Monday, January 23, 2012

A letter from my former LPO (12DEC2011)

So is it AT1 now? Well, your email says otherwise. Get it fixed:-) Anyways, just wanted say congratulations on your cap to First. Well deserved. Obviously you did some things over there at 143 that impressed the leadership and they rewarded you accordingly. Take that for what it worth and continue to work your way up. Now, I gonna throw you a few bones that are not normally covered in PO1 indoc...

Learn to take your lumps. The hits are gonna come fast and hard in your pay grade now. You're going to be held accountable for just about everything and everyone under you. Whether you are the LPO or not, just by holding the rank as a First Class in a work center, you are expected to manage and lead.
And what I mean by learning to take you lumps is: learn to take those ass chewings. What most first classes don't understand is how to separate professional criticism from a personal attack. Once you learn that, you see that it's more about mental toughness than anything. As you show that mental toughness and the ability to correct your mistakes, you'll start to gain a lot of respect from your leadership and things may get a lot easier for you down the road.

Remember that senior leadership are people first. Some sailors tend think of senior leadership as being "Holy-er than thou," which is, as you know, far from true. Your leaders are no different from you and me...they're just holding a higher rank or position. And just like the people in this world, you have some good ones, some mediocre ones, and some terrible ones. Learning to deal with those different types of leadership has always been and continue to be a challenge. And yes, you will run into that Chief one day who doesn't like "women" leading men in the Navy, and he's gonna give you a hard time. Again, learning how to deal with these type of people is key, and they will eventually respect you as such.

And last but not least, your sailors. I'm sure you've already experienced it in the Second Class ranks, but it's even worse as you move up...competition and backstabbing. A lot of first classes tend to forget that their primary job is to LEAD sailors. That's why you're called "first line leaders." Most first classes get caught up in the eval process for making Chief and stray off course trying to do so. If you're taking on 4 collateral duties, going to school, but your shop is fucked up, then you've lost sight of your primary job. The Chief's mess has an eye for that type of stuff and you'll get picked apart when they see you. Another thing to keep in mind when you get that LPO job...You don't have to be the SME (subject matter expert) to lead a work center. All you need are 2 technically solid and strong second classes; one as you right-hand man to supervise the maintenance on days, and one to run nights. Don't consume yourself too deep into the maintenance part of the job that you lose your overall grip on the shop as a whole. And yes, it is okay for one of your second classes to be a little more technically inclined than you. Just learn all you can from them and in return, teach them how to manage/lead.

That concludes my "words of wisdom." Again, congrats on your CAP, and continue to do what you've been doing. No matter what path you decide to take, LDO or CPO, use this experience as a building block and set yourself up for success. Use your resources because it aint gonna get any easier (Bronson is learning that one right now:-)

ATC(AW) Kenneth S. Dewitt