Marine Leadership Traits to Set a Good Example to the Crew


marine leadership traits

“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent or dormant can be developed. Other ingredients can be acquired. They are not easily learned. But leaders can be and are made.”

Marine Leadership Traits

A man wearing a suit and tie

– Justice

– Judgment

– Dependability

– Initiative

– Decisiveness

– Tact

– Integrity

– Enthusiasm

– Bearing

– Unselfishness

– Courage

  • Justice
A group of people sitting in a grassy field

Definition – Giving reward and punishment according to the merits of the case in question. The ability to administer a system of rewards and punishments impartially and consistently.

Significance – The quality of displaying fairness and impartiality is critical in order to gain the trust and respect of subordinates and maintains discipline and unit cohesion, particularly in the exercise of responsibility.

  • Judgment

Definition – The ability to weigh facts and possible courses of action in order to make sound decisions.

Significance – Sound judgment allows a leader to make appropriate decisions in the guidance and training of his/her Marines and the employment of his/her unit.

A Marine who exercises good judgment weighs pros and cons accordingly when making appropriate decisions.

  • Dependability

Definition – The certainty of proper performance of duty.

Significance – The quality that permits a senior to assign a task to a junior with the understanding that it will be accomplished with minimum supervision..

  • Initiative

Definition – Taking action in the absence of orders.

Significance – Since an NCO often works without close supervision; emphasis is placed on being a self-starter. Initiative is a founding principle of Marine Corps Warfighting philosophy.

  • Decisiveness

Definition – Ability to make decisions promptly and to announce them in a clear, forceful manner.

Significance – The quality of character which guides a person to accumulate all available facts in a circumstance, weigh the facts, and choose and announce an alternative which seems best. It is often better that a decision be made promptly than a potentially better one be made at the expense of more time.

  • Tact

Definition – The ability to deal with others in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid offense. More simply stated, tact is the ability to say and do the right thing at the right time.

Significance – The quality of consistently treating peers, seniors, and subordinates with respect and courtesy is a sign of maturity. Tact allows commands, guidance, and opinions to be expressed in a constructive and beneficial manner. This deference must be extended under all conditions regardless of true feelings.

  • Integrity

Definition – Uprightness of character and soundness of moral principles. The quality of truthfulness and honesty.

Significance – A Marine’s word is his/her bond. Nothing less than complete honesty in all of your dealings with subordinates, peers, and superiors is acceptable.

  • Enthusiasm

Definition – The display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duty.

Significance – Displaying interest in a task and optimism that can be successfully completed greatly enhances the likelihood that the task will be successfully completed.

  • Bearing

Definition – Creating a favorable impression in carriage, appearance, and

personal conduct at all times.

Significance – The ability to look, talk, and act like a leader whether or not these manifestations indicate one’s true feelings.

  • Unselfishness

Definition – Avoidance of providing for one’s own comfort and personal advancement at the expense of others.

Significance – The quality of looking out for the needs of your subordinates before your own is the essence of leadership. This quality is not to be confused with putting these matters ahead of the accomplishment of the mission.

  • Courage

Definition – Courage is a mental quality that recognizes fear of danger or criticism, but enables a Marine to proceed in the face of danger with calmness and firmness.

Significance – Knowing and standing for what is right, even in the face of popular disfavor. The business of fighting and winning wars is a dangerous one; the importance of courage on the battlefield is obvious.

These are some important marine leadership traits.

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