. Michael Abrashoff. While both Lincoln and Abrashoff demonstrated some different specific styles of leadership, they shared many common traits. Both encourage initiative, empowered subordinates, managed by walking around, and understood their purpose.

    We also listened to comments from Lt. General Hal Moore. One comment he made I think is imperative to developing all officers and leaders for that matter. He commented about life not being a bed of roses; adversity will come our way; and you must believe that you will prevail in the end. How very true that is and how often we fail to adequately develop people for the adversity.

    Develop your ability to understand people; understand what drives them personally; understand what their fears are; understand their strengths; understand their weaknesses; and truly work to understand basic human nature. These things along with understanding that adversity will come will better prepare someone to become a leader. These things will give strength to then give your power away by empowering people. Developing people is the power to "It's Your Ship".

  • Gregory Hutchins

    One of the more intriguing points taken from the material is engagement is a two-way street. Too often, organizational change instills this characteristic upon the leader, but seldom is it mentioned the subordinates have a responsibility to enhance their engagement. In the context of law enforcement, too often, one experiences the bitch sessions, with a variety of “perfect” solutions to the challenge at hand. The measures taken by the leadership aren’t acceptable, feasible, or realistic in the eyes of the subordinates. Indifference, dissent, or willful non-compliance actions or steps drive the killing of the change process. As stated within the lecture, it comes down to loyalty. As long as the leadership endeavor is legal, moral, and ethical, subordinates must follow. If this process or mentality is unacceptable by the employees, they need to quit or be shown the door. Workers need to get into their bosses' heads to understand better the lens that leaders use to make challenging decisions.

  • It was interesting to see that Capt. Ambrashoff was brought up with the "old way" of leadership and soon realized he was not accomplishing what his objectives were, and he needs to change his way of leadership. By Capt. Ambrashoff changing his way of leadership, and communicating with his people on a face-to-face platform he was able to accomplish his goals. His subordinates knew exactly what he wanted from them through this way of communication.

    • Sergeant Michael Prachel

      I believe the face-to-face communication is huge and it goes a long way. It seems like the majority of our communication today is over email, text messages, or some form of online messages or chat. His platform of reaching out to his crew by communicating in person, face-to-face, sets an example that he cares and is willing to learn about the individual. I have had a great experience with my current management because of their open door policy and their willingness to talk in person whenever they are able. Getting out of the office and leading by example goes hand-in-hand with this. It is sometimes easy to get “trapped” in the office, but if we take the time to get out and work on the front line with other personnel, communication will only get better.

      • Ronald Smith

        I like the face-to-face time with the officers and sergeants, I work in policy so I am not among the living and not always popular. I use my experience to mentor young officers and when I get someone ready to take on a new role as a trainer or any other task that may be unpopular I run into staff members not willing to allow junior members to advance.

        Maybe everyone should read this book to help to empower themselves and others.

  • Sgt. Shawn Wilson

    A member of my team told me recently how he viewed loyalty and devotion. He viewed them as two separate entities. Loyalty he said is someone that will always have your back but is not afraid to come to you and tell you are wrong. He defined devotion as someone who will always tell you yes. No matter if you are wrong or right. This conversation came up when we were talking about command personnel having open door policies in name only not practice. This is my second reading of the book and each time it reminds me of this loyalty principle that my teammate was speaking about. Each member of the team knows that they can speak to me in an open format and say what needs to be said without fear of reprisal. Sometimes these conversations are not always easy to hear, but in doing so the Team has become stronger with a greater sense of ownership and camaraderie. A great book that will go into my normal rotation so as not to lose focus.

    • Timothy Sandlin

      Excellent point on loyalty. In order to truly have a team there must be loyalty. Simon Sinek said that "A team is not a group of people that works together. A team is a group of people that trusts each other." When that trust is present it breaks down certain barriers, brushes off the shoulder certain chips, and keeps in check all the egos. It allows for growth, understanding, learning, correction, and cohesion.

  • I enjoyed going back over Abrashoff's book. I read it years ago for another leadership class and really enjoyed it. I thought back on the "good" leaders that I had over the years and how it always impressed me when they took time out of their day to interact with me and be a normal person. As I grew in rank, I tried to do the same thing with my people. I did learn a valuable lesson: You have to be humble and patient when listening to your subordinates in those moments. As your people become more comfortable with you, they will tell you EXACTLY what they think. Sometimes the truth can sting, but it's the only way to get a truly honest assessment from a different viewpoint and that is priceless.

  • It’s Your Ship was a good read and I enjoyed the module. I already know I need to improve on engagement, and this was a good reminder. I have good intentions for getting out in the field with the guys, but somehow, I always let the office suck me in. The times I have gotten to spend around the guys has made some of them more comfortable around me, which lead them to mentioning ideas they have for the department...good ideas. I also found my opinion of some of the guys was off and they were great employees, just not the type that were beating their own drums.

    The take home for me was: Get out of the office, get to know your people, learn what motivates them, two way trust, share vision and lead by example.

  • I really enjoyed reading It's Your Ship. There were a lot of great examples in the book that I think can be effective for many different lines of work. During this module there were two different pieces of information that I found interesting. The first was when Gary Benthin mentioned to encourage your subordinates to act on their own initiative and take risks. I have currently have a brand new team of officers. They have been great so far but naturally, they don't have confidence yet and are afraid to make mistakes. I have been encouraging them that they know what they are doing and that I trust them. The best way to build confidence is to take those risks in my opinion. The second piece of information that Gary Benthin mentioned is the honor is theirs if they succeed and blame is yours if they fail. I think it is important for the team to know that that they will be rewarded or given credit for the good things that they do, but also know that failure will fall back on me as a leader. If they respect you as a leader, they are going to be very cautious because they don't want to fail. Especially, if they know that I would be the one to blame.

    • Travis Linskens

      I agree, Kari. Identifying employees that have done something great and giving them all the credit goes a long way. In the same token, when you take responsibility for their failures, it encourages them to do better because of the respect they have for your leadership style. In my opinion, it takes a determined leader to be successful at this. It's not always easy falling on the sword, but its the right thing to do.

  • I liken the concept regarding people who don't or won't forget how they were treated to a plane crash scenario. In other words, thousands of planes take off and land safely every month world-wide. When a plane crashed, that is what makes the news and sticks in our minds. So, everyday good deeds, even when recognized, can be overshadowed by one bad encounter.

    As leaders, we need to treat our people well, all of the time. This is difficult because we are human beings and it is hard (at least for me) to overlook some things. But as Captain Abrashoff states throughout this book and his others, we need to find ways to continually praise and recognize our people when they are doing good things. I particularly liked his point to send birthday cards to families of his sailors and where he would tell them how good the sailor was doing for the ship. A great way to build someone up is to praise them in front of their family.

    • I feel like a lot of organizations struggle with routinely rewarding good behavior or deeds that their employees do. Some behavior may be more important to some leaders than it is to others, but that shouldn't necessarily be a case by case thing. Rewarding builds confidence and it creates a positive culture within the work place. That is often challenging to do but consistency will help that. Employees and followers need to know that they are important and the good work that they do doesn't go unnoticed. That will never get old to them and should always be recognized by leadership.

      • Zach Roberts

        Kari,

        I absolutely agree that many organizations struggle with rewarding good hard work. Rewarding not only builds confidence but it also shows the employee how important they are to the organization as well as how much you appreciate their work. I like how you mention how doing this is important and should not go unnoticed.

  • Bou Gazley

    I found it very interesting how two leaders, from completely different eras, has many of the same leadership traits. The concept of consulting people both above and below you when making a decision is something that I think many managers do not do well. Many will think they know everything and just make a decision without gaining the knowledge of how that will impact those that do the work everyday. This is a common complaint about managers. Encouraging subordinates to action on their own initiative and give them credit if it goes well and the manager take the blame if it doesn't. This is great in concept, but I am not aware of any supervisor that I have worked for that has done this. It seems like they can give some credit for good, but they usually also give you credit for the things that go wrong. Working for a leader that will shelter its staff and allow them to take initiative and risks would be very interesting to me.

    • Your point about getting credit when something goes wrong is familiar to me as well. The concept of leadership wasn't necessarily taught to the older generation of law enforcement. Obviously, that's not an all-encompassing statement but probably quite true in many organizations. Because we are all here and taking this course, hopefully on a voluntary basis, we can be better for the next generation after us. It doesn't really take a lot, just showing interest in a person makes them feel valuable and in turn, they will likely become a more productive and positive employee.

  • Kelly Lee

    Great reads and very a very uplifting, positive module. Enjoyed the whole concept presented by everyone. One big take away was the segment by Ken Wright when he makes the comment that, "People will forget what you say and people will forget what you do but people will never forget how you made them feel." That is very powerful to understand. Before hearing this, I would like to think I was already applying that very principle to my life. I may not get along with everyone either at work or personally but I will always offer my help and assistance to them should they need anything. Several winters ago we had a major winter storm that dumped 16+ inches of snow in the area and created quite a mess. One of my partners who I really didn't get along with or see eye to eye with was struggling shoveling as he had no snowblower. I loaded up my, went to his house and took care of the snow for him. It didn't hurt me one bit, made me feel good for doing it and hopefully he never forgets the help and passes it on should someone else ever need it.

  • The people are the most important asset to any organization. As leaders in the very busy, stressful world of law enforcement, its easy to forget the small things that are so important. Simple acknowledgements on an arrest, or a thanks for handling a delegated task. Giving your people a sense of accomplishment and gratitude will go farther than anything else with them.

    • Kelly Lee

      Certainly agree with you William, everyone likes to be given praise when they have done a good job or complete a task. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for the good work they do. I also think lots of times we are quick to point out the bad or failures but fail to point out the good.

      • Our agency recently awarded an individual from our public that assisted during a water rescue. We held a award ceremony for numerous individuals to include this person. One of our sergeants made contact with this person's wife who advised that he would not come to the award ceremony, because he did not want an award. After the award ceremony this Sgt. drove to this individual's home and provided him with his award. A photograph was taken with the Sgt. and this individual. The smile this individual had on his face for the recognition he was given for his assistance during this water rescue was very nice to see. So yes, everyone likes to be told when they do a good job even if it's an old grouchy bricklayer.

    • Sgt. Shawn Wilson

      I agree. Never forget your people as they make the organization. Showing gratitude to work that is well done goes a long way building upon the ownership of the organization.

  • Samantha Reps

    In the badge cast, Captain Abrashoff made the comment "If staff are afraid to tell you the truth, you have a problem. If they are fearful the problem is with you, not them." We need to take a long look at our leadership styles and the approaches we take. I don't ever want to be the leader that no one wants to come to when they need advice or just need to vent.

  • Andy Opperman

    There were many great points in Module 9. Ken Wright brought up what I thought was the crux of this whole module. “People will forget what you say and do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Most leadership qualities come from the fact that we as learners/followers enjoyed the way an instructor/leader made us feel. Abrashoff knew that his people would feel appreciated if he took time with them, gave them the ability to challenge themselves and fail if necessary, without fear of repercussion. Captain Abrashoff did it the right way by setting guidelines and monitoring the idea so that sailor was not given a task and set up for failure. I aspire to be a leader like Captain Abrashoff who makes the time to be with his troops and still carry their own workload. It a delicate balance. Another piece I felt was important was the lecture by Chief Benthin about being loyal to your boss. Maybe it’s the military in me but I have never understood employees who fight their boss tooth and nail. I agree its good to be able to share your opinion and present your ideas, but at the end of the day, if the Chief or Sheriff gives you a path they would like to take, and the path is moral, ethical and legal, you follow it. The alienated follower under minds the leaderships vision for the department, and spreads negativity like a virus to other officers. My advice to officers always is if you feel you have problem before you come to me please also have a solution.

    • To your point on not understanding employees who battle, I'm right there with you. In my experience, those people have some narcissistic markers and I think the problem starts there. They think they are better or can do better. They want to be included in decisions and expect their input to be sought (again, in my experience). They often don't fully comprehend the fact that they cannot be included for many reasons. They look at this as rejection which fuels their fire against the administration. Then they become toxic and spread the poison. It's a vicious circle that is extremely difficult to deal with and get rid of.

  • Paul Gronholz

    I enjoyed this module and book very much. I liked how Capt Abrashoff did everything he could to make his bosses job easier and take some of the stress off of him. I feel that if everyone in the organization did that same thing, it would be a very successful and tremendous place to work. With that being said, bosses need to empower their people to make decisions and then support them in those decisions. Leaders still take responsibility but give the credit for a job well done to the people that actually did the work, rather than taking it all themselves.

  • Matt Wieland

    I especially liked a statement Capt. Abrashoff made in the Badgecast podcast, and that is the idea of being promoted and leading with humility, promoting excellence without arrogance. I think getting to know your people and having real conversations about what needs to be done and how to get it done is much more effective than just barking orders and getting upset when people don't seem enthusiastic about getting the work done. Leadership in law enforcement has evolved in the last 20 years I have been in the profession, and in many ways our profession is better because of the changes. Leaders in law enforcement need to start off everyday by checking their ego at the door. I also liked the idea of being in competition with yourself, not your partners, and to always help others. Capt. Abrashoff's method of evaluating the top leaders on his ship was ingenious, giving the best rankings to those leaders who were the most collaborative with their fellow department heads. This is a great way to ensure the whole organization runs smoothly.

    • Humility is key. Think of two top sports athletes. One brags, gloats, and shouts praise, the other does great things and thanks to his teammates, and goes into the locker room quietly. The arrogant one generally is looked at as somewhat the vilian because of their self-promotion. The quieter one lets his work speak for him and requires not glory.

      I ask, which one are you, or am I?

      Good post.

  • Durand Ackman

    This was a good book. Captain Abrashoff connected with his crew and gave them the ability, and authority, to come up with new ways of doing their assigned tasks. Abrashoff also learned to know what his superiors needed before they voiced it. I completely agree that a good leader needs to connect with their staff. I try to do this with my staff. I meet with them daily and discuss how work has been going as well as what they have planned upcoming. When there is a task needing to be done I try to allow them to do it in their own way but I do sometimes find myself telling them how to do it. This tends to happen when it was a task that I have done previously. I have caught myself a couple of times and corrected it buy I'm sure it happens more than I recognize. The area I am trying to focus on is recently is thinking like my superiors. I have always struggled with this as I was born and raised to simply do as you're told by those in an authoritative role.

  • Brad Strouf

    It's Your Ship- Definitely an excellent book on leadership. Top down management does work if you can stay focused on your employees and their thoughts and suggestions. Learning to "read" the boss and anticipate his direction and needs will serve you well.

    • Bou Gazley

      I agree that being able to read the boss can be very helpful. I know my current boss is nearly impossible to read and it caused me great challenges. I want to be able to read him and know how things are going, but with him, that is very challenging.

  • Christopher Lowrie

    I enjoyed learning about Abashoff's leadership style. It is a daunting task to try and change tradition especially in the military and other similar institutions. Yet he was able to make the changes he wanted and show a better way to do things without compromising loyalty. Abashoff's ability to get to know his crew and show he cared for them is huge. Everyone can feel when a supervisor is truly looking after them and trying to better them. Allowing his crew to come up with alternative ways to get to the job done was a great way to empower them and lighten his load. Great leaders know when to step back and when to step in to help.

    • Paul Gronholz

      I agree wholeheartedly with this. Leaders should know the people they work with at a personal level, get to know them, and then let them know that they care for them, their career success, and how that fits in with making the organization successful.

    • Andy Opperman

      I definitely agree it is a daunting task to attempt to change tradition or the way it has always been done. Its takes a lot of courage to challenge something, knowing it could have negative results for not just you, but your officers or troops. I thought Abashoff did great job setting the expectation line for his sailors but letting them speak freely without the fear of repercussions. Decisions related to major change need to be strategic.

  • Robert Schei

    Abashoff has many excellent ideas and principles related to leadership. I know that for me personally having a good relationship with each of my staff is important. I want to understand what they care about and how they want to be treated. I try to speak with each of my staff daily and give them an opportunity to ask questions and give them feedback. I also agree with giving credit to those who render the hardest work. At times I feel like those who kiss the bosses booty most aggressively are the ones who receive all of the credit but its important to control what you can and let the rest go.

  • Eduardo Palomares

    This was a great read. Each chapter taught me something new. One of the things that made an impact on me was how Dr. Perry influenced Abrashoff's way of leading and how his words affected morale on his sailors. It definitely helped me to better understand that as a leader my words backed by my actions impact my people. Another take way from me was how Abrashoff taught himself how to think like his bosses to anticipate their expectations. I have bee practicing this and it is paying dividends. Another important thing about Perry and Abrashoff was the fact they took the time to make their encounters personable with their people. For my job and as a Leader I learned that it is more important to be a leader of the team than being an individual contributor to the operation. Sometimes we lose site of this and focus on being an individual contributor which in order to staff away from the mentality we have to learn to think like our bosses. I believe that people development is more important than anything specially in the public safety sector. Interesting enough I heard Lt. Moore's quote, "Three strikes and you are not out" on military movie clip. There is always one more chance! I will apply this to my leadership journey.

  • Jacqueline Dahms

    This was a good book. Abrashoff has such a simple and dynamic way of leading people. Having made such an impact and culture change in a short time is almost unbelievable. I think meeting with his people individually and getting to know them probably made the biggest impact to this change. I too often think that you must believe in your staff until they show you otherwise. We train them to do the job but don’t trust them to make decisions. It doesn’t make sense. I am also in charge of on boarding our new employees for the division. I picked up some ideas from the book that I would like to implement moving forward.

    • Robert Schei

      I agree, I like to always discuss the end result with my staff. I explain that this is what we need to achieve but how we get there is up too you. I like to encourage my staffs creativity and ability to manage issues on their own. What I have found is that when I give them more freedom they typically out perform expectations.

    • Brad Strouf

      I agree. The book was excellent and Abrashoff spells it out in way that is easily understandable and applicable to a variety of businesses/ agencies. Empowerment is such a powerful tool that is too infrequently utilized.

    • I agree. Sometimes, I believe it's hard to trust our staff in making the right decisions until they prove to us that they can make competent decisions. I am in the process of trying some of the ideas from the book.

  • Maja Donohue

    This book was really inspiring and Abrashoff’s ability to inspire his crew is something we can all look up to. He understood that his people would occasionally make a mistake and he was comfortable with that risk because he provided guidance and followed through. When you get to know your people, you get to know their strengths and weaknesses, which allows you to delegate according to their ability. It also allows you to gradually work on things they struggle with to help them improve. Developing people takes a lot of patience and builds mutual trust. I think what made him so successful is that he knew how to motivate people, he paid attention to details, self-corrected when he failed, and had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish. He genuinely cared about the people that worked for him and this was evident in every step that he took. His crew bought into his vision because they felt supported and appreciated. The end result was improved performance and job satisfaction, which benefited everyone on the ship.

  • Ryan Lodermeier

    The only thing I would change about this module is to have more information from Lt Gen Moore. Like Cpt Abrashoff, his role in leadership and military history has affected so many. I appreciate Cpt Abrashoff really breaking down the essence of becoming an effective leader. On the other side I enjoyed Lt Gen Moore’s genuine approach to not just being a leader in the military but living a fulfilling life. As I listen and read more about these great leaders I am struck by the realization that we are losing many like Lt Gen Moore to age. It is important that we, and others, step up and carry on these lessons learned from previous generations and apply them to the struggles we face today.

  • Chad Blanchette

    Captain Abrashoff’s message in his book, It’s Your Ship, in regards to making the time to meet with each and every member of the team and learning about what they do is crucial to leadership and the organization. Taking the time to show each member that you care about them and to go the extra mile to get to know their personal dynamic plays a crucial role in fostering a relationship. I believe this changes the culture of an organization when a leader takes the time to know each “cog” in the wheel that makes an organization move forward.

    • Eduardo Palomares

      I agree with you. I liked how Abrashoff said he didn't know anything of the jobs and realized he had to become a leader for the team and the organization. I truly believe taking the time to get to know your people as individuals makes you a more connected leader.

    • Durand Ackman

      I completely agree. It is so important to know your people. My best supervisor was one that got in there and worked with all of us but he also knew each of us on a personal level. He remembered birthdays, family member's names, current events in our lives, etc. He would come around and talk us quite often. It made all of us want to work harder for him.

  • Jennifer Hodgman

    While I have read the book It's Your Ship prior to this class, I found the video of retired Lt. General More to be very simple, straightforward and to the point. I appreciated his wisdom and concepts on dealing with adversity. Recognizing that we will all be hit by adversity but we have to believe that we will prevail in the end. It might not be pretty in between but you will prevail. This is advice we could all use in so many aspects of our lives, both professional and personal.

    • Ryan Lodermeier

      Lt Gen Moore did such a great job at applying a few straight forward lessons to so many experiences. It reminds me that while we may face many different types challenges that we can apply many of the same lessons that we have learned to overcome them.
      I like how he emphasized that there is always something more we can do. I can’t begin to count how many times in my career I’ve said to myself, “I don’t know what else I can do”. Of course time and experience have provided answers and tools to this frustrating question but to hear Lt Gen Moore mention that there is always one more thing was inspiring.

    • Matt Wieland

      I agree with your thoughts on Lt. Gen. Moore's words. What struck me the most was the idea that there is always one more thing your can do in life. Many in life can give up too easily, especially when the going gets tough. But there is always one more thing you can do.

  • Eduardo Palomares

    The lectures keep getting better. The “it’s your ship” book is outstanding. The leader, Abrashoff, allowed his crew to make decisions. He empowered them and evaluated his own performance when things didn’t go as planned. As a leader when success happens, you celebrate your crew and give credit. When there is failure, you take responsibility and reassess your performance for future endeavors. One of the biggest things for me is leading from the frontlines and getting down and dirty with the troops. Anyone can bark orders from a desk. Real leaders understand what is going on in the battle field. They support their personnel and don’t judge. One thing I can really reflect on is evaluating if the information for the assignment or mission was clearly communicated. I liked how they Lincoln and Abrashoff believed in giving second chances. Unfortunately, in police work “perception” of an officer based on gossip and beliefs can negatively affect his or her chances for development. I totally believe that with proper guidance and direction people can redeem their actions. These officers, when promoted, become very good leaders. I have seen this. It is important for us as leaders to eliminate any bad “perceptions” or beliefs other supervisors or command staff may have of an officer. It is important to defend those great men and women that do their jobs and safeguard their characters. They are real leaders!

  • Ryan Manguson

    There was a lot of great information that came out of this module. I particularly like Abrashoff's approach of laying out the requirements/goals and allowing those you lead to create the path to reach them. I like how he talked about letting go of some of the control of the how we get there and focused more of getting there. The empowerment piece is huge with being effective as leader. Empower those you lead with the understanding of the goals and requirements of your leadership so they can make solid decisions even when the leader is not there. I also appreciated the part about remembering to try to keep the workplace fun and engaging. Who wants to come to work if its never fun? NO ONE.

    • Christopher Lowrie

      Great points Ryan. Everyone remembers having great roll calls where people laughed and enjoyed coming to work. Unfortunately we also remember doing training where an 8 hour day felt like 24 hours. There is a fine line between having fun and someone reporting an HR violation. Hopefully we as good leaders can promote a fun environment without violating any rules.

  • Kyle Phillips

    This was an outstanding module and my favorite thus far. Lt. General Moore's principal that there is always something more that can be done, that you are only as stalled as your own ingenuity was resonating. That the harder you work, the more opportunity you'll see and that you are responsible for your own success. Abrashoff gained trust through relationship building and being present, he wasn't afraid to look at himself to find out if he was the problem, and he led from the front, by example. These are all qualities that I will continue to implement in my own daily conduct and throughout my career.

    • Eduardo Palomares

      Absolutely! Building trust through relationships is one of the biggest take aways for me. Sometimes we forget to do this and neglect the skill of proper communication.

    • Thomas Martin

      I could not have said it better Kyle. Lt. General Moore's words were filled with wisdom beyond measure. He always spoke with common sense and compassion. Following his principles in life is the very definition of what it means to be a leader. Captain Abrashoff is also an amazing man as you mentioned. We would be wise to follow not only what these men said, but what they did. I will also incorporate their techniques in my professional and personal life.

  • Cynthia Estrup

    I have really enjoyed reading this book as it is an easy read with a lot of great takeaways. I like how Abrashoff gave a lot of autonomy to his crew, but it was not blind autonomy. It was done in such away to empower them without risking the lives or his crew or the property they oversaw. He took an approach to train his staff how to think and take chances, or be change makers. By having those who are the ones doing the job help create better ways to do it, they are the ones that should be making the changes. Not only do they physically know the process the best as to what works and does not work, but then they have buy in for creating the change and will do the selling of the change to their peers.

    When there was a perceived failure in an assignment, Abrashoff turned inward to see if he was part of the problem. Did he clearly articulate his goals? Did he give people enough time and resources to accomplish the task? Did he provide them with enough training to successfully complete the task? These are great questions that should be asked through every after action process. We have to give our team the power to make decisions or we are failing to help develop and create our future leaders.

    • Ryan Manguson

      I also appreciated the piece on failure. The importance to also look inwards to yourself as a leader when someone you leads fails. To see where you have failed them as a leader to allow for their success.

  • When I read many of the comments already left on this board, I noticed a common theme... Inter personal communication and one on one interactions with staff is key to success. This module drives the point home as well. You cannot honestly know what motivates and drives your staff unless you sit down and talk with them and likewise, they cannot really learn about you unless they sit down with you. This simple act develops mutual respect and allows the leader to discuss goals and the future of the organization. This concept is further developed by Hal Moore's comment about "always being where the action is" or as as Chief Benthin put it "get out of the office" and "lead by example". I must confess, I have struggled with this in recent months due to the pandemic. The organization has instituted safety guidelines and social distancing mandates that have limited a lot of the social interaction I once took for granted. As a result, we have had to come up with creative ways just to have roll call or conduct in person training so in person team meetings (the engagement I really enjoy) has all but become a thing of the past. Yes, I know there is Zoom and other media platforms to work with but I have found that these social media focused alternatives create their own problems (connectivity, distractions etc). I will close with another observation from the presentation. Benthin mentioned that both Lincoln and Abrashoff believed in giving people a second chance. This is a powerful tool when working with trouble employees. The key is people have to see it in action. You can't just tell people you do it. Your employees have to see someone rebound, do good things and get promoted or move into a special unit/ position. I have seen it work first hand.

    • Cynthia Estrup

      I think there are still ways to connect with people, and now more than ever we have to be creative to not just keep people motivated, but to continue to maintain individual spirits up. A handwritten card to your vets on veterans day thanking them for their continued service to community and country. Doing weekly callouts via email to the entire department, even if it is only one or two sentences in an email. Creating a department newsletter where you allow people to talk about individual accomplishments outside of the department. It is definitely a different time where you cannot just bring in a couple boxes of doughnuts or a carafe of coffee, we have to try and get creative. I wonder if there are other people with any other ideas they have found to work to keep up contacts with our team during the pandemic.

  • Captain Abrashoff’s book, the podcast and the module that followed, has an immense amount of leadership information to reflect on. In his book and on the podcast, Captain Abrashoff talks about providing opportunity to those that know their jobs to come up with solutions to problems or better ways of doing things while providing them the framework, or boundaries, they must operate within. I think most of is in this line of work are problem solvers. We are great at finding solutions to problems and we are pretty quick at it. And as problem solvers with more problems to solve than resources, we get very focused about short-term solutions and not root causes. I know as I stepped into a supervisory role, I certainly wasn’t leading anyone right away. I have to lead by example and prove myself from the frontlines, still taking calls for service and writing reports all while trying to supervise others doing the same. It wasn’t until after I lead by example that I feel I gained some respect and was able to sit back and observe others, to truly evaluate them and praise them for the processes they follow when problem solving. I hope that Captain Abrashoff is honored, and any human probably would be, to be compared to the leadership qualities of Abraham Lincoln. And one thing I know I practice, because I have made my own mistakes, is that of giving second chances. People can redeem themselves if we coach and mentor them, give them responsibility and allow them time to prove themselves to be successful.

  • As the Leader of a large organization I really appreciated this module. Learning how Abrashoff turned his ship around to become the best in the fleet was exceptional. I liked the fact that he took time to get to know his people. I feel that is very important. When I first started at our office I had a supervisor who didn't even know some of those he supervised names. I told myself I would always get to know those I supervised. When I took over as Sheriff I met with our staff one on one so I could get to know them. Through meeting with them I also wanted to get a grasp of what they felt was wrong with the organization and how they felt we could get better. I knew by doing this they would also get to know me, understand where I had come from and the direction I wanted to go with the organization. I received excellent feedback and have employed many of their suggestions as we have moved forward.

  • Mitchell Gahler

    This was an informative module which was laid out perfectly as I continue to pursue my advancement towards a leadership role. A lot of the information provided is similar to how my past and current supervisors build their foundation and actively stay engaged in leading effectively and how they treat their subordinates. Lt. General Hal Moore described opportunities, and the more things you do, the more opportunities open up. Not only that, but, what else can individuals do to further their experience and not just settle for mediocracy? There is a benefit from learning and growing by your mistakes and allowing second chances by giving people enough time to be successful. Positive development doesn't happen without hard work and seeking opportunities. It was rewarding to hear that I carry some of the philosophies, beliefs, behaviors, and practices in order to be a good leader. I am a firm believer of getting out of the office and taking the initiative in order to be successful. I accept responsibility for my failures and discuss options with my superiors regarding areas that I need improvement. I also lead by example with a positive attitude and a hard work ethic, and am loyal to the betterment of the agency and decisions by my superiors. I have had the opportunity to work with several supervisors and have learned a lot by each and every one of them, as they carry many of the same beliefs explained in this module. They have all laid out the groundwork and discussed their expectations in order for everyone to be successful and provided us with opportunities to succeed. Carl Buechner explained, "People will forget what you say, what you do, but will never forget how you made them feel." I think it's important to, "Encourage your subordinates to act on their own initiative and to take risks," in order to feel part of a team and to feel successful.

  • Joseph Flavin

    When I first started as a supervisor, I met with my crew as a group and laid out my expectations of them moving forward as well as fostered dialogue about what their expectations were of me. Once that group meeting was done, I made sure to meet with each crew member individually to discuss career goals, what I could do as their supervisor to help them achieve their goals, learn more about their family life, etc... I feel I lead in a similar way that was discussed in "It's Your Ship." I do my best to lead from the front lines and encourage my team members to take on additional responsibilities when the opportunity presents itself. The quote that keeps replaying in my head is from Lt. General Hal Moore, "What am I doing that I should not be doing? What am I not doing that I should be doing to influence the situation in my favor?" That quote along with the actions that great leaders take provided at the end of the lecture will help leaders be successful.

    • Gregory Hutchins

      LTG Moore’s commentary on what he should or should not do while in challenging situations continues to be a great mantra to follow. When one is inexperienced or operating in a highly VUCA environment, these thoughts or mindset has always carried me through. To constantly evaluate the situation and your contribution to it is important when the clear path is not available. At a minimum it enable you as a leader to maintain the ability to do what is right, legal, and moral

  • Lt. Joseph C. Chevis

    I learned to use these different tactics from reading the book and watching this lesson module. I often give my team praise either individually or as a team. I always ask for their notions and viewpoints. I exhibit concerns of their career plans, by asking questions of where they see themselves in three to five-years. I appreciate their hard work and I express this during roll call and individual conversations. Letting them know that their hard work models our shift as a good team. I also make it a point to greet my shift individually as they leave for their weekend off, encouraging them to enjoy their families and to have fun. I am splendid that all these tactics work.

    • Mitchell Gahler

      I agree and think praise is important, whether it be positive or negative praise. Conversation is important, and if discussing mistakes and praising positively can influence guidance, it could build strong alliances and trust in everyone in order to reach a common goal. I think it's great that you greet everyone as they leave for the weekend with the encouragement to enjoy their time off. It shows you truly care about their personal lives and to leave work at work and for them to focus on the importance of time off and their relationships with their families. It also shows that you are engaged and care about them as people, not only as team members at work.

      • I agree with you Mitch. Getting to know people on a personal level has definitely helped me. When you do that sometimes you understand why a person may have responded the way they did during a certain situation. Or because you are personally engaged with them they work that much harder to please you. They now have personal "buy In" and don't want to let you down.

    • I always used to think that the question "where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years?" was a stock filler question that all oral boards asked. I have learned that this is one of the most insightful questions a board can ask. This simple question allows the applicant to express their goals and desires and gives prospective supervisors the first glimpse of what motivates a potential new employee. This allows the organization to truly get to know the applicant and vise versa. This investment in getting to know people does not stop once a person is hired. I am one of the first people that newly hired members of my department meet with. During this meeting I talk about myself, my successes and the things I could improve on. I review my expectations for officers as well as supervisors. I explain they should know what I expect of the people they will work for so they understand that I have met with all the department supervisors and given them the same expectations. Regular follow up and honest inquiries about family and hobbies only builds this mutual respect and makes it stronger. This simple interaction is an investment in people/ individuals but it is one that can have long lasting positive impact or the organization as a whole.

  • James Schueller

    I think it is often too easy for leaders in a Law Enforcement organization to rule solely by rank and forget that the people are what drive the organization. We are para-military structured but there has to be a personal connection to those who are doing the job and represent your office at all levels. Like most things in life, when you get the buy in from people, they take more pride in what they do, who they are, and who they represent. I would like to think that I was already living some of Abrashoff's beliefs before I had even read the book, but certainly not to the level that he put to paper. I could not agree more with the philosophy of 'Influence by Conversation'. One can convey- and receive- support simply by "being there". That concept, along with leading by example and from the front lines will show that the people AND the mission are equally important to success.

    • Chad Blanchette

      Good point. I think it is important to have that relationship with our team members, especially in our line of work, that they can trust the leadership to come forward with issues that come up in not only their professional lives, but also their personal lives. As we all know, it is difficult to leave them at their perspective places when there is drama. Nice job.

    • Major Willie Stewart

      I agree with your statement leaders often lead based on their rank. Just having rank does not earn you the respect thats needed to accomplish assigned tasks. A respected leader will achieve much more if his staff is willing to go all out for him not just following orders.

  • Lt. Marlon J Shuff

    A lot of great takeaways here. First off, the concept of being a "battlefield leader." One of the 11 principles of U.S. Army Leadership developed in 1948 is that a leader should be tactically and technically proficient. As a leader, it isn't easy to give an officer direction or guidance when you lack the knowledge or ability in a specific area. A technically proficient leader is continuously increasing his skill level so that he can train his officers and raise their performance level.

    Next, I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of leading by example and from the front lines. Leaders set high standards for performance and can do what they require of their officers to do. To quote General Patton, "No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.

    In summary, as leaders, we need to be tactically and technically proficient. We need to lead by example and learn to lead from the front.

    Marlon Shuff

  • Captain Jessica Jo Troxclair

    I had the pleasure of reading “It’s Your Ship” a couple times now. I started to develop some key ideas from the book into my style of leading. I enjoy and relate to Captain Abrashoff’s style of leadership. I have always considered myself to be a “people” person. Most conversations I had with subordinates after being promoted seemed to revolve around me. My subordinates would ask about plans I had or my family. Although I still share this information with my subordinates I had to change the direction of the conversations.
    I began asking them more about their goals and their families. I asked them to explain to me if there were any obstacles in their way. Then I sat back and observed their strengths and weaknesses. The next time we would have a conversation I would highlight their strengths and accomplishments. Tell them how much I appreciated their dedication to completing their goals. More and more goals were attainable by my subordinates because they believed in themselves and pushed harder to succeed. They thank me for guidance but I remind them that they are the leaders. I succeed because they succeed.

    • Jacqueline Dahms

      I to have staff that come and talk with me often and will ask me questions. I think I get sidetracked and distracted with my own work that I forget the value of asking those questions. I really want to focus on the staff more and being more thankful for what they are doing for us all. I don't directly supervise them anymore but I know they need someone that will invest in them and care.

      • Stephanie Hollinghead

        I have to make a mental note weekly to get out and talk to the troops. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations and lose that connection. I have been making it a priority to focus on the men and women and their needs and it is the number one thing on my list to discuss with command staff members. I feel like once you get to the command level of the department, you should be working twice as hard as you did in the prior position. I have worked with people who think when they get to a certain point in their career, they are biding their time and now they don't have to do anything. These individuals lose respect in the agency quickly.

  • Lt. Richard Paul Oubre

    It’s Your Ship was a great book on leadership. You have to out with your people. You need to know about them and let them know about you. Let your young officers run with their ideas, if possible. If they make a mistake, help them fix it. And most important, keep open and honest communication with each other—Lets train tomorrows leaders.

  • In my career, I have worked under a couple of supervisors that were just a trainwreck. Outside of work, they were the nicest, most fun people to be around but when they put that uniform on it was a nightmare for all. If there could be an opposite to Lincoln and Abrashoff's leadership methods, these two were certainly it. Blame was readily handed out for their failures and the word "praise" was not in their vocabulary. Ultimately these individuals moved on in one fashion or another but not until the damage had been done. The concepts from Lincoln on Leadership and It's Your Ship were eye-opening concepts, to say the least. I have mentioned it before but "buy-in" is so important in all we do as supervisors. Do not let your people ever go a day without making sure every step you take they are taking with you.

  • The basic premise of leading down and managing up is solid. If we can empower our people to take ownership and make their own decisions, we can achieve great results. I see it to often where a supervisor makes all the decisions for his people. No one does anything unless approved by the supervisor. This is micro-management at it's worse. Officers have zero motivation to be better. They are not allowed to learn by doing. The supervisor has no trust and certainly no respect for his people and return the officers have no trust and no respect for the supervisor. The first thing I do when either I get a new watch or just a new officer is that I sit down with them and talk as a group to start then individually. I ask about family and career goals while reciprocating by telling them about myself and what I expect of them as a member of the team.

  • I completely agree about the face to face interaction. The face to face allows for you to see other aspects of communication. I can see the facial expression and body language of the person that i am speaking to. A phone does not allow for this. this helps you to better understand what the person you are speaking to is feeling and helps you to better lead them.

  • I agree with Abrashoff’s leadership style and find myself applying those same styles in my department. When I allow my subordinates to share their ideas and thoughts freely, it betters our department. They become inspired to be innovative. It makes me a better supervisor, and it allows me to see things differently.

  • I think Captain Abashoff's principles are an excellent roadmap for anyone who is seeking to better their shift or division. I especially like his view on the face to face communication and the way he said it's the best way to communicate, build rapport, and express praise. I think a lot of leaders lose sight of this method, and many depend on email, text messages, or a phone call to express appreciation.

    • Lt. Marlon J Shuff

      Devin, I agree with your comment regarding face-to-face communication. Email, texting, and an occasional phone call is no substitute for one on one conversation. It's too impersonal. One of the pitfalls of modern technology.

  • When Chief Gary Benthin talked about making your boss look good and that “the boss has a right to look wrong” made me reflect on when I disagreed with something we did as an agency. While there are many things that we could do better, I also learned that by respectfully sharing my concern with my supervisor, I can give he/she the opportunity to help me better understand the logic behind the behavior. In some cases, I was blind to other parts of the picture, and in others, it allowed for us to reevaluate our practices.

    • Cheryl, you are right. I too have thought back to my interactions with supervisors and cringed at how I know I acted. Petulance is not a strong enough word for me to use. It is difficult to separate your emotions when you are standing up for your employees and remaining professional at the same time when dealing with your immediate supervisor.

  • Lt. Mark Lyons

    As I learned more about Captain Abrashoff, I found that I had a lot in common with his core beliefs and his style of leadership. One thing I got from this training module that I need to improve on, is getting out from behind my desk and spending more time out working with my fellow team members. It was something I used to do regularly when I was a Shift Sergeant. Now that I have a different role in my organization, I find myself locked in behind a desk most of the time. Once I get back to my normal routine at work, I plan on making it a priority to get and spend more time on the front lines.

    • Joseph Flavin

      I think it's imperative that we get out from behind our desk from time to time but it can be difficult at times. Too often that doesn't happen. It's important that we make time to do that when we can. I've noticed there are times that I spend more time behind my desk than I would like but that is going to happen from time to time. What has worked well for me is keeping those lines of communication open with my team members. No matter how busy I am in my office, I keep my door open to let my team members know that I am available to talk to them if needed.

    • It’s funny (or not) that I hear that same thing from loads of others that have been promoted into a more senior command role. Captain Abrashoff is proof that interacting with those below you in rank serves a huge purpose for team building and general morale of a shift, a division or an organization. I have also had the pleasure of taking classes from Dr. Alan Zimmerman and still follow some of his simple steps today. My suggestion is to put the dates on your calendar as an appointment, just like you do with any other meeting. And then shift your thinking to that is one meeting time you cannot be late for, you cannot miss. These people are important and are more deserving of your time than most others you already have scheduled meetings with. I also try to schedule regular check-ins with people that I have worked with in the past that are no longer in my division or under my supervision. Not to undermine their current leader, but to see how they are doing and see if there is anything I can do or provide them for their continued development.

  • Captain Abrashaff was a great leader, and as learned in the previous modules, get to know the boat before making changes. Captain Abrashoff accomplished this task by getting the crewmen involved to make the ship run more efficiently. This freedom gave his crewman a sense of pride and responsibility on the boat. In turn, this also built loyalty and trust for him from his crewman. I will begin doing this method, as well. I do not always bring everyone in on a decision, but learning these methods, produces outcome and work culture by listening to everyone's ideas.

    • I agree with you, Beau. I think that if we can get more people involved in our day to day operations, they will have a more meaningful sense of pride, and we would be able to achieve our goals much faster. So many leaders ignore what their subordinates are saying and these leaders tend to lead with an iron fist. A sense of pride would emerge if everyone was involved.

  • One of my biggest takeaways from this module came in that subordinates should try their good ideas, but be monitored. Along with honors is theirs if they succeed and blame is yours if they fail. I couldn't agree with this more and would encourage more ideas to be brought forward and let them experiment, but with monitoring. I think by doing this new leaders will be born.

  • Captain Abrashoff determined right away that the problem with Naval retention was the same problem he observed aboard the USS Benfold. That problem was antiquated operations. I, for one, believe that if something is working and there is no better approach to make it better at a particular time, leave it alone. But, when there is, and it's ignored because "that's the way we've always done it," then we are failing at our job. In our position, the way we've always done it doesn't work with changes in laws, changes in society, etc. If we do not grow with the demands of our job, I'm reminded of this common saying,
    "if you do it the way you've always done it, then expect to get what you've already got."

    • Such as profound comment. One thing I try to live by is to work smarter and not harder. I agree, if something works well then leave it alone. Yet, some days, I feel like a mouse running on a wheel in trying to complete daily tasks. I then try to find ways to stay better organized or accomplish the end goal more efficiently.

  • I have to say that I enjoyed the book on some levels and others, did not. We always see things and believe that we would do the same thing and you like those parts, and then you ask, "Would I have the courage , in that situation, to do the same thing?" Those are the parts that I "didn't" like because, in being honest with myself, I doubt I would have had that courage at different part of my life. As in business and everything that we do, it all depends on situation. When I was in the Army, I remember commanders and soldiers being disciplined for so many minor issues, and when you experience that, you can see why this took so much courage.

  • This review just reinforces the things we have learned in the reading of both Lincoln's story and Abrashoff. It holds true that things which were practiced hundreds of year ago still work today. The human spirit to learn, not be sedentary, to move forward, and connect within your "little piece of the world" is timeless. Chief Benthin drives home the point that both styles of leadership were innovative and effective. Being able to use these principals lets all members of an agency that all who contribute move their mission and people forward in a positive manner.

    • I agree with you completely. I also think that some leaders start strong and follow these guidelines, then "settled" in and lose sight of the big picture. As learned in the other module, I think it is essential to do a debrief at the end of the day to keep ourselves on the right track.

    • James Schueller

      I was thinking the same thing- its amazing how concepts more than a hundred years apart can still hold so much similarity and truth. I like how you referred back to the human spirit component- so vitally important as a leader to recognize the desire and need for those we supervise (and for us as we also work to attain a higher spot) that we should be encouraging and encouraged to movie forward and be innovative in doing so.

  • Captain Abrashoff book instilled in me you have to lead with sense of humility-excellence without arrogance. With new technology of policing and younger officers coming and going you have to keep improving your leadership skills. Have to communicate and listen to every officer get in tune with their thought process of becoming an officer and what are their goals. It is important to build my officers up with support and trust.

    • Maja Donohue

      I think that a healthy sense of humility makes us better leaders. The truth is, we can’t do it all on our own and we need our staff just as much as they need us. Therefore, it is our job to get to know them and learn what motivates them so that we can work effectively together.

  • Truly inspiring leaders. I firmly believe we all set out as supervisors and commanders to be that "True" leader to all of our personnel. There are many times that I lose focus during the daily grind, but I am a firm believer in getting to know each individual on a personal level. This goes a long way when they see the more human side of you and the trust that is built in an awesome thing. Although, they will completely see through you if its not genuine. I still respond to assist on search warrants, part selfishly because I miss it, but mostly because I recall when I was a young detective and watching certain leaders come out to be present or to help out. This act made me work harder to know that I had the support when it wasn't necessary for them to be there.

  • I enjoyed reading It's Your Ship. I found many situations that Captain Abrashoff faced in the Navy that we find ourselves facing today in law enforcement. His views of changing the "Your Fathers Navy" mentality are what we find ourselves trying to change in the "Old School" style of supervising. I strongly agree with his views on getting out of the office and building relationships with your subordinates. By doing so, we can build stronger working relationships and develop levels of trust. I feel that praise is often undervalued and can help with the moral and work ethic of your subordinates when appropriately given. Overall this book was a great read, and I would recommend this to any new supervisor.

    • I agree with you, about getting out. I had a captain that tried that, but he faltered in his approach. The guys saw him, but they felt he was checking up on them. He saw this and corrected his approach and did fairly well with it. The opposite is sometimes true. An older officer asked me, why did I not come to all of his scenes. I told him because he knew his job and if he needed help, I would be there. The watch that worked for me liked that because I had the old man watch. Most of them had as much or more time in law enforcement than I did and were so used to rank looking over their shoulder.

      • Kecia Charles

        Our department has a number of disloyal employees. Most have been employed with the department for numerous. years. They are there only to collect a paycheck. They constantly trying to undermine their supervisor's agenda and promoted their scheme. They are like cancers that will metastasize to other unsuspecting employees.

    • Lt. Joseph C. Chevis

      I to find it easier when we step out the office and interact with our subordinates they tend to loosing up and become focus on their duties.

      • Marshall Carmouche

        I agree, Lt. Chevis! I think too that subordinates, for the most part, want to see their leaders out of that office interacting. I try to make my way out of the office several times daily to see my subordinates.

        • Kecia Charles

          I agree, my employees love to see me coming on the pods to check on them. I appreciate that I actively handle difficult or disrespectful offenders. Letting them see you work increases your credibility.

  • Ret. Lt. General Hal Moore's comments were very helpful. The comments of "always be where the actions is" reminds me of myself. I try to lead on side of the men and women instead of supervising from a radio. I learned something valuable to his comments of "trust your gut over your heart" and how this can apply to all aspects of life.

  • When it comes to delegating of duties, i think back to my raising from my father. I was taught don't make someone do something you aren't willing to do yourself. So I learned to lead by example, somewhere along the years that belief turned into "No one can do it better than me, might as well do it myself." Since becoming a Supervisor, i admit delegating is my biggest problem which i am working on improving.

  • I have always been a strong proponent of not forcing your ways of doing thing onto someone else. Let them do it there way as long as it is departmentally, legally and morally acceptable and they are getting the same end result that you want. As an FTO instructor it is one of the things I preach to the FTO's were are training. Delegating someone a take and giving them the responsibility to complete that task without you micromanaging will go a long way into turning them into a leader and gaining yourself some respect from them. I have also tried to lead by example, letting those under my command know that I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty with them.

    • Very good advise if we are to think of everyone as a leader. Why not start training them to lead from the beginning and not after years of developed habits. I recall not enjoying supervisors that micromanaged to the point I felt like I was a puppet.

  • This lecture gives a good insight into being a leader and how to build two-way trust. I agree I must lead by example. As a leader I must also let my followers know with a shallow of doubt that I am in full support of them, this is the best way to build relationships.

  • Lieutenant Dustin Jenkins

    I thoroughly enjoyed this comparison of what is the epitome of great leaders. I like the idea of delegating task to subordinates and not giving them the "how" you want something done but giving them a well communicated expectation. This will only build the officer up and give them faith that they to can accomplish things without feeling micro-managed. All too often we lead by making them do something our way, what is the harm of allowing them to be innovative and reach the same desired goals as long as no laws are broken and no unnecessary risk is taken. A common theme Im seeing developed also is getting out and actually personally getting to know our people, this is something I have always felt strongly about as it promotes a family feel to your team.

  • I used it's your ship by Captain Abrashoff as our department book study this year for our agency. The whole series is full of leadership gold. Whether your a struggling leader, new leader or just need tools in your toolbox, this series is perfect.

    I started doing more of the "what would you do" philosophy this year with my troops. Also, not solving the problem for them, but guiding or coaching them to the solution.

    • I find the what would you do the best way for them to learn. I try to stress to sergeants under my command to no just give answers to questions about a particular call when a deputy calls them. Eventually, you will become that deputy's crutch. It is how my first sergeant taught me to be self sufficient. I called him (before cell phones) to ask him a question and his response to me was, "well if you need to ask me the question you know the answer!" and hung up. After staring at the phone for a few seconds I put the phone back on it's base and walked out to car, got my West book and eventually found my answer. At the time I thought what a @$%&, but after time I realized that he was just teaching me to learn things for myself and not rely on other for the answer. One of the best lessons I've learned in my career.

      • I had a very similar experience with a Lt. If anyone asked him a procedural question or question about a charge. He would turn it around and ask you the same question. It made you think and come up with your own conclusion. It was always a learning experience. It made me a better deputy at the time. I use it all the time now.

    • I like the idea of a book study for the department. Your approach on guiding and coaching is a great approach to build confidence and drive in your employees. I believe that by letting your employees think for themselves and outside of the conventional box you will build a stronger team by showing them that you trust them to complete the task without having to be hands on.

  • Adam Gonzalez

    I took a lot of notes from this module. Two great books from two great leaders not always parallel in there leadership styles. In practicality, I learned the most, however, from a portion of Gen. Hal Moore's reference that a battlefield commander needs to be where the battles are. With new responsibilities that see me staying later in my office and staying tuned more on my email and text threads, it has become easy for me to rationalize about the capable deputies I have working under me and that they will let me know if or when they may need my assistance. The truth is, this has been an easy out for me when I, in fact, need to be on the battlefield during the battles. This advice goes hand in hand with the comparable piece of advice also given to "Lead by example and the front lines". I have immediately begun to implement this and I feel better doing so because I know that I should be doing this. Time to battle my rationalizations and do what I know is right!

  • Module 9 the learning was very enlighten, and brought a lot of key points to how you should treat your subordinates and to lead by example, which is very important while you're a leader. This learning of this book was a huge plus in every aspect.

  • "This is Your Ship" was an excellent book. This module explained the core of the book in a great way. This book is the perfect example of how to lead and inspire the people who serve under you. Getting to know your people and investing time into your people is an investment that returns to you and the organization.

  • I really like this perspective and is what I strive to live by. Leaders should not be dictators but encouragers so the employees want to learn by your example and continue to do the same as they promote and become leaders.

    • I agree with your response, as a leader it is important that the people that are put in that position aren't micromanaging their followers. It is always good to support your crew and encourage them.

  • This book and this module reminded me of a book a predecessor of mine had the entire supervisor corps read – FISH! For those who have never read this book, here is a brief synopsis. A woman worked in the most toxic department of a company and wanted a way out. She found that the people working at the Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market had the best time at work because they were having fun. She decided to bring fun back to her workplace and the situation turned around. Sound familiar?

    After reading the book we instituted some fun ideas for our division and shifts. We built a team and although some of the ideas were hokey, we were allowed to run with them, as long as they were within reason. With new management comes new philosophies and supervisors who were not into these ideas won, the “fun” was stopped. I do not know why it was that I gave in and allowed myself to fall prey to the need to fit in, but I have noticed my shift is lack luster. I’m not saying I do not work with a tremendous group of young men and women, they just lack the drive to reach their full potential, and I want to give that back.

    This book renewed the ideas which were forgotten to allow the deputies to have fun at work (with limitations), and to fertilize their seedling ides and give them opportunity to grow – Again!

    • Adam Gonzalez

      I to appreciated the teaching from this module of having fun. Specifically, I liked how Captain Abrashoff encouraged his crew to "make their work fun without compromising safety and policies...". I think that this goes hand in hand with the book and its advice that you cite here. Both are great lessons that we all would do well to be reminded of and encouraged to explore with our own subordinates.

      • I appreciated the teaching from this module of having fun without compromising safety, policies and work. With things getting life threatening at any given moment, you need a bit of humor sometimes. Like my old lieutenant use to say i don't mind you laying back, "but when its time to rock and roll,lets get it no excuses"

  • One toxic employee can tear down an organization's morale and operational ability in quick order. Techniques and mindsets from Cpt. Abrashoff's book can help to identity those persons and how to manage them. Identifying that no person can do everything is what I found most valuable, I may be in charge, but I can't do it all.

  • Lincoln and Abrashoff had similar leadership styles. Abrashoff gave credit to his crew when they succeeded and took the blame when they failed. That is a leader. I often forget to give praise and credit and need to be more mindful of doing this. I also like the way he took time know his crew and was involved in their lives.

  • The tenants shown by great leaders seem to share common threads no matter when or where the leadership occurs. Concepts of respect and engaging those you are supervising is one of these themes. I learned early on with my Sheriff, if you go to him with a problem, bring along a solution. I had heard the saying before and generally took this to mean don't just complain. However, after reviewing the several leadership examples, especially President Lincoln and Capt. Abrashoff in this module, I have refined my interpretation. That philosophy is not only about not complaining. It is about encouraging the team member to find a solution and take ownership not only of the problem but of the solution. When viewed in that light, I can see where the employee presents the issue and proposes a solution. the employee is then empowered to plan and implement the change. This does not only solve the problem, but it just made the employee a better employee. The employee can take pride in the achievement and in their contribution. The leader sees the value, productivity, and growth of their employee. Trust is built between both. Understanding why and how these great leaders functioned can help me strive to be a better leader as well.

    • McKinney

      I like the concept you referenced, that philosophy is not only about not complaining. It is about encouraging the team member to find a solution and take ownership not only of the problem but of the solution. I agree that encouraging team members to finds solutions rather than reexamining problems is health and more beneficial way to achieve objectives.

  • Major Stacy Fortenberry

    Disloyal(toxic) employees are one of the biggest problems within an organization. Especially if promoted to a position of authority. I agree that loyalty is not talked about enough. Why has it become taboo to think and talk about loyalty. We don't discuss it enough and routinely allow the toxic officer to infect the rest of the unit. If an employee can not be loyal to the leader or agency that pays him there is nothing wrong with helping him find other employment.

  • Captain Abrashoff basically embodies every quality that I view as being an effective leader. Understanding that his crew wanted respect and giving them that through delegation, making work fun, leading by example just to name a few. One thing that he did was to be genuine with his crew, by taking time to get to know them, what motivates them and what their goals were. He encouraged risk taking but was smart enough to know that the risks must be monitored. One belief that I see myself falling short on, is to give credit where it is do. Sometimes I find myself being so focused on the goal and getting it accomplished, that I forget to praise those who accomplished the goal, by working hard and seeing it through.

  • Lieutenant John Champagne

    The comparison of Lincoln and Abrashoff’s leadership style side by side is impressive. These leaders were generations apart yet possessed a similar style that made them great leaders. I enjoyed the list of philosophies, believes, behaviors, and practices great leaders have in common. The two aspects I need the most work on would be to encourage innovation and risk-taking, along with getting out of the office more.

  • Burke

    Captain Abrashoff is the epitome of an innovative leader. He was able to combine the traditions of the Navy and new age thinking to have the best damn ship in the Navy. His ability to know his people and understand them is an inspiration.

    • Major Stacy Fortenberry

      I am impressed that he was able to effect change in the institution of the Navy. He empowered his sailors to find a better way and then had the courage to let them try.

  • Donnie

    After reading the book and watching the lecture for this module I found it impressive that CPT Abrashoff was able to do what he did in less than two years. In the beginning he said that you have to train yourself in leadership. Sometimes that’s difficult when fighting traditionalism. But at the same time, you have to know that traditionalism isn’t working. It really takes some intestinal fortitude to self-evaluate to determine that you need to “go against the grain”. You still have to be very careful in how you implement your plan. It has to be done in a very tactful way. To me, the single greatest factor in turning that ship around was gaining the trust of his subordinates and supervisors. If you aren’t trusted you will get mediocre performance and results at best.

    • It is very impressive that Captain Abrashoff was able to accomplish this goal in less than two years. Being able to understand his crew and what they wanted, making a personal connection with them and garnering a culture of trust was impressive. Especially with a ship of more than 300 sailors.

    • I agree that being able to gain the trust or loyalty of his men was the driving force, the catalyst that enabled Capt. Abrashoff to accomplish what he did. This interest in his men and ability to trust them is admirable. The ability to allow them to be creative and understand how to be accountable without micro-managing is an amazing feat.

    • I believe you hit the nail on the head. Sometimes in order to progress you need to shirk off the cloak of the old guard in order to lighten yourself to move forward. Policing is steeped in tradition. We have to remember those traditions also started as ideas and were probably met with scorn and ridicule originally, but became endearing parts of who we are.

  • Lance Landry

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading It’s Your Ship. Captain Abrashoff gave an insightful perspective on his style of leadership which he learned through years of Naval service. He learned from both good and bad leaders the approaches that work and the approaches that do not work. Learning what makes each employee tick, is essential in today’s leadership. There are so many different personalities it is essential to learn about your people and what motivates them. Developing subordinates to think and act on their own is a facet of our job that we must spend more time on. They will make mistakes but they will learn from them. I learned that it is time to get out of my office and back to visiting with employees like I used to do before I got “to busy handling business.”

    • Burke

      I agree with you. Knowing your people greatly improves your ability to talk to them, to get them to complete the mission. Knowing how your people"tick" is essential when it comes to management.

  • McKinney

    Once again, another great session. Commander Abrashoff’s leadership in the early stages of taking command spoke volume. He engaged his team members instantly, where they built a relationship which led to outstanding results. Leaders need to get out and speak with as many members as they can. I have found that this makes new relationships, and it allows us to see a different perspective from one’s view regarding organizational matters.

    • Lieutenant John Champagne

      I agree that leaders need to get out and speak to as many members as possible. In Law Enforcement, we have leaders in all sections of the Agency, yet lots of times, these leaders do not address subordinates of other divisions. I remember, as a young officer, I was preparing a warrant when addressed by a Detective Sergeant. He asked what I was working on and offered assistance by showing me a different charge and the specific law and subsection. I did not work for him, and he did not have to stop and assist me, but he did, and I still remember it twenty years later.

    • Lieutenant Dustin Jenkins

      Agree with you that relationship building allows us build trust in our teams. It also allows us to feel good about allowing our team to take the reigns on some issues within reason and with a set parameter to be able to make their own decisions.

  • Jarvis Mayfield

    I found when disloyal employees get promoted they fail at being good supervisors. Because the team can sense the lack of loyalty therefore no chemistry will be develop.

  • Nicole Oakes

    “If you want to achieve anything in a large bureaucracy, get inside the bosses heads. Anticipate what they want before they know they want it. Take on their problems; make them look so good that you become indispensable. When they can’t get along without you, they will support nearly anything you wish to accomplish.” Quoted from Captain Michael Abrashoff, former Commander of the USS Benfold. This is so profound, the problem in doing this in law enforcement is that we are territorial and we are suspicious, probably by nature. So when you are attempting to get into your bosses head they are suspicious of your intent and motives. I, do however believe that the answer was also delivered in this presentation when they talked about loyalty. If you are loyal and prove it to your boss then they will be more likely to let you in and allow you to shine.

  • Roanne Sampson

    I learned a lot from this module. Captain Abrashoff trained himself to think like Secretary of Defense Perry and learned want he liked. He became a person Perry needed and depended on. When he took over the USS Benfold, which was last in everything, he was able to use his unique training style to turn everything around. He allowed his crew to believe in themselves, which helped them make creative decisions. Under Abrashoff's leadership, he was able to use his experience with Perry to develop his crew into great leaders. This helped with retention, saving money and motivation to win. How many of you can relate to Captain Abrashoff's leadership style?

  • Rocco Dominic, III

    This module helped me realize, I was using some of Captain Abrashoff’s leadership styles while leading my team. I make it a practice to assist them in their duties. This gives me a chance to talk to them privately, which allow me to get to know them on a personal level and what their career goals are. This module, made me realize there are things I may need to change within myself and my team.

  • Amanda Pertuis

    It's Your Ship and It's Our Ship both offer great information. I agree to learn your employees and that loyalty is important.
    Lt. General Hal More also gave some great information. I will trust my instincts, and we all know life is not a bed of roses.

    • Being able to empower your "crew", if you will, gives you the ability to move and/or delegate things that need to be accomplished. When you can learn to give more responsibility to people under or with you, they engage in earning trust both ways within the unit, department, etc. When the stress of a CIT or "big" incident comes to your jurisdiction, the people you work and train with have an ingrained trust which helps thing operate better.

  • David Ehrmann

    Capt. Abrashoff’s approach to leadership was new and innovative for its time. Being former military, as an enlisted person, you would generally never interact with senior officers. You were told to stay away from them and try not to engage in conversation with them. It was ingrained in you that you shall follow whatever orders they gave without fail. Capt. Abrashoff’s approach to leadership was completely contradictory to the old military theory. However, his approach to leadership proved to create a better environment for all stakeholders involved.

    • Lance Landry

      David, I cannot speak from experience regarding the military service and how it works. I never had the pleasure to serve. However, I do understand the concept of following orders without question, especially in a combat type scenario. Captain Abrashoff’s methods, although they went against the traditional way the Navy handles things, were very successful. He created a culture of trust and mutual respect which minimized the chance for outright insubordination. What he did so successfully was develop his subordinates to think and make the correct decisions on their own. So the old adage is not always true “an old dog can be taught new tricks.”

  • Christian Johnson

    I have actually many of Captain Abrashoff's techniques with my team after becoming their Lieutenant nearly three years. I have gotten to know each of them personally. I have learned what motivates them and what their goals are. I've gone out of my way to promote a family environment. We spend time together, families included, outside of work. I host a crawfish boil with a water slide for all of the kids at my house every April and a Christmas party with activities to entertain the kids every December. Our spouses have become friends and we have become a family. At work, I am the 'boss' but we work as a team in all things. I get my hands dirty with them whenever I need to without complaint. I have guided several to promotions and lateral transfers they considered promotions.

    Three years ago we were a mess and my attempts at leading were not helping. Taking the time to know them and what makes them tick made all the difference. I could not be prouder of the team they have become.

    If you were wondering, the answer is yes. Captain Abrashoff's methodology works very well in a law enforcement setting.

  • Laurie Mecum

    It’s easy to see why Captain Abrashoff was so respected by his crew. Who doesn’t want to feel respected and included by their employer? Just because your not at the top does not mean your ideas are not good and what you have to offer to the organization is not worth hearing. Its gives employees a sense of job satisfaction when their ideas are heard and even implemented. Any leader that does not want input from their followers is a sign that they might feel threatened. Which is not a good leader. I enjoyed the video with General Moore, especially him saying “Life is not a bed of roses, you will be hit with adversity, you have to believe you will prevail in the end.”

    • Rocco Dominic, III

      I enjoyed Captain Abrashoff also. After hearing the pod cast, I realized I use a lot of his tactics. It also made me realize, I still have a lot of work ahead of me.

    • Donnie

      It has been my experience that you always seek out subordinate feedback and ideas. When you use it, and it works with a plan or possibly becomes policy, that employee should be recognized for it and rewarded in some manner. Most of the time recognition will suffice. One of the biggest results of this is that you gain trust, even if the idea isn’t used.

  • Clint Patterson

    I, too, read the book, It’s Your Ship by Capt. Abrashoff and took so many leadership qualities away from this book. I was never in the military, specifically the Navy, but Abrashoff’s inevitably ran the best ship in the navy. His ability to transform the thought process of his crew was ingenious. We, as law enforcement leaders, should use the same tools and processes that Capt. Abrashoff used to transform his crew. We may work amongst many capable and masterful leaders, but until we get out from behind our desk and seek conversations, goals, and objectives within our subordinates, then we are just another ship.

  • Samuel Lucia

    Good book. It clearly emphasized shifting ones thinking from mine to yours. Every example, story, and description in the book reiterated that it's not about you. It's about your people.

  • Christopher Savoie

    After reviewing this lesson and listening to the podcast it became apparent that I have made several mistakes in my leadership approach in the past. I need to be more receiving then transmitting, and I need to spend more time interacting with the employees. These are just a few things that believe will help with the culture in my department.

    • Roanne Sampson

      I enjoyed the lessons in this module. We all have room for improvement. You are able to change the culture around in your department.

  • Royce Starring

    The point that sticks out is disloyalty employees is the biggest problems for a leader and when the become in a position of authority. We had several people like this to work in our agency and i had the unfortunate pleasure of working with and working for this guy. Everyone was happy when he was not working an say when he was. He was a cancer the shift an department.

    • Samuel Lucia

      Yes, I know the type of person you describe Royce. And in the book, Abrashoff described how he was able to change that type of employee and bring them into the fold.

    • Clint Patterson

      Royce, I have dealt with a disloyal employee who has become supervisors, and it can ruin the morale of a shift quickly. We find ourselves looking at each other with disbelief and confusion on why did that person gets promoted.

    • Laurie Mecum

      Disloyal people can ruin an entire department. We have them...some are just hanging around waiting for their years to be able to retire, meanwhile, trying to bring down others because they are disgruntle or angry instead of trying to get over whatever their issue is.

      • Yup. For some reason law enforcement seems to have a higher percentage of disgruntled and disloyal employees. I guess its goes with the nature of the job? I try my best to motivate and uplift those employees. Unfortunately, some negative employees just refuse to turn around. At that point the best thing, I can do is to encourage them to find another place/job/unit that will make them happy.

    • David Ehrmann

      Disloyal employees can and will affect the morale of a division or unit. I recall when I had a disloyal employee finally resign. After he did, I was told by others that it felt as though a weight had been lifted off everyone’s shoulders. As leaders we need to be able to recognize disloyal employees and either try to change their way of thinking or get rid of them altogether

  • Judith Estorge

    I appreciate the leadership similarities between Lincoln and Abrashoff. I've read Abrashoff's book and found it very informational and beneficial toward leadership. I also enjoyed the video clip of Hal Moore with his words of wisdom. There is so much to learn from each of these 3 exceptional leaders. It is important to build your officers up with encouragement, support and trust.

    • Christopher Savoie

      I agree. Sometimes we get lost in the everyday issues of our jobs, and forget to just talk with our officers, and show them that we a accessible to them.

    • Nicole Oakes

      I agree completely with your analysis of all three leaders Lt. Estorage. Having personally served under you, I can say that you embody these traits. And in practicing them it made me want to follow the example you set and it set up a loyalty that remains true to today.

  • Chasity Arwood

    It is easy to see why Capt. Abrashoff is such a great leader. He allowed his subordinates to come up with solutions to problems and listened to their ideas. He delegated responsibility to those under his command and treated everyone as a leader. He also gave credit to those who succeeded.

    • Royce Starring

      The agree , but would like to add his understanding of his lack of knowledge on how to operate thing on the ship so he allow his subordinates to problem solve.

  • Colby Stewart

    After listening to this lecture and reading the book i think every leader should read this book, i have learned a lot about how to manage people better. I have learned when you let people take ownership and let hem become part of the change they will take ownership and take pride in their job.

  • Ray Bonillas

    This lecture emphasized the important organization and personnel first before personnel gain. Many individuals look into a task our mission and ask what is in it for me. Captain Abrashoff understood that taking care or the organization and its personnel was in fact a reward for him as a leader. He genuinely cared for his personnel and allowed them to improve their own work conditions and not run the ship strictly by the book, since many of the training manuals were outdated. His leadership style was based on trust and motivation.

  • Lance Leblanc

    As I listened to the lecture and read some of the book, it' s easy to see why Captain Abrashoff has been so successful. Abrashoff empowers his people and made them take ownership of the Benfold. Abrashoff and Lincoln both talked about loyalty. Loyalty is one of the most important human traits. I find that younger officers, (millennials) lack loyalty to the agency and supervision. Abrashoff ideas help build loyalty and I will definitely implement some of them.

    • Ray Bonillas

      Lance,

      You are so correct, millennials lack loyalty to an agency and supervisors. They are concerned with what the agency has to offer them not what they can officer the agency. We as leaders have to educate are younger officer that to what our agencies have to offer them and change their culture to be a servant style employee and understand our responsibility as public servants.

  • Magda Fernandez

    This was my first time reading this book. I really like the concept of managing up and leading down. Understanding what your supervisors want and what they expect organizationally made me look at what I am doing differently. Having a full understanding of that makes me a more effective leader is important. In addition, having a full understating of what motivates the men and women under my command and giving them ownership to make decisions and make judgement calls is very empowering. It gives them a sense of ownership in the organization. It also highlighted the need to “Listen Aggressively” to not just hear what they are saying and be dismissive. We tend to be so busy with the many thoughts going through or heads of what needs to be done and are content with getting things done the way we always do. We need to listen to our people’s input, ideas and suggestions to find better more efficient way to do things as they are the experts in the field. Some of us may be several degrees removed. Things don’t work like they used to and we need to be open and receptive.

  • David Cupit

    Captain Abrashoff's leadership style is very encouraging. It was very interesting to see how Captain Abrashoff followed President Lincoln's leadership style closely. I think it would be a good idea for all organizations to implement this in their workforce.

    • Chasity Arwood

      I agree with you, this should be a mandatory part of training and should implemented in the workforce.

  • Dan Wolff

    Learning and reading in this module was in my opinion the best yet. It resonated everything we have been reading about in prior modules. Captain Abrashoff took what he knew and learned from other leaders and showed compassion about each and every seaman regardless of rank. In his book he called it going from “command and control to commitment and cohesion”. By reading the book I can see the many obstacles he faced and applied his techniques to reaching the goal. Getting on a personal level and having everyone buying into his vision. Something we need to do everyday and not lose sight

    • David Cupit

      I agree with what you are saying Dan. We all face obstacles in our organization. On a personal level, I plan on getting to know my subordinates better and learn what motivates them.

      • Kyle Phillips

        Dan, It's brilliant yet should have been so obvious. The thought of getting to know the people within your organization and to genuinely care about their well being should go without saying as this is an essential foundation for a lasting relationship where mutual respect is held, however we have all had a supervisor at some point who didn't understand this essential principal.

  • Mike Brown

    As I listened to the lesson of Captain Abrashoff and the similar thoughts from President Lincoln, I agree that as leaders and supervisors that we are responsible for the ship. Our actions should and do matter, when it pertains to governing our employees.

    Being in charge should include knowing what motivates others and giving them positive feedback so that the employees know where they stand in the organization. Knowing when to listen to their ideas and helping them to be successful.

    Captain Abrashoff understood how to make everyone appreciate the job they were doing.

    • Dan Wolff

      Captain Abrashoff took his leadership to a personal level and shared his vision with everyone and had them buy in. Along the way to his vision he overcame obstacles utilizing delegation, commitment and serving with a cause attitude. You are exactly right when you said that listening to subordinate ideas and helping them be successful is vital in leadership.

      • Judith Estorge

        I agree that Abrashoff excelled at leadership once he began considering his subordinates and not just trying to move up the ladder. It took his own personal experiences and failures to realize how he wanted to lead. Abrashoff has excelled in achieving a higher level of leadership by committing himself to it.

      • Lt. Mark Lyons

        I am a big supporter of Abrashoff's style of leadership. Sharing mutual goals and objectives with subordinates, getting to know them on an individual and personal level, listening to them and their ideas, and encouraging them to take risks and to act on their own initiatives. Those are all crucial components to building a strong and loyal team, capable of overcoming all obstacles.

    • Colby Stewart

      I agree with you as leaders we need to know what motivates are people and give them positive feed back. W

  • Joey Prevost

    In this module I learned that Capt. Abrashoff had a vision to turn the performance of his ship and crew around. He realized that the old style of leadership in place was outdated, not working and causing negative effects. He gave his crew ownership in the ship and allowed them to take initiative in performing tasks. When crew members were allowed to put their own mark on the jobs they did, performance skyrocketed. The crew took pride in ownership.

    Hal Moore has long been one of my heroes. My take away from his style of leadership is there us always something else you can do., always.

  • Jason Porter

    The “It is your ship” lesson repeated the term long term goal. That has been the drive behind my position. Knowing my people, their plans and goals in our organization has been something that I have worked on in my position. I agree with the lecture from the retired officer about trusting your instincts, they are usually right.

  • Drauzin Kinler

    In this module, I learned many different techniques that can be applied to benefit our leadership skills. A few of the areas I plan on focusing more of my attention are, spending time with the people who have crappy jobs, and making them feel proud of the job they perform. I think it is important to see their position from their eyes and experience the challenges they face on a daily basis. I want to get ideas and feedback from them, along with providing them with the support that they need to be able to succeed. I would like to hear their plans and goals for the future. Get ideas of what motivates them and where they see themselves being in the organization. It is important that as leaders that we keep the moral up for our employees and I thing just taking these few steps will have a huge impact.

    • Jason Porter

      Spending time with our people is something I think we all could benefit from. Pulling ourselves away from our day to day tasks and stop doing our work to mingle with our people takes a lot of devotion. Our work doesn't stop, but listening and understanding our people will help with moral and our leadership goals.

      • Magda Fernandez

        Jason, i agree with you. Spending time with people is so important. I find myself working on tasks in my office and before i know it, hours have gone by. This has made me realize i need to get up and move around, and spend time with members of the department. My day starts early morning and seems to end during the early evening. I should be able to see members of all three squads during my work hours. I need to improve on making myself available and not just worry about completing projects and taskings in my office. I have always been a social person and as a sergeant i was always out and about. I miss that and need to get back in that practice. I always make myself available when people walk into my office as i have a open door policy. I need to improve on me actually leaving my office.

        • I'm right there with you Magda. I have been saying since day one that I need to spend at least half of my time with the guys, but somehow I look up and the day has vanished. I made it a goal this year and so far I'm doing better than last. But I'm still not where I want to be. Oddly enough, I found that I get the same amount of office work done on the weeks I spend time in the field versus the ones that are all in the office. Also, it seems more of the guys stop by the office to chat after having been out there some. Some good ideas have come from those conversations.

      • Justin Payer

        Jason, I agree. I try to make time to get around and speak to my people every day. What Abrashoff wrote about really listening and devoting your full attention struck home. When people come into my office I have to make a conscious effort not to check my email or look at my computer so they know I have their attention.

  • Henry Dominguez

    I thought this lesson brought about several key points, especially when leading an organization. I thought one of the main points was to make sure your "troops" had self pride in the organization to empower them to make decisions in order to not only make the organization better but also themselves. I often pull officers aside and take them to coffee, breakfast, etc. My goal in doing this is to get their goals. I want to see where they see themselves in the future and how I can make it happen. Plus, I feel, it makes those officers feel like the department appreciates their work and them personally. After having these conversations, I have had the fortunate opportunity to give those officers a chance at whatever goal they had (promotion, special assignments, etc.) after outlining how to achieve those goals. Without fail, those officers have come back to me to thank me for giving them formula to achieve such things. Now they are loyal to not only me but more importantly the organization.

    • Captain Jessica Jo Troxclair

      I agree, when you engage your team and work closely with them so they can achieve goals you build trust and loyalty. Those two key factors build great organizations.

  • Monte Potier

    I agree that Loyalty is an important in any organization. Unlike Lincoln I cannot tolerate an employee without it. I believe that it is hard enough to properly lead an organization, and a leader doesn't have time to worry about sabotage. I surely understand that people may have different opinions, however once those opinions are expressed the lawful order should be accomplished.

  • Frank Acuna

    This lesson describes details of leadership as taught by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, who led the best ship in the Navy, USS Benfold. I was fortunate to have read this book several years ago and gleaned many leadership lessons from it. By revisiting the book, I am now able to put quite a bit more of these lessons into perspective as a newer Sergeant. Captain Abrashoff was a unique Naval leader because he challenged typical Naval traditions. He interacted with his people, got to know them, understood what they valued and by doing this he was able to decipher what motivated them. This helped him become a great and trusted leader and one who was able to gain the support of his entire ship to work toward a common goal. He empowered his crew, allowed those he leads to try new ideas and attack tasks with new methods. When they failed, he took responsibility for it, rather than hang them out to dry. When they succeeded, he praised them in public and gave them all the honor.

    Frank

  • Nancy Franklin

    I have read Abrashoff's "It's Your Ship" several times and each time I learn something new. His concept of leading from the front and putting the interests of the organization and others before your own are key to successful leadership. Understanding the motivations of those under your command and acknowledging what is important for them allows leaders to establish a climate of trust. If others know that you are making decisions that are in the best interest of others and the organization - not just self-serving, then they will want to work harder for you to achieve the mission. I have implemented Abrashoff's leadership principles to assist me in my role and strongly believe that it has assisted me not only in my own personal development, but more importantly, by ensuring others have achieved goals for special assignments and promotions. I have had several employees thank me for my leadership and support and credit serving with me to their success in special assignments and promotions. It is all very humbling and I hope that as they grow in their careers they will do the same for others.

    • Frank Acuna

      Nancy, your post is well written and reflects the lesson perfectly. I feel it is important for leaders to empower others and encourage growth. Your success can be measured not by your own accomplishments, but by the success and accomplishments of those you lead.

      You are a great leader, you understand empowerment and developing your subordinates. I am fortunate enough to say I have benefited very recently from your leadership. My goal of becoming a Sergeant was hard-fought but you were always in my corner. You exemplified strong leadership, empowered me, put me in positions to grow, fail and learn. This undoubtedly helped me grow and attain my current position. Thank you for your continued support and I am glad to have you as a mentor.

      Frank

    • Drauzin Kinler

      Nancy, I also read "It's your ship" and attended prior leadership training before I applied to the Command College. I agree that the information that was provided is great tools for being a successful leader. I as well have implemented many of his leadership principles and have had many subordinates throughout the years become successful within our organization. My only regret is that I wish that this type of training would have been provided earlier in my career. My son just graduated from college and I am encouraging him to read this book along with attending leadership training.

    • Lance Leblanc

      This is the first time I read "It's Your Ship," and my response is "wow" the book is pretty amazing. I will definitely use some of his leadership ideas going forward. I think the climate of trust is tough because in law enforcement we generally don't trust anybody. I for one need to get better at it.

    • Jennifer Hodgman

      I agree Nancy, I too, have had several employees thank me for leadership and support and credit me with their success. Understanding where our officers come from and where they want to go in their careers allows us to establish a climate where they can be successful.

  • Brian Lewis

    I had read 'It's Your Ship' prior to enrolling in the National Command and Staff College and thoroughly enjoyed it. Being a former sailor, I could relate to a lot of his stories. Abrashoff noticed that the old way of leading was not accomplishing his objectives, but actually having a negative effect. This is something I've personally struggled with as the newer generation has come into law enforcement. I've found that the ideas and tactics used by Abrashoff are relevant and effective today as they were in the 90's. Using 'It's Your Ship' as a guide has helped me and has definitely empowered my subordinates.

    • Chris Corbin

      Brian, I believe that each generation has something incredibly valuable to offer, even if at times I struggle to fully grasp exactly what is. I also believe that they look at us in as much of a confused manner as we do them, but that these differences are actually an incredible strength because of the diversity of thought captured by the combined generations. If we continue to embrace our differences, we will undoubtedly grow and succeed.

      • Curtis Summerlin

        Chris
        I believe you are right about the value found in the diversity and thought patterns of the newer generation. Every time I have the chance to sit and listen to some of the new people, I always learn something and am impressed

    • Jarod Primicerio

      I also had read this book prior to the National Command College. There are numerous takeaways that are very relevant to not only law enforcement, but life. I used several of the components and integrated them into my duties as I promoted through the ranks, specifically integrating a meeting with every employee on a regular basis to get to know them and their story. As a manager it is crucial you are somewhat aware of all the moving pieces and what your staff is going through both personally and professionally.

    • Steve Mahoney

      Brian, I agree. So often in law enforcement we do things the old way as that is the way it has always been done. We are afraid to try new news or even inspire those below us in rank to take initiative. I think we are afraid that it would look like we are incompetent as someone else came up with a better solution. I believe that we need to break this thought process and hopefully we will have the same results that Abrashoff had on the USS Benfold.

  • Brian Johnson

    It's your ship was a great read on leadership. I agree with Capt Abrashoff that we need to allow our people to come up with solutions to make things better and allow them to increase productivity and efficiency. Management by walking around isn't a new concept, but it is important for leaders to remember and understand the value. Getting to know your people isn't easy and it takes time-but the respect, appreciation, and support you will receive is priceless. He gives great advice explaining that you better be prepared to lead before you get promoted. We would all be wise by developing our people and preparing them to take on added responsibility. Why wouldn't we send line/support personnel to leadership/supervisory training? Do we believe that Every Officer (employee) is a leader? We should.

    • Nancy Franklin

      Brian, I agree that the story told by Abrashoff is one of great leadership. These are all simple concepts, but implementing them or putting them into practice is where many leaders fail. It is important to understand that leaders will make mistakes, but what is more important it that true leaders own up to those mistakes, take ownership and look for ways to improve. I agree that we need to work on developing our subordinates, in doing so they become more competent, confident and will undoubtedly be an asset to leadership.

    • Joey Prevost

      I tend to agree with you. I think if we treat every officer as they are a leader, we will be pleasantly surprised when they have the opportunity to become one. When I think of the best leaders I have served under, I remember the times when they allowed my to accomplish something in my own way. Those instances are not forgotten.

      • Denise Boudreaux

        I agree with you Joey and think that giving employees the opportunity to shine as potential leaders is key to their success. I also recall some of my best supervisors and how they allowed me to be part of decision making and allowed me to accomplish goals. They probably didn't know it but they were grooming me to become a leader. I try to extend this to all the employees that I supervise.

    • Jarvis Mayfield

      I agree. If the team takes part in the solution the quality of the work/solution will be better. The team takes pride in their finished product.

    • Samantha Reps

      I agree with getting staff into leadership courses to start to get them in the right mind frame. It would be a great opportunity to use it as a avenue to build confidence and trust with them.

    • Paul Brignac III

      I enjoyed the book as well. I am going to start reading "Its Our Ship" tonight. The Captain was not afraid to make changes, and obviously it served him well. Doing things like having 100 cases of beer brought on a Navy ship was probably risky, but he found a way, and his crew enjoyed beer on a barge. I think he used positive re-enforcement as his primary method of leadership.

      • Elliot Grace

        Paul, I enjoyed the book “It’s Your Ship” as well, my favorite moment was when it came time to refuel at sea and Captain Abrashoff had given his two crew members their first opportunity to refuel. He told his two crew members its time the three of us learned how indicating they were taking on a new task together. By not mentioning that he had done it before was a mark of genius as a leader.

    • Brent Olson

      Brian,

      We do send many of our officers and field training officers to Leadership in Police Organizations or similar courses. We recognize the value of developing future leadership but also allowing officers to learn skills to become better leaders themselves.

      I absolutely agree management by walking around is not a new concept, but it is definitely one that has time and again paid off. Several years ago, this was not something done by a prior management team in my agency. It was literally a common theme to not see department leadership (especially working nights) unless you were in significant trouble. Otherwise, all communication with them was generally via email. I very much strive to be a walking around leader as the most effective form of communication is face to face.

  • Kyle Turner

    I agree with the concept you mentioned Chris from Abrashoff's book of, "laying out the requirements and allowing staff to design the solution." It allows staff the opportunity to earn respect and learn from the process. Not to mention, it allows those in position of authority to identify the skills and abilities of their subordinates as well as which subordinates have the drive to take on additional responsibility. The difficulty comes from trusting others to accomplish the tasks given and, maybe more importantly, being able to clearly articulate what the desired outcome is. Both are opportunities to learn and should be embraced by the leader and the subordinate.

    • Miranda Rogers

      I enjoy being a part of the process of discussing the problem and then allowing the team freedom to come up with solutions.

  • Chris Corbin

    In the podcast featuring Captain Abrashoff, he speaks to the importance of "laying out the requirements and allowing staff to design the solution". While I have long practiced seeking input from the members of my team before undertaking new initiatives, I have less frequently provided them with the sidelines and goalposts and allowed them to design the solution. As Abrashoff shares, doing so gives your team the opportunity to earn "advanced respect", which is the respect earned by accomplishing something important and worthwhile in life and for your team. When I think back on the most meaningful accomplishments of my career, each one was made possible because someone gave me direction and expectations, and then allowed me to run my own race. I now see that I can take another step forward by offering my team the opportunity to do the same.

    • Brian Johnson

      Chris, we all have worked for someone that allowed us to make decisions and run the day to day operations. It gave us a sense of purpose, pride, and an unwavering commitment to accomplish the job and do it well!. As leaders, we need to foster that same atmosphere so those younger in the organization have the same opportunity to grow, develop, and fail forward. It's how we develop the next generations of leaders in our organization. Keep leading from the front!

      • Mitchell Lofton

        Brian, I agree with your statement. I often say part of our job is to teach someone else how to do it. For example as a Sergeant, I should be learning the Lieutenant's job as well as teaching patrol officers how to do my job. We must be investing in the future by investing in our people.

    • Brian Lewis

      Chris, thanks for posting about the podcast. I went back and listened to it and really enjoyed hearing Captain Abrashoff tell his story in his own words. And I really like the analogy of "sidelines and goalposts." It gives your subordinates the parameters to work in and the ultimate goal. The key is to give them the freedom and resources to find their way into the end zone.

    • Jack Gilboy

      Although it is a hard concept to get used to, being able to delegate responsibilities to your subordinates helps build the next generation of leaders. The proudest moments in my career have been when someone who worked under me gets promoted to a leadership position.