be dealing with higher level supervisors and, therefore,
must assume a followership role. You are a connecting
link between the workers and the higher level
supervisors within the chain of command.
3. Followership and leadership skills are similar.
The skills required of you in a followership or
leadership role are similar in many ways. For example,
whether you are a leader or a follower, you should strive
to create harmony, togetherness, and a sense of
belonging within your particular work group. At times
both roles require you to train others in the development
of technical skills necessary to meet group or mission
goals or both. You can accomplish this training through
on-the-job training (OJT), general military training
(GMT), or formal classroom training.
Your role, as a follower or as a leader, determines
the use of these skills. For example, as a follower you
show harmony (high morale) by your attitude,
cooperativeness, and esprit de corps. In the leadership
role, you show and promote harmony by exercising
sound leadership principles.
Knowing the basics of leadership, having the
personal qualities of a good leader, and being a good
follower are all necessary ingredients in the art of
leadership. However, if you haphazardly combine
these ingredients, you will decrease your effectiveness
as a leader. To be a good leader, you must blend these
ingredients in the proper proportions.
By accepting advancement in rate, you have
expressed a willingness to accept the responsibilities
and carry out the delegated authority of your new
position. The crow on your sleeve symbolizes that
responsibility and the authority that goes with the
Exercise of authority is inseparable from an
acceptance of responsibility. The granting of authority
helps you fulfill your assigned duties and
People unaccustomed to accepting responsibility
are hesitant to make decisions for fear of being wrong.
You should recognize that as a natural feeling.
However, you must make decisions even if they are
wrong on occasion. When you realize you have made a
wrong decision, admit your mistake, accept the
responsibility, and take steps to avoid repeating the
error. That will increase the respect of others toward
you as a leader.
New petty officers often make two major mistakes;
they may supervise too little or too much. Petty officers
who supervise too little may continue to perform their
duties as a specialist, an operator of equipment, or a
maintenance technicianand nothing else. You may
find yourself making the same mistake. You may be
sticking to your old job and avoiding any effort to
supervise and instruct others in lower rates. You may
either ignore or be afraid to take over your
responsibilities of leadership. By making this mistake,
you shortchange the Navy and yourself. The Navy did
not advance you to give you more pay for the same
work; it expects you to practice your increased skills
and knowledges by supervising and instructing others.
The other mistake made by new petty officers is
that they supervise but do little else. Some people think
supervision consists of ordering subordinates to do all
the work while they sit back and do nothing. You
should be as careful to avoid supervising too much as
you should be to avoid supervising too little.
Supervisors who wont dirty their hands on occasion
are more of a liability than an asset because morale
problems are certain to develop.
Now consider some of the broader aspects of your
increasing leadership responsibilities:
EXTEND BOTH UP AND DOWN THE CHAIN OF
COMMAND. Both officer and enlisted personnel will
expect you to translate general orders into detailed,
practical, on-the-job language even relatively
inexperienced personnel can understand and follow. In
dealing with your subordinates, see that they perform
their work properly. At the same time, explain to your
superiors any important needs or problems of your
YOU WILL BE REGULARLY AND
TRAINING. Even if you are lucky enough to have a
highly skilled and well-trained work group, you will
still find training is necessary. For example, you will
always be responsible for training lower-rated
personnel for advancement and training inexperienced
or poorly trained personnel. You also may need to train
personnel for a particular job requiring skills none of
your personnel have. You will need to conduct
additional training when you get new hardware and new
people who have not been trained on certain equipment.
Since these and similar problems will require your
involvement in some training, prepare to conduct
formal and informal training programs.