Royal Australian Navy recruitment posters plastered on walls in 1969 said ‘join the Navy, see the world’, and it delivered in spades for a country teenager excited to face the next step of his life.
Now the Senior Naval Officer Western Australia, Commodore Brett Dowsing joined the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell in Jervis Bay directly from school with the ultimate aim of fighting and winning within a maritime environment.
“From Sub Lieutenant to Captain, I enjoyed so many memorable assignments during my five commands from postings in South Korea, during the missile provocations, to Staff Officer in Washington during 9/11,” Commodore Dowsing said.
The former Commanding Officer of Western Australian base, HMAS Stirling said that being a leader in the Navy was about being professionally competent, authentic personally, being an example and never asking others to do what you ethically would never do.
“When the going gets tough you pull-through by stepping-back, thinking through the challenges, prioritising, addressing the single point of failures and handling the remaining issues,” Commodore Dowsing said.
Commodore Dowsing’s advice for first-time leaders was to embrace, understand and execute your leadership skills.
“Listen to the opinion of others, and remember that you are accountable for the subsequent decisions and outcomes.
“Learn from all the episodes – good and bad.
“The fear of making decisions and dishonesty are behaviours that could derail a leader’s career.
“Professional integrity is a leadership trait that every leader should possess,” he said.
“I participate in Navy Leadership Mentoring, read/comment on leadership and management academic literature which keeps me developing and growing as a leader.
“I have had many role models and mentors that have influenced and helped me - my parents in particular,” he said.
Staying ‘fit to fight’ physically and mentally involves walking, playing golf, volunteer work and reading books like ‘Australia’s Argonauts’ – a story of the first cadet-midshipmen to join the Royal Australian Naval College.
Commodore Dowsing’s praised the support of his wife Sonja and daughters Karyna and Riana for being individually and collectively self-sufficient and coping during all his long absences away from home.