XO/OIC Leadership Lessons Learned

Re: XO/OIC Leadership Lessons Learned

Postby yoshi » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:38 pm

Wanted to hold off on replying to this until well finished with a little bit of time passed. Working off your original questions:
- What was your experience as an XO/OIC (positive, negative, neutral, crazy)?
very positive experience and crazy. an xo or oic job (my experience) is a job unlike any other. it is distinguished by the reality that you are directly responsible for Sailors - all of them, not just a division, department. there is no on else to turn to. i echo comevil's comments on mentors and others in a like position. their input can be very helpful. still it is important to keep in mind that each of our commands/detachments are unique and what works in one place may not work in another. truly understanding your command/detachment AND ITS PEOPLE is critical.

- Did your experience line up with expectations? What surprised you?
Did not line up with expectations at all. had no idea we were spread across hundreds of miles in a foreign country, no idea we were the single element working tactical military mission. had no idea we would double in size in 12 months, had no idea we would need to secure barracks, office space, etc, etc on our own. i assumed there would be a plan for those types of things, rather than just having to figure it out. the lesson here is be ready for ANYTHING and recognize when you need to think way outside the box.

- What was the most challenging aspect of the job?
lack of time, lack of personnel fit/fill for enabling billets, geographic dispersion of personnel, coordination required with parent command (nineteen hours behind us) for budget/certain approvals (emergency leave), and continuity killing one year tours for E5 and above. also, centralized distribution of manning and the process for simple manning changes (such as BCRs) is cumbersome and lengthy; it struggles for viability unless proposed change is a huge priority for C10F, IFOR, and the element in question. With C10F retaining some aspects of the MTE process, it involves more people, multiple commands, and is more complicated.

- How did you prepare?
i read up on the detachment, talked to the two people i could find who had previously served there. this helped a little, but the changes which occurred during my time in the seat were so significant that my preparation was OBE within the first month of arriving.

- Knowing what you know now, would you prepare differently? Is there anything else you'd do differently?
i'm not sure what else i would have done to prepare. Certainly there are things i would do differently - hindsight is 20/20. as a piece of advice, i would offer that anyone going into an OIC job should be ready to make decisions - big decisions - as soon as they arrive. i'm not sure this is necessarily the case everywhere, but it certainly was in my case. talk with the CO (whether you are an XO or OIC) and make very sure you are clear on CDR's intent and desired endstate. And, if you are an OIC, consider what your detachment should be doing, what it should become in order to best execute mission, meet CDR's intent, and be most useful to the Navy. it's easy to show up and preside over an element as it does the same things it has done for decades. but, there are always improvements and changes which must be made - it's the only way to ensure topical effort and relevance.
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Re: XO/OIC Leadership Lessons Learned

Postby Sum1 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:42 am

Thank you for coming back to the topic and sharing your insights/experiences.
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