Many of my clients this week and last have reported challenges with co-workers. I thought it was time to refer to those gurus of leadership, the folks in the Leadership Dept. at the Naval Academy.
There have been many who have written about Naval Leadership, but few have made it accessible to corporate America. One of the few, is Brad Johnson, who is a professor in the Leadership, Ethics, and Law Dept. at the Academy.
In his book, Becoming a Leader the Annapolis Way, Brad (who, in full disclosure, is one of my former professors at Johns Hopkins) writes about the 12 essentials for leadership and does a remarkable job in the Chapter entitled, “Shipmates First.” Here is an excerpt from that...
“Never bilge a shipmate...p.134
Not only is an Academy midshipmen bound to keep track of his or her shipmates, there is also a clear prohibition against doing anything to take advantage of, get one over on, or bring a shipmate to the attention of superiors in a negative way. Such behavior is considered “bilging a shipmate” and it is ardently avoided. One can also bilge a shipmate by neglecting to provide important information or by failing to help a shipmate correct an obvious problem before it comes to the attention of an officer or upperclassman.”
Conclusion of the chapter, p.141...
“Leaders have an obligation to their shipmates. Excellent leaders see themselves as servants of their people. Part of serving through leadership is acceptance of the obligation to sacrifice for others. This is the burden of command...Nonetheless, the most mature and successful leaders manage to reframe this obligation as opportunity....”
The burden of leadership is also its opportunity. No matter how many times you have been thrown under the bus by a colleague, it is never the highest best choice of a fine leader to reciprocate.