Emerging Leaders Program

ACE Track: Emerging Leaders

ICLD 1.7 It’s Your Ship: Discussion Board

Instructor: Dr. Mitch
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 


  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system.

  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system.

  • I enjoyed Michael Abrashoff’s It’s Your Ship, and found several valuable lessons demonstrated through the sharing of his experiences.

    The first was “learning to think like his boss,” which exemplifies the concept of managing up. If we can learn to foresee and proactively provide what our bosses need and expect, we are not only positioning ourselves for success, but our boss as well.

    The second was learning to “see the ship through the crew’s eyes,” enabling him to more effectively lead down. If we can earn the trust of our subordinates and learn about what motivates them, we will build positive relationships that will allow us to achieve our shared goals as a team.

    It’s Your Ship was an enjoyable read, and I’ll recommend it to others.

    • I agree that being able to understand your supervisor’s expectations and goals is just as important as being able to motivate your subordinates by being there with them and being a part of what they do. Trust that you are making the correct choices in the eyes of you supervisor so that you are able to protect youself and your subordinates.

    • Earning trust from your people is the foundation to a successful relationship. It’s like running a company. The customer has to believe in you and your product to have a successful company. Trust is something that is evolving and fluid. Trust is something that is nearly impossible to get back once it’s lost. I found that the most effective way to earn trust from a subordinate is the make a personal connection.

    • I also saw great value in the mind set of “thinking like your boss”. It is not only a good way to make your own work more efficient, but can also help with your own men. I think it is crucial for you to take an objective review of how you interact with your men and how they view you in order to better serve them.

  • I like that Captain Abrashoff related work as “Fun” while working. He was able empower his subordinates with making routine tasks fun by whatever means, as long as they did not compromise safety, productivity, or breaking unnecessary rules. By doing this, he was able to motivate his crew to figure out ways to get the job done easier and more efficient, while eventually turning his ship into the one with the highest morale. I feel that having a sense of pride and being able to have fun while working is extremely important. If your having fun while working, you don’t always notice you are actually working. After some time, I as no longer having fun. It took a different perspective to change my mindset and remember what made this job fun again. That can transfer downhill and uphill depending on where you are in the hierarchy of things.

    • Yes! Fun at work is one of the most important aspects of leadership. Hopefully this is how I lead you, too! I believe that when your subordinates enjoy their job, they do well in their jobs. No one likes the guy who comes into work sour and never really wanting to get involved in anything. Having to wake up every morning and go to a job you hate, sucks. Once you make work a comfortable place to be, some place you can have fun and enjoy, work is no longer work.

    • Work should always be work when it comes down to it. Being able to have fun at work is even better. Enjoy the career you choose to have and make the best of it with your team members around you.

  • My favorite element of Cmdr. Abrashoff’s idea on leadership was his willingness and encouragement of taking risks. In our job, in law enforcement, we attribute that sometimes to “creating case law.” Which is mostly a joke, but some times true. Statutes, Rules, Regulations, Orders, Policies… these are all things that are written over YEARS, decades, centuries. They will never be perfected and must be challenged constantly to make sure they are right, ethical, moral, and able to be followed. Even still, years later, we find there is some leeway in the way we handle our day to day obligations. Taking risks and moving forward with ideas that might not be commonplace, but not immoral or unethical, is how we achieve progress.

    • Good point, but case law is not always negative. Operating in the gray area can create positive case law for officers. On top of that, case law can always be updated, so just cause there is case law shouldn’t prohibit you from pushing the boundaries.

    • Sometimes individuals may believe that since the policies and procedures are put in place there is no way of thinking differently. This is where the phrase “we have always done it that way” comes from, however, if members don’t think outside of the box and the leaders don’t listen to other ways of completing tasks then there isn’t any room for growth. The world around us is constantly evolving and we have to use all of our resources to ensure that we are doing the job to our best ability and efficiently. I also liked how he asks his members if he was creating unnecessary work. This allows the leader to determine if change is needed or explain to the members why the task must be completed this way. This shows the members that the leader is looking out for their best interests but when his hands are tied it provides the members with the knowledge of why it must continue this way.

  • I like that Commander Abrashoff went to his crew and got to know his members. I feel like it is a key component of being an effective leader. As a subordinate it makes you feel less of an employee that just works and unappreciated if they never come around nor talk to you. It is nice to be able to see the boss who’s in charge come around once in a while and just ask how you’re doing or how’s the family. Of course staying within boundaries of not going too far into conversation play in affect too.

    • I have to agree that there has to be some boundaries between supervisors and the members. It is very important to establish relationships with your members and to get to know them as individuals and what motivates them. However, as a leader you don’t want to cross that line to where you are viewed more as a friend then a leader. This could be difficult to enforce the rules or they may not feel they need to follow direction or orders.

  • I found it very interesting that President Lincoln and Captain Abrashoff came from two different times but had the same basic concept regarding leadership. One of the quotes that I liked from Captain Abrashoff was about getting inside your bosses head and anticipate what they want before they know they want it. Take on their problems and make them look so good that you become indispensable. When they can’t get along without you, they will support nearly anything you wish to accomplish (2017). I laughed when I read this because I do this without realizing what the end result would be. When asked to complete a project I always try to anticipate what other questions would be asked and provide additional information they may need. I always thought of it as trying to provide additional information that I felt would be useful, I never really viewed it as making them look good to their bosses because they already had the answers they were going to ask them. Which in turn would provide me the ability to create information with little oversight. This sounds like a true win win situation for all involved.
    Benthin, G. (2017). The narrow road of leadership. 1.7, Week # 3. National Command and Staff College. Retrieved fromhttps://cloud.scorm.com/content/

  • In reading the book I felt like Captain Abrashoff looked up to Dr. Perry like Abraham Lincoln’s men may have look up to him. They share a very similar leadership style that rewards individual effort and takes “being in the thick of it” to heart. Just as Lincoln would leave the comforts of his office to mingle with less senior officers and see their views, Perry would also “rough it” if a situation called for him to go where he was needed to act with his men. I think they both exemplified “Leading by Example” and their men respected them more for it, because if they could do it, there is no excuse that they could not.

    It is a great morale booster to have a leader that will actively participate in company goals and not just “lead by email” as some are more accustomed to.

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