EDAD 506 Expert Group One - It's Your Ship - Week 3

Category: Education

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Submitted by Tim Allen, John Jones, Laurie Paldino-Pauline, and Dedric Roundtree


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Expert Group One It’s Your Ship b y Michael Abrashoff Submitted by Tim Allen John Jones Laurie Paldino-Pauline Dedric Roundtree 5/24/12

Captain Michael Abrashoff:

Captain Michael Abrashoff Without the ability to hire, fire, or promote his crew, Captain Michael Abrashoff had to rely solely on his unique style of leadership to turn one of the navy’s most underperforming ships, the USS Benfold , into one of its best. In It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy, he recalls the experiences that form the basis of his hands-on management style, which is as useful in corporate America as it is in the military. Captain Abrashoff’s leadership skills have been honed through a number of challenging roles. Prior to commanding the USS Benfold , he served as the military assistant to Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, another leader who exemplifies the transactional leadership style (Abrashoff, 2002). 2 President Bill Clinton (left) and Secretary of Defense William J. Perry (right) are escorted by Col. David H. Huntoon, U.S. Army, as they inspect troops on January 14, 1997. Public Domain.

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3 The 4 – 5 qualities in my leader I most admired were… Self Awareness – Captain Abrashoff took one of the poorest performing ships in the navy and made it one of the best (if not the best) by focusing first on changing his leadership style. Without this self awareness, his first priority would have been addressing his crew’s performance issues or the navy’s antiquated policies. Inspiring – When Captain Abrashoff‘s ship, USS Benfold , started to become known for its successes, its captain did not claim all of the credit for himself. Instead, he allowed his crew to bask in the recognition and, in doing so, motivated them to work harder to achieve more notoriety for themselves, their ship, and their captain. Humbleness – Captain Abrashoff never put his rank before a good idea. I f anyone had a good idea supported by sound research, it was worth trying. Efficient - There are three ways to do things; there is a right way, a wrong way, and the way that gets the best results. Captain Abrashoff always chose to complete a task with the least amount of time being squandered, the least amount of tax payers’ dollars being wasted, and with the proficiency necessary to achieve a lasting legacy for the betterment of the organization. Commitment – Captain Abrashoff was determined to make the Benfold the best ship in the US Navy along with developing his crew. He found ways to obtain the needed support from his superiors while gaining the respect of his crew.

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4 The 2 – 3 deficiencies exhibited by my leader I least admired were… Lack of Self-worth Lack of Confidence As with most military officers and enlisted alike, due to their lack of experience Captain Abrashoff displayed a lack of self-worth and confidence in his early years as a junior officer. The only experience he had to draw from was from the academy. I’d label my leader as best exemplifying the transactional leadership style because he created an atmosphere where his subordinates knew what was expected of them (perfection above and beyond the call of duty), the rewards for complying (advancement and self gratification), and the punishments for failing (disciplinary actions) all of which were clearly articulated and accepted. The framework of the rigid, hierarchical leadership structure necessary in any military organization made this leadership style a requirement, as well as a necessity. a). A second valuable lens on the leadership style of this leader is situational leadership. Capt. Abrashoff seized every situation to not only improve the Benfold, but his crew. Sometimes he would act against his better judgment in the hope that the risk that he was taking would not only improve the operational effectiveness of the Benfold , but also the crew as individuals.

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5 The best quote from the book that captures the essence of my leader is . . . “Trust is like a bank account---you have got to keep making deposits if you want it to grow. On occasion things will go wrong and you will have to make a withdrawal. Meanwhile, it is sitting in the bank earning interest.” (Abrashoff, 2002, p. 65) The three words I would use to describe the character of my leader are… Innovative Disciplined Dedicated The one “value” I would ascribe to my leader is… Achiever The one sentence I would use to summarize the ethics of my leader would be… Captain Abrashoff humbly, dared to make the changes that no one else ever thought of changing all the while allowing his crew the opportunity to learn their self worth and self value.


References Abrashoff, D. M. (2002). It's your ship: Management techniques from the best damn ship in the Navy . New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. Perry, William J. [Photograph]. (1997). U.S. Department of Defense Photo Archive. (970114-D-2987S-001). Retrieved from http://www.defense.gov/photos/newsphoto.aspx?newsphotoid=531 6

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