Naval Captain Chapter Summary

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The book is about a naval captain who took control of an underperforming naval vessel, the U.S.S. Benfold. The ship had the resources it needed to be productive, but the crew of 310 were inefficient at their work and had a strenuous relationship with their previous captain. Captain D. Michael Abrashoff knew self improvement was essential to the betterment of his ship. Aware that he must take initiative fostering positive change, he began improving his own practices and led by example. His crew soon followed his leadership and became hard-working, responsible workers and helped make the ship one of the most efficient in the U.S. Navy. Throughout the book, the captain relates all of his experience to elements of business management.

In the first chapter, Abrashoff discusses his entry into the captain’s position. He stresses the importance of respect, trust and effectiveness in a leader. He found from military exit surveys that the biggest reason sailors were leaving the navy was a lack of respect or dignity from their superiors. Sailors want to be listened to and trusted with a higher burden of responsibility. Abrashoff then set his sights on rectifying these complaints. His guiding principle was to see daily activities from the perspective of his crew.
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Abrashoff found that when he built up his crew and made them feel accomplished, both their morale and his were immensely boosted and lead to an increase in productive output. His leadership strategy was built around boosting self-esteem and creating an environment where everyone felt important. Also, it’s important to build up your superiors. If they see you as essential to their performance, they’ll support you in your every goal. Help newbies and make them feel welcome. Abrashoff noted that that new recruits became productive rather quickly when treated with dignity and respect. Be encouraging towards underperformers and help them plan ways to improve their

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