Hey everyone, I read both of D. Michael Abrashoff's books. I'm not very good at reviewing books so bear with me. I personally feel that there is no lack of teaching people how to manage, and not enough on how to lead. The author does a good job of illustrating how to manage people through leadership. A lot of what he references is related to the Navy, however he does a good job of putting it into general managerial terms. The books aren’t too big so if you’re looking for a good weekend book I highly recommend them.

bflynn's picture

I've read [i]Its Your Ship[/i] and as a former sailor, I wasn't highly impressed. I think the general principle of employee ownership is right, but I've see that same principle lead to some really bad situations because you're putting the burden of ownership on a lot of people, not all of who want it. Things get dropped, sometimes important things.

Staying on the same naval topic, several of the high profile naval incidents in recent years were the direct result of trying to give ownership to people who didn't want it. It doesn't take a leap to bring this back to business.

You can delegate authority, but never responsibility. While I enjoyed the book, I don't think it gives a useful, practical or reliable approach to management.


Bones870's picture

This book was one my recommendations for the USCG Commandant's reading list along with Small Unit Leadership: A Commonsense Approach, by Dandridge Malone. They chose both of them too!

I bought "It's your ship" for my Commanding Officer and Executive Officer also for gifts.

I've also used it for references on integrity in leadership for a college class. I'm a big fan of Abrashoff's writing.

Here's an interview of him:

bflynn, You sound like a Chief!

Any management/leadership precept can be dangerous if used without proper guidance. Trusting (empowering) others is a cornerstone of leadership and to earn trust you have to give it. Empowerment is also built up, you don't let some E-2 run wild without some build up of confidence, training or experience. In my operational expereince, empowerment works wonders.