10 January 2019
The Relationship Between New Officers and Their Chiefs
When officers get newly commissioned, they’re referred to as “green”. This means they are put on a ship with no active experience. This means that they have to learn to work with their senior enlisted comrades, or their chiefs. This is important because the chiefs have worked their way up from the bottom of the totem pole. They’ve done all of the hard and dirty work, and they’ve earned their way to where they are. So it’s important for the newly commissioned officers to listen to their enlisted counterparts and spend the first several months actively listening and paying attention. As the United States Naval Institution website describes in a more personal account of a relationship between a new officer and an experienced enlisted, the chiefs know that their superior is an enlisted. There is no need to puff out your chest and pull rank for the first couple months, as instead you could be focusing on trying to learn your job and role better. It’s quoted “the junior officer/chief relationship is a fragile partnership, and it needs constant maintenance. It should be open and frank, without egos and/or rank into the conversation. Trust me, the chief knows you are the officer.” This just reinforces the fact that the officer’s job isn’t to bully people into getting what he wants, it is to complete their task/job in the most efficient way possible without conflict with comrades. A chief who spoke on the matter once said: “We have two ears and one mouth so I also ask them to listen twice as much as they speak. For the first three to six months on board, they should consider themselves...