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Responsibility, authority, and accountability have a close relationship. It’s known that the more authority one has the more responsible and accountable he/she becomes. Figures in authority have to bear a lot of responsibility and with the weighty decisions they make, there has to be a need for them. Petty officers commonly know that the PO is the leader who has authority in the navy. They are involved in the decision-making process and delegation of duties to the naval crew. They come up with the strategies and they are responsible for all the actions being executed. Being a leader you always have to lead by example and be willing to teach and take the necessary corrections when the need arises.
The PO has a lot to do concerning corrections. They are charged with the responsibility of warning and reprimanding the personnel. They also put the personnel on the report if there are any mistakes they have done in the line of duty. Tasks given to them might not be easy to undertake but they come as part of the responsibility they have. There is the utilization of the principle of delegation of authority in the workforce. This authority is the responsibility of the officers since they are the ones who are responsible for the actions of their juniors. Everyone who has been assigned a particular task has the obligation of accomplishing it; hence there is the completion of the tasks. In the navy, cases of bad behavior are always there.
One can say that you cannot expect everyone to behave exceptionally well given that they were all brought up differently and in different environments. Many things can bring up the negative side of an individual. Depending on the conditions and the environment a person is in, the character of the given person is expected to show up through the same person may try as much as possible to hide it. In the navy, for example, the sailors always go on expeditions that can last for several months without one having to step on land. Many sailors will experience seasickness while others may develop psychological problems. The most important thing when this happens is if the affected officer will cope with the whole environment. Carrying naval officers on board who are not in their correct state of mind can be costly especially in circumstances such as war.
Every marine on board should be able to think exceptionally well and perform a given task as needed. Whenever the sailors achieve anything good they all take credit for it and do the same when everything does wrong they don’t point fingers at any of them because they are a team. Whom do we blame when things go wrong? Some can say it’s the people who were assigned the task, others can argue that it’s the leaders or simply those put to oversee the completion of the task. Both sides could be right but they could also be wrong. Different circumstances result in different measures being taken to correct them. When instructions are given it is upon the person giving them out to ensure that they are all followed and also the person given follows them as needed (Stavridis & Girrier, 2004).
Importance of good behavior
Military schools and academies are said to give the best training towards shaping a person’s character. They mold them into dependable people whom their countries have many expectations of. When they leave the academies, one can easily tell that they are changed. Others might not be able to change at all. While in the navy some tend to break the rules. The petty officer is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the regulations set are followed. Whenever something goes wrong he will be answerable for the many things the crew has done.
We find that the behavior of any given officer matters a lot. Some incidents can bring diplomatic rows, others may be detrimental to the force but for a force to stand its ground there should be mechanisms that are in place to correct any irregularity when it arises. Though it’s not at a high level of command, the position held by the petty officer plays an important role by correcting mistakes made.
OP is tasked with ensuring the safety of his crew. Excising one’s authority over grownups can be challenging having in mind that the person you are in charge is the same age as you or could be even older. One has to be responsible and accountable. The example you set may make someone respect or despise you as a leader. A disciple is an important aspect of any military unit. There is no exception when it comes to the navy as well. To be there, there has to be discipline within the people concerned. People have to behave. Many sailors exhibit a high sense of discipline. They do as they are ordered to do by those above them in the chains of command. You find that orders given are done as needed with few doing the opposite of that. Some orders may come from the highest order of command. When such an order is given and it has to be done by the most junior person in the command line its the sole responsibility of those who have been delegated the order to ensure that the task is completed and if not it would be against the military discipline that you always have to follow orders from your superiors and ensure that they are done.
When a junior officer misbehaves and a petty officer is around the PO has to punish the misbehaving officer or he will be reprimanded. All the petty officers are charged with the responsibility of the chain of command. There must be an indication to all of them that one is punishable in cases of any instances of inappropriate behavior in the chain of command.
When they do the punishment they are assuming their moral authority and undertaking his responsibility. Punishment is another way of instilling discipline. Depending on the seriousness of the rules broken the type of punishment also varies. If there is a fight and a petty officer is present it is his responsibility to punish the responsible offenders. The authority given to the petty officer has to be used where needed.
Accountability is a quality that a petty officer must also have. When you punish a person for a mistake he/she has done you should be able to give an account of what the person had done to warrant such a punishment. Some punishments can be too harsh and when the person being punished complains you have to take explain reasons why you think the punishment is the right one and that you are not biased against the person. Being a petty officer, it could be a hard thing to make decisions that are right or even make any given decision. Being a human being can sometimes make life hard for us. This happens when making decisions that can change a person’s life forever. An example is writing a report which could lead to someone being sacked. No one would like to see a person suffer after losing a job.
Being in such a situation is tough even for a PO but one has to choose between doing your job and giving the person another chance. On being given the rank of the petty officer it came with a responsibility that requires one to do the job as is expected. The person who committed the offense is guilty as charged because he had the option of not committing the offense in the first place. The person did not behave as expected prompting action to be taken against him. A mistake by one officer of a naval unit may bring an internal conflict within the unit and when there is a conflict; coordination between the officers cannot be at its best. This can raise a security situation depending on what activity the navy was involved in though there has to be unity every time and also the reason we find the need of positions like that of the petty officer.
Effects of disrespect to authority
Respect is a virtue that has to be made. It is not what one can demand. To get respect one has to earn it. One can earn respect just as easily as one can lose it. It’s one of the military core values. Officers in the military have to respect each other so that discipline can prevail. Senior officers in the military are to ensure that junior soldiers respect one another. Like in the navy the petty officers are among those who are tasked with ensuring that junior officers respect each other. They as leaders try to do their best at enforcing respect and discipline within the officers.
Disrespect on the other hand can be termed as that the show of indifference towards figures in authority. Within the navy, there are cultures and courtesies to be observed. When a naval officer does not observe these courtesies it can be termed as disrespect. It is hard sometimes to tell when someone shows disrespect to a person unless someone speaks up while in some cases signs of disrespect can be easily noted. For example not making the customary salute to a superior officer when you are supposed to do so is a sign of disrespect. Being rude to your superiors is also termed as disrespect. Another example of disrespect is using uncouth language in the presence of your superior or when referring to the officer while using the same language. The superior officer does not have to be there for it to be considered disrespectful.
The military runs smoothly on trust but trust cannot exist if there is no respect. It always takes a lot to earn soldiers’ trust then respect. Why would an officer officers a superior officer they cannot trust? As a leader, a petty o, the officer needs to have the ability to guide direct, and influence the people who are his juniors. This is leading by example. There have been many cases of disrespect within the military. When such a thing happens those involved usually have a case to answer to the superiors. It is said ‘if you can’t respect anyone in authority then at least respect the position the person is holding.
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Any disrespect towards the authority is usually punishable in many countries. Military units are not left out of this. When a soldier in a military unit is punished, the person doing the punishment should have in mind that the officer must not be demoralized but instead take the punishment positively and not repeat the same mistake. Perception of respect varies for different people. Something might be perceived as disrespect by one party but another party can perceive it differently. The perception usually affects the kind of punishment given. Some punishments can be termed as harsh while others are lenient. People have been imprisoned for disrespecting those in authority. Many of these cases are undertaken by dictatorial regimes. In countries with open democracy imprisoning a person because of disrespect are not common.
Signs of disrespect cannot be taken kindly in military institutions. People are sometimes suspended pending investigation. When the investigation is complete some lose their jobs, some are transferred to different stations while others continue in their suspension. When a very junior officer in a military unit disrespects another one with a very senior position, blame may be directed towards the immediate superiors of the officer and it is assumed that they allowed such behavior to develop by not taking any action to correct that same mistake that the officer showed. Rarely do we find junior officer disrespecting their seniors but few cases occur. As part of the responsibility of a petty officer, it is part of their work to instill discipline in the junior officers. They should also be accountable when a junior officer shows disrespect to those superior to him and even those on the same rank (Montor, 1998). Before any punishment is given to any officer it has to be approved by a court-martial and the maximum punishment would be being discharged because of inappropriate behavior, going without pay and allowances, and detention for a year.
Unauthorized absence of a sailor from his post
There are many forms of absenteeism. The sailor might not go to the place of duty at all or that he goes to his post then leaves to go somewhere else without any authority or reason given for absenting oneself. The unauthorized absence means that the sailor knew he had to be at the specified place at that time or, he had been ordered to be there but failed to be there. The punishment for not being at the intended place at a given time will be determined by a court-martial. Before any punishment is given out it has to be proven that the accused knew that he was supposed to be there and had absented himself from certain exercises he knew of. They always depend on circumstantial evidence for this.
Unauthorized absence can be through motivated forms of the same like a situation where one leaves his post with the intention of leaving it untended. One may not have the intention of unauthorized absence while being held by civilian authorities for a crime he committed or might not have committed. One is punished is if he is found guilty of that crime. The duration of being held does not matter that much. Whether one was on leave or not and is being held by civilian authorities does not give a person an excuse of being absent neither can it be said that it was intentional. Conviction does not also give the person an excuse not to return to his post as what happened is was a result of his intentions. The only situation where one is found to be innocent is if he is released by the authorities with no trial being done or if the person was on leave when he was arrested but was later proven innocent after hearing the case. Sometimes sickness, lack of transport facilities make one absent from his post and is part of unauthorized absence but when reviewing the offense committed by the person it should be given careful considerations before judgment is passed (Mack, Seymour & McComas, 1998).
After an unauthorized absence, there are ways in which unauthorized absence can be written off. When one is been arrested by civilian authorities before the navy gives any request, informing the navy of the arrest makes the absentee available for return to navy control. While under military control the absence is terminated. Surrendering oneself to military authority and notifying them of your unauthorized absence shows that you are willing to submit yourself to their control. This also brings to an end illegal absence. Other ways in which the unauthorized absence can be terminated are when the absentee is personally arrested by the navy and the arrest of the absentee at the request of the navy. In some cases, one can be found to be absent more than once under a single specification.
Unauthorized absence by the naval officer from his post is punishable but the punishment usually depends mostly on how long the sailor had been absent. For the naval officer or sailor if he fails to go to his post for a time not more than three days he will have to go without two-thirds of his monthly income for one month and will also be confined for the same duration of time. If the sailor absents himself for less than thirty days but more than three days he will just be earning a third of his usual monthly income and will be confined for half a year. For an absence of more than thirty days, the sailor will not get his pay but also go into detention for one year. He will also have a ‘dishonorable discharge’. If the sailor is arrested after being absent for more than a month the sentence would be the same but he will be detained for six more months. For other forms of absence like absence from his post as a guard and absence as a guard but with the will of being absent, he would get the following sentences respectively: being detained for a quarter of a year while he earns a third of his salary. The other sentence would be going without pay, will be detained for half a year, and being discharged from the force for bad conduct.
We can now determine that the absence of the sailor from his post would be punishable unless it is proven that it did not happen out of his own will. In conclusion, everyone in the force has to be responsible and accountable in whatever they do as any action undertaken has an effect that can either be positive or negative.
- Mack, W.P. Seymour, H.A. & McComas, L.A. (1998). The naval officer’s guide. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press
- Montor, K. (1998). Naval leadership: voices of experience. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press
- Stavridis, J. & Girrier, R. (2004). Division Officer’s Guide. 11th ed. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press