This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.
Take a look at this picture. This is (probably) a White House summit on women in the military. Notice something about the people around the table? It’s pretty obvious who’s missing… that’s right, me! Clearly, you men need my advice on how to lead women in the sea services. Women are an important, congressionally-mandated part of our force, and we need to figure out how to lead them so they stay in the military and stop writing books.
Army Colonel Jo Rusin set the standard with his book “Women on Your Team: A Man’s Guide to Leading Women.” Colonel Rusin lays it all out like only a man could do, so I thought I’d adapt the guide to a naval audience. Now, we’ve all heard the terms “mansplain” and “hepeat,” which are blatant attempts to poke fun at men and undermine our authority. Since these tried-and-true leadership techniques are under attack, here are some new tips for getting women to contribute to your lethality.
- Use their skills wisely. Don’t make them do things they’re not good at, like leadership and math. Instead, assign them duties in line with their natural skill set, like coordinating social activities, to free up the men to do the hard work.
- Choose your language carefully. When communicating with women, replace aggressive or technical terms with emotional words. “This formation allows us to better ‘hug’ the hostile contact and make sure every ship feels supported and valued.”
- Be sure to incorporate women’s issues into your command philosophy. Think of things like wedding planning.
- Two words: intrusive leadership.
- Be careful with mission critical tasks. Remember, to a woman, naval service is just a hobby to give them a break from their work in the home. So, at any moment, they might just abandon their shipmates and run home to their babies. Thankfully, we men can tell our wives to take care of those pesky child care issues. Plus, you never know what a woman will do to get out of work.
- Look after their mental health. Women making explosive claims could be suffering from hysteria. Connect them with a mental health professional immediately. If this hysteria spreads, the men will become confused and they may begin to question their own beliefs, which would impact their lethality.
- Treat them like family. It’s always best to impose your sense of morality and family values on your subordinates. Treat women in your command like your daughters and wives. If a sailor’s outfit on liberty makes you uncomfortable, make her change. Have your Supply Officer stock these handy robes just in case.
- Show them you care. As with men, it’s important to let your female subordinates know you’re invested in them personally. Ask her how the breastfeeding is going. Tell her that perfume reminds you of your wife. Forming that close personal bond will pay dividends. Bonus: you might find out she’s totally into you!
So, gentlemen, hopefully with this guide you’ll be able to wh- oh, wait… shhhhhh! Here they come!
(what?!? Colonel Rusin is a woman? Ugh, fire the Research Department!)