People with initiative are always needed in the naval
service. Initiative is evidence of an open and alert mind.
Individuals with initiative continually look for better
ways to do things; they dont wait for another person to
take action. To be a good supervisor, you must show
initiative. Dont put off until tomorrow what you should
do today. If you see an unsafe condition, take action to
correct it before an accident occurs. If you see that a new
form or procedure would simplify a job, devise the new
form or procedure. If you see an inadequacy in yourself,
try to overcome the inadequacy. Weak people lack
initiative. Leaders are characterized by strong initiative.
Leaders are able
complaint heard from
decision from them.
to make decisions. A common
subordinates is, You cant get a
Most of the decisions that must be made by
supervisors in the naval service concern relatively minor
actions. As often as not, the subordinates merely want
the supervisors approval to perform some action that
they already know should be done. A prompt go ahead
from the supervisor is all that is needed. In many trivial
matters, it makes little difference whether an answer is
yes or no. The important thing is to give an answer. The
supervisor who stalls, puts off, evades, or refuses to give
a decision is a bottleneck.
Of course, there are times when a decision requires
careful consideration of many factors and, therefore,
much deliberation. In such cases, you should tell the
person when to return for the decision and see to it that
you have the decision.
TACT AND COURTESY
Good leaders are habitually tactful and courteous.
Whether in the shop or in the office, supervisors can be
thoughtful of others without being considered weak.
Tact can be defined as saying and doing the right
thing at the right time. It is the lubricating oil in human
relationships. It is the regard for the feelings of others
based on an understanding of human naturethe little
considerations that make the job pleasant and smooth.
Courtesy can be defined as treating others with
respect. It means treating people as important human
beings, not tools to be used for your convenience. It
means following the accepted rules of conduct and being
polite. Courtesy is important to the supervisor. One
discourteous act, even though unintentional, can make
an enemyand the supervisor cannot afford to have
enemies. If you have one enemy, you have one too many.
Remember, courtesy is contagious.
The personnel in a shop or crew are extremely
sensitive to partiality by the supervisor. (They will even
single out little incidents where there was absolutely no
intent to show favoritism.) To avoid causing problems,
you must think ahead on changes to be made, decisions
to be handed down, work to be assigned,
recommendations for promotion, and the like. In each
instance you must try to make sure that your actions are
both fair and impartial.
SINCERITY AND INTEGRITY
You should deal with your personnel squarely and
honestly at all times. This will win and hold their respect.
Talk to your crew on a one-to-one basis. Dont be afraid
to face the facts and say what you think. You often hear,
Give me the person who looks you straight in the eye
and tells the truth every time ! A reputation for being a
square shooter is worth every effort on your part.
Consistency of thought and action are important if
your personnel are going to know where they stand.
Being too strict one day and too lax the next is worse
than being consistently strict or consistently lax. Try not
to exhibit good and bad moods to your crew. Your crew
tends to reflect your attitudes. Exhibit a firm and positive
attitude-and be consistent.
Dependability, one of the marks of integrity,
involves meeting obligations promptly. A reputation for
being on time, every time is worth every effort on your
part. Build this reputation early, even before you become
a supervisor, and maintain it. Any violation of
dependability or integrity will cast serious doubts upon
your ability to act as a responsible supervisor. One
violation of integrity may take months (or forever) to
A great part of your job will involve instructing
personnel in one way or another. Even the giving of
orders is a form of instruction. You should learn and
practice the art of public speaking, the principles of
on-the-job instruction, and the techniques of conference
leadership. Supervisors who cannot stand on their feet
and express their ideas to an individual or a group of