In peace time, I always keep my eyes open for a great leader. I had known a few great leaders during my time in the Navy, but I knew a few that knew nothing of their “underlings”. I can also say that I knew a supervisors and managers that were decent leaders in my current years. I had pondered the things that I remembered the most about many of my interactions. But I remembered the negative interactions more than the great ones.
I knew of a petulant officer that only would speak in a borderline “squealy” manner. He would find reasons to mostly gripe about things outside of his personal taste, instead of worrying about matters of shipboard importance. He would pick “fights” to make himself seem more aggressive or more in charge. This officer became a bit of a punchline. He was skilled but not skilled at dealing with the men below him. His scolding served no purpose. (I seldom knew of him to congratulate anyone when good news or accomplishments fell upon us).
On the opposite side, I knew of a manager that was diplomatic with his complaints, making them an opportunity to help us correct a skill or scheduling defect. He didn’t make anyone laugh at him. He is someone that I still hold in high esteem to this day. The men in our unit didn’t desire to make a fool of him and we did our best to run things when he was gone. His praise was calmy given and honored when proffered.
Just like the times mentioned, I had at least one more example of a “rear echelon” leader that was “feared” more than respected. He would show up to bitch and complain about money, (noted that he received large bonuses for cutting corners and being cheap). He seldom if ever was there to thank “the troops” for completing our tasks on time and within budget. This manager would passively gripe about things that he saw. His words did not elicit much of a response from team leads. I believe that this was something that happened often, which was capped off by a disaster made by people outside of our group. He summoned 12 plus people to answer for something that we blatantly had nothing to do with it. We stood around as he griped, showing that he didn’t know what kind of work we actually did. We drove off when one person shut a valve.
For some reason, all of these interactions came into light when I read an interaction between Hannibal Barca and Gisgo :
A Carthaginian officer (Gisgo) spoke about how big the Roman army was.
Hannibal responded with:
“There is one thing, Gisgo, yet more astonishing which you take no notice of…in all those great numbers before us, there is not one man called Gisgo”