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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens, left, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert discussed leadership in a 30-minute, Navy-produced video released Friday. (Navy)
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The Navy offers multiple leadership development programs for officer and enlisted alike, but when asked their advice for those leading sailors at any level, the Navy’s leadership kept it simple.
“Be bold, be confident, but be accountable,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert said during a 30-minute video interview on leadership, recorded earlier this month at the Pentagon and released Friday on the Navy’s official YouTube page.
Greenert was joined by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens, who also offered a three-pronged approach: “Work hard every single day, no matter what the job is”; “stay out of trouble”; and “be a good and decent person to yourself, to your shipmates, to your friends and to your family.”
Stevens cited his newly released CPO 365 training guidance and a plan to expanded the role of the Senior Enlisted Academy as recent initiatives to help improve enlisted leadership. But he acknowledged recent failures; two command master chiefs have been removed from their jobs so far this year.
“Any misconduct, especially when it comes to senior leaders, is disturbing, and it bothers me a great deal,” Stevens said. “I have to recognize that it happens. I have to work with leadership to figure out how we’re going to prevent these types of incidents from occurring in the future.”
Greenert cited oversized ego and failure to manage stress as reasons for leadership problems. Another possible trouble spot, per Stevens: An unwillingness to learn from throughout the ranks.
“We should never think or believe that because we’re more senior, that we have a monopoly on leadership, because our juniors or our subordinates, in many cases, can teach us just as much as our seniors,” Stevens said.
And a good book may not hurt, either.
Both CNO and MCPON espoused the value of reading to improve one’s leadership ability. Greenert cited history lessons that could be imparted by works surrounding the War of 1812 or World War II naval battles, while Stevens said his decision to crack open a book for 15 minutes a day more than a decade ago, while stationed in Puerto Rico, led to a lifelong reading habit and “opened up my mind.”
“It got me thinking about things that I otherwise wouldn’t have typically thought about,” he said.
The interview is the latest in the Navy’s “Conversation with a Shipmate” series, the last of which featured MCPON and CNO speaking from the deployed aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman over the Thanksgiving holiday.
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