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    Entitlement

    In his memoir/manifesto Turn the Ship Around, Captain David Marquet uses anecdotes from his tour as CO of an SSN to illustrate personal philosophies of leadership that served him well. One such anecdote, from a chapter titled “All Present and Accounted For,” recalls a scenario where a trusted Quartermaster unexpectedly went UA when the ship returned to port. Upon investigation, the Captain discovered that this sailor had gone 36 hours without sleep, due to an ill-timed confluence of Port and Starboard watches, drill sets, piloting briefs and the Maneuvering Watch (sound familiar, anyone?). Intriguingly, there were other sailors qualified to stand Quartermaster, but they were 'off the watchbill,' ostensibly to be available for the rarely needed senior watchstation 'Navigation Supervisor.' In reality, they were off the watchbill as a perk of seniority.

    In other words, there was no reason that the Quartermaster should be standing a grueling Port and Starboard rotation, aside from reinforcing the nauseating maxim 'rank hath its privileges.' The supervisors had no problem with this situation; the young Quartermaster, being the junior guy on the totem pole, was required to 'suck it up' as they all had when it was their turn. Although he was a bit late, the Captain recognized that his supervisors had a problem with 'entitlement,' and moved severely to correct the situation.

    A sense of entitlement can take many forms aboard a ship, none of them healthy or productive. Senior leaders can develop illusions of omnipotence, causing them to openly flout the regulations as a show of confidence and power. Junior Officers can routinely avoid the physical and dirty, rationalizing that adjusting border widths in Excel is a better use of their education than assisting in hauling shore power cables. Middle management, as in the example above, can be content with a comfortable lifestyle supported on the backs of their subordinates, convinced that they’ve earned the privilege. Even junior sailors can develop notions of entitlement; to going home at noon every Friday, for example, or to being provided an explanation for every order, justified in the manuals (where does it say I have to clean up that oil?).

    In all cases, a sense of entitlement is a form of excess; it is a perversion of an otherwise justified sentiment. Within reason, newly qualified watchstanders should stand a harder rotation than their seniors; they benefit from the experience, and their seniors (should) have a heavier divisional or departmental workload. Officers really shouldn’t spend too much time involved in the physical labor; their efforts are needed elsewhere. The Captain should indeed be able to do whatever he wants on his ship -- provided it is lawful. Rank certainly does have its privileges, but more often than not those privileges are functional to the real reward of rank: responsibility.

    “I’ve earned it…”
    In leaders, a sense of entitlement is a corrupting disease of the brain. It signals a cognitive handicap; a shift in motivations from duty and service to privilege and personal benefit. In nearly every case of ethical scandal by senior leaders (officer & enlisted), you’ll find an unchecked sense of entitlement at the source. Even in its more benign forms it is transparent to subordinates and corrosive to morale. Here’s the most important part of this post: We all carry this disease. It lies dormant, festering, waiting for just the right conditions to become malignant, take over and replace our personality with that of a terrible leader.

    So where do you draw the line between prudent exercise of privilege and entitlement? That’s difficult -- the conditions are varied and there’s a lot of room for opinion -- it is ultimately a situational judgment call. I fall back on Justice Potter Stewart’s famous test for discerning pornography from art: “I know it when I see it.” I think if you come across the words “privilege” or “I’ve earned it,” or more importantly if you find yourself using those words, then you’re probably already over the line and need to reevaluate. Be ever watchful for signs of entitlement, in your people and especially in yourself, and you’ll know it when you see it.

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    Re: Entitlement

    RHIP has it's place after it is EARNED.

    I think you have to continue to earn it everyday though. Mentor those Jr people, jump in and lend a hand when needed and above all teach those who will follow after you are gone.

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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    Re: Entitlement

    Quote Originally Posted by Vrake View Post
    RHIP has it's place after it is EARNED.

    I think you have to continue to earn it everyday though. Mentor those Jr people, jump in and lend a hand when needed and above all teach those who will follow after you are gone.
    You are right about that. That word mentor reminds me of those flag officers who make six figures in salary after they retire working for defense contractors. There seems to be a shortage of real mentors in the military. The military has a lot of formal courses on leadership which is a change from 40 years ago. I don't think it has helped. I don't believe leadership can be taught in the classroom or by reading about it in books. Years ago there was true mentorship by seniors, but it seems somewhere along the line that was curtailed. Technology has not helped either. Computer based training has taken a lot of the personal interaction out of teaching, and is a problem in and of itself.

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    Re: Entitlement

    Quote Originally Posted by BURAWSKI View Post
    Technology has not helped either. Computer based training has taken a lot of the personal interaction out of teaching, and is a problem in and of itself.
    You have struck the nail on the head. Since coming in the Navy 10 years ago, I have always been disappointed on the reliance of CBT's or one big group/command briefing for topics that really would be more effectively taught (and likely better taught) by Chiefs exercising deckplate leadership / mentorship of Sailors -- many of my most memorable learning experiences in the Marines was in a 'school circle' gathered around a knowledgable NCO or SNCO ... but that is not as easy to track and report in TORIS / TFOM. The result is the subject is impersonal and quickly forgotten and the training becomes a 'check in the box' before the next evolution.

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    Senior Member AJBIGJ's Avatar
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    Re: Entitlement

    This mentality is rampant on an Aircraft Carrier. On mine, the policy is E-9, W-4+, and O-6 gets out of the duty section rotation (which I have no problem with by the way). Sometimes though, since many of the officer community fall under the LDO/CWO variety, those who do not meet the requirements but have a few years in service love to try to "hide" from the watch rotations and will spend literally months onboard before becoming an official part of the duty section. In a sense, unless you are a CDO/ACDO, which tends to fall under separate guidelines, the worst position to find yourself is the most senior position positions in the duty section like the Officer and Enlisted Section leaders, which hold extra responsibilities, stand all the duty, and frequently stand the watches as well. This is with the exception of Nukes, who suffice it to say earn their bonuses!
    "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Entitlement

    While I do agree with the post, I've been saying this for awhile now: over the past decade, the word "entitlement" (in the pejorative sense) is probably THE most overused word in the English language.

    I could have expressed the exact same sentiments as this guy, but without using the word "entitlement."

    Okay, now that that rant is out of the way... rank DOES need to have privileges, as the lack of privileges will undermine the authority of those who have it. I watched it happen with the reduced manning on destroyers that started in 2005. Even before that, Third Classes knew this better than anyone else - they may be Petty Officers, but they still get sent cranking and pulping, and everything else that those junior to them do. As a result, E3 and below still saw them as peers and treated them accordingly.

    After 2005? Today, the Second Class is the new Third Class... and if the Navy is still headed in the same direction at the same speed as it was when I got out in 2011, First Classes may now hold that spot. The Navy appears to be all about IYAKYAS (the K stands for khaki) now.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
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    Senior Member BURAWSKI's Avatar
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    Re: Entitlement

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Jones View Post
    While I do agree with the post, I've been saying this for awhile now: over the past decade, the word "entitlement" (in the pejorative sense) is probably THE most overused word in the English language.

    I could have expressed the exact same sentiments as this guy, but without using the word "entitlement."

    Okay, now that that rant is out of the way... rank DOES need to have privileges, as the lack of privileges will undermine the authority of those who have it. I watched it happen with the reduced manning on destroyers that started in 2005. Even before that, Third Classes knew this better than anyone else - they may be Petty Officers, but they still get sent cranking and pulping, and everything else that those junior to them do. As a result, E3 and below still saw them as peers and treated them accordingly.

    After 2005? Today, the Second Class is the new Third Class... and if the Navy is still headed in the same direction at the same speed as it was when I got out in 2011, First Classes may now hold that spot. The Navy appears to be all about IYAKYAS (the K stands for khaki) now.
    The CO/CMC firings all seem to have a common denominator when it comes to this issue. A misplaced sense of entitlement. Most don't start out that way I'm sure. But the road to hell was paved with good intentions. Some succumb to temptation when they reach a certain paygrade, even though it might not have been their nature. It happens. And yes I know they should know better and have better judgment but the human factor will always be an issue. I think more face to face mentoring with regard to training would help. There are some things that don't improve with technology, and training is one of them. There are many reasons why individual or even group training by a seasoned petty officer, chief or commissioned officer is more advantageous (and not necessarily in a formalized classroom environment, either). The other issue is bigger in that our world is constantly changing, and along with it so is the Navy. The Navy of 1978 does not resemble the Navy of 2014, some better and a lot worse. What I mean by that is micromanagement, from my perspective, has become progressively worse.

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    Re: Entitlement

    RHIP has its place, until it is abused.

    For instance, one time, during our work up period, the engineering and reactor departments were scheduled to start steaming watches, in preparation for getting underway, on a Monday. I had a camping trip scheduled for the weekend, returning on Sunday afternoon, so should not have been affected by it......until the schedule changed, and we were informed that we would be going into the steaming schedule starting Saturday, instead (2 days earlier than originally scheduled).

    I was a little pissed off that I was going to miss the camping trip, but understood that sh*t happens, and was resigned to deal with it. That is, until I saw a discrepancy on the watchbill, that the chief had missed when he approved it. So I put in a leave chit, for Saturday and Sunday, and handed it to my LPO. He told me the standard, "You can't do this!", and I reminded him that the way it works is, he doesn't approve or disapprove, he only recommends the approval or disapproval, but signs it, irregardless of his recommendation. He signed it, and I hand carried it to the chief, who told me the same thing. That's when I dropped the bombshell on him.

    You see, our illustrious watchbill petty officer, no saint by any stretch of the imagination, had "forgotten" to write himself into the schedule for weekend steaming watches, and was planning on spending HIS weekend at home, while the rest of his shipmates stood steaming watches. Since the ONLY reasons they can deny you leave, is for (a) legal hold reasons, or (b) situations when allowing you to go on leave would force your work center to go to less than 3-section duty rotation, I was good to go. The chief knew it, he was more than a little pissed that his watchbill petty officer had pulled that stunt, and he recommended approval, and hand carried the leave request the remainder of the way up the chain of command, returning it to me as approved all the way up.

    Unfortunately, I didn't get the pleasure of seeing the expression on the face of our watchbill PO, when he was informed he was standing steaming watches that weekend, since I was going on leave.....but I sure did enjoy that camping trip!

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