Forget your politics. Just for a moment - I will.
Look at the below - then read it all.
“My grandfather, who commanded a carrier task force in the Pacific during WWII, lived large and was always larger than life to me. He rolled his own cigarettes, smoked constantly, swore and drank more than he should have. He was known as one of the Navy’s best cussers, probably not the sort of recognition one would want today. ‘Slew’ was his call sign. James Michener described him in Tales of the South Pacific as ‘an ugly old aviator’ but he was more than that, especially to his men. He was revered for his gregarious, salty attitude, and for his keen interest in his sailors and their thoughts on just about any subject. He made it a point to talk with pilots after they returned from a strike, asking them, ‘Do you think we’re doing the right thing?’ Here was a 3-star admiral, taking time during the course of war to receive honest feedback from men under his command. My grandfather knew that if you ever stopped learning, especially from your men, then you also stopped leading. And he knew how to lead.Verily.
“Today, we hear a lot about ‘management’ and not enough about leadership. That worries me. One thing of which I am certain – there is a great difference between managers and leaders. Good managers are plentiful – in fact, our nation graduates over 150,000 MBAs ever year. But true leaders are rare. And believe me, there is a difference
--Leaders inspire people; managers, well, they “manage” people and assets.
--Leaders think about protecting and promoting their people; managers think about protecting their own careers.
--Leaders take charge and accept responsibility; managers often pass the buck to higher authority for fear of making a wrong decision.
--Leaders take risks when necessary; managers are taught to avoid risks whenever possible.
“Ronald Reagan was a leader – Jimmy Carter was a manager.
“My father – who was not an aviator but knew something about leadership – used to say that technical experts are a ‘dime a dozen’. You can always find a man who can tell you how many foot-pounds of force are in a piston, or what the aerodynamic effects on a plane will be at a certain airspeed and altitude. But, he said, ‘The business of leadership is another matter entirely. It’s one of the most difficult subjects there is – to inspire in people subordinate to you, the desire to do a better job.’ That is where true leadership trumps management – in the art of inspiring others to perform far beyond their self-imposed limits.
“In recent years, I have often wondered if we have forgotten some of the more salient lessons of history, particularly as they apply to the development and selection of our military leaders. Have we allowed ourselves to be knocked off course to the point that we strive now to produce the ‘ideal manager’ rather than the next generation of true leaders? Have we focused too much on the strategy and tactics of the battle – and not enough on the leadership skills of those who really decided the outcome, not just at Midway, but at countless other critical battles throughout the past century?
“I am at heart, and always will be, a Naval Aviator. It was my first profession and will always be my favorite. And just in case there is someone here tonight who does not understand why I place so much emphasis on leadership over management, let me be clear. The very nature of our profession demands it. No manager, however competent, will ever be able to inspire people to endure the hardships and make the sacrifices that we all know must come with Naval Aviation. Enduring those hardships and making those sacrifices is the price we pay for the privilege of defending our great nation.
Hat tip Paul.
UPDATE: Having slept on it ... I've had a few thoughts. All this happened on his watch. Ditto Webb. Even though John Lehman (interesting article in last month's USNI Proceedings) has been out of power - he hasn't lost influence.
The CAPT today were junior officers in Tailhook. Many of the Flag Officers were LCDR and above - they got the message just fine. No one stood up for them when things were tough. If you think "we" as a Navy have lost something - then look to yourselves. You allowed outside - and inside - forces use the officer corps as their own little socio/political experiment. You let the bullies win. Where were you?