Our Deckplate Leader of the week is Chief Petty Officer Dave Brophy, from the Ready For Operations Team at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound!
Chief Brophy recently "PCS'd" across the parking lot from Sector Engineering to the Sector RFO Team. He is the President of the New Haven Chapter of the Chief Petty Officer Association (CPOA) and he is consistently a strong leadership voice within the Mess. He truly cares about his people, and fully adopts the mindset that as a chief "everyone is his responsibility." He regularly takes time out of his day to walk the halls and check in on folks and even offers his assistance to senior members when he senses that they are task-saturated. He sets a great example as a supervisor, subordinate, shipmate and chief!
When asked two questions, he gave the following responses:
In your opinion, what makes a good Chief?
“I would have to say first, be a good listener,” said Brophy. “I know we say that all the time, but, it ties in with my second which is, know your crew. I don't just mean are they a good MK [machinery technician] or BM [boatswains mate] or SK [storekeeper], I mean KNOW your crew! ‘Did MK1 do okay with their pets’ medical issue and how is the family with it?’ ‘How is BM3's father back in Wyoming dealing with the loss of a family member?’ ‘How is that BM3?’ ‘Did SK1's kid do well with the first camping trip with the scout troop last week?’”
Brophy said, “And third, listen to your crew! To me this means leave that office or desk and walk around. You don't always have to ask or pry, but if we listen we can learn a lot about our people and being able to relate to and know and understand our crews helps us become a good chief and leader and by default our missions become successful.”
What advice do you have for junior members?
Brophy said, “I would say these two things because I kick myself for not learning and taking advantage sooner:
- Learn about and contribute to the TSP! [Thrift Savings Plan] It is your money, save it now so you will have some later! I waited until I was over 10 years in and that was a mistake.
- Take college classes! Yes, you have the GI Bill but take classes now using TA [tuition assistance.] It is free money! And if you can achieve your education goal then you can give your benefit to a family member.
“Those two were my mistakes.”
“A few more words of advice are to listen, learn and grow. Listen to the advice, stories, and experiences of those you serve with, junior and senior. They may help you to find your way in the Coast Guard and how you want your career to develop. Learn a skill, not a job. Most of us can go to a A-school and learn our job! Learn a skill, woodworking, music, art, facilitator?
Grow! Grow in the Coast Guard, don't settle. Find out who you are and go all in, even when junior you have a voice, you are no longer junior when the new guy arrives! Take that chance when you see it. Don't accept the ‘What if? What if I had done...…….?’”
Great advice! Great leadership Chief Brophy!