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Marine Corps Leadership Traits in Business

Updated on January 21, 2010

Leadership Traits

I spent four years serving my country as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps. The Marines begin instilling leadership traits in the first stage of Marine Corps training, boot camp, which is generally way before anyone is going to look to you as a leader. However, the process of cultivating these traits at an early stage is really not a bad idea. Think about it, many organizations do this, but how much would it benefit your company if you began instilling the traits you desire in your team members from day one? I am going to go over the traits the Marine Corps considers the top leadership traits and then we can look at how to instill these traits into your team members and how this could benefit your company.

J.J. DID TIE BUCKLE

The easiest way to begin remembering what these traits are is with the acronym JJ Did Tie Buckle. What does this stand for?

Justice

Judgement

Decisiveness

Integrity

Discipline

Tact

Initiative

Enthusiasm

Bearing

Unselfishness

Courage

Knowledge

Loyalty

Endurance

Do you see any traits here that you wouldn't want one of your employees to have?  If these traits are effective enought that young men and women will use them in combat, they'll fit in at the office.

Implementing

So you like what you see above and would like to start bringing these traits into your culture. What better place to start cultivating than at new hire orientation. List them off. Say these are the characteristics we want our employees to embody. Then as they begin their career with you, you help develp them. Discuss something pertaining to one of them at a meeting. Surely you have company training from time to time, do an exercise that helps get your people thinking about which of these would be important. Encourage your employees to speak up. Make them comfortable so they have the courage to bring you an idea that may help the bottom line!

On the other side, discipline must be handled equally. If leadership displays good judgement and enforces disciplinary measures, your team member will fall in line or eventually just get weeded out.

This brings up another leadership issue that I think is the most important. Leadership by example. You cannot expect your subordinates to do something that you wouldn't be willing to do yourself. There shouldn't be a rule that everyone starts at 8:00 but managers roll in between 8:00 and 8:30. Believe me, I understand that a lot of times managers are there late and do a lot of extra work. But, that is where endurance comes in. They should be able to work the long hours then make it in on time the next day. That's why you are HOPEFULLY compensating them better than everyone else.

Can you see how much this can benefit you if you can get everyone on board? Your team members would be honost. They would have the courage to give ideas. Your managers could learn to keep their bearing and not offend some of your staff because they are angry with one person. (I've seen this happen many times) Not to mention, if everyone was being treated fairly and liked who they worked under, loyalty could pretty well take care of itself. I thoroughly believe that these traits can help improve your business if taken seriously.

I hope this comes in useful to someone. I know the world is in a pretty crazy place, but if good leaders step up to the plate then we can all make it out of this ok in the end.

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