Marine Corps leadership traits have a focus on honor so that every Marine, no matter what their rank might be, can lead by example. This allows them to make a sound and timely decision whether that Marine is on a battlefield or at home with their family. Traits that include resourcefulness, flexibility, and courage are hallmarks of the Marine Corps leadership traits, but leadership doesn’t just stop at the ability to act honorably.
Marines Have the Ability Act with Intent
When there is an emergency situation happening, what would you do? For the Marine, there is the authority of every Marine to make a decision based on the intent of orders that have been left by the Commanding Officer. Even if there isn’t explicit orders to cover a specific situation, the Marine is authorized to act in such a way that they’d believe they would be ordered to act if the CO was present in that situation.
At the core of this philosophy is the recognition that people make mistakes. It isn’t the action of a mistake that is bothersome. It is the ability of a Marine to dust themselves off, learn from the bad judgment that created the mistake, and take responsibility for actions taken that turns a Marine into a leader. When mistakes are made, wisdom is created. This is wisdom that will last for a lifetime.
Tact is another important aspect of Marine Corps leadership traits. Leadership must be able to improvise when necessary without fear. Leaders must be able to adapt to changing situations on the ground and still stay strong. This allows every Marine to overcome a difficult situation, yet still have the ability to support everyone around them in the most effective way. By working together, more can be achieved than if a leader is acting on their own.
Being Decisive Is the Hallmark of the Marine
The worst decision a Marine can ever make is to not actually make a decision. Indecision can cause fatalities on the battlefield. It can also lead to deals being lost in the boardroom or a customer deciding to purchase something from a competitor. People are defined by the decisions they make and sometimes those decisions must be made quickly. When decisive actions are taken, then there is courage in that decision because there is a risk that is taken. Without risk, nothing gets done.
At the core of these leadership traits from the Marine Corps, however, is a superior level of integrity. The foundation of integrity is trust and unless a leader can establish trust with those to whom they are responsible, nothing can get done. Integrity means being consistent with decisions whether 1,000 people are directly watching you or you’re by yourself in the loneliness of your room.
In order to be great, leaders must be accountable to those who follow. That’s what being a Marine means and with great honor, that is the leadership style that can be incorporated into anyone’s daily life.