Micro-Dose of Leadership Traits | Understanding the USMC Foundation

A great foundation to anyone’s leadership journey is exploring the United States Marine Corps 14-Leadership Traits. Once anyone understands these traits they will see that they will find them quite useful and actionable in every aspect of their lives; both persona and professional.

Here are the 14 traits that Richard highlights in this episode:

Justice
Giving reward & punishment according to the merits of the case in question. Leaders make sure that everyone is judged on their integrity, work ethic, and results.

Judgment
The ability to filter and prioritize facts and information and make sound decisions. Sound judgement is the ability to prioritize the organization, the welfare of the team, and the right mission.

Decisiveness
The ability to make sound & timely decisions. It’s about having a bias towards action and implementing the “70% Solution” (getting 70% of the information and using your intuition & experience to fill in the other 25%). It’s always better to make a good timely decision with partial information than a “perfect” decision too late.

Initiative
The ability to make sound & timely decisions. It’s about having a bias towards action and implementing the “70% Solution” (getting 70% of the information and using your intuition & experience to fill in the other 25%). It’s always better to make a good timely decision with partial information than a “perfect” decision too late.

Dependability
This trait is simply all about being known for doing what you say you’re going to do. No missed deadlines, assignments, or tasks. There are too many amateur leaders who “do as I say, not as I do” out there; don’t be one of them.

Tact
This is the ability of dealing with others without creating hostility. The tactful leader chooses the language or behavior that will help the people in his or her audience to motivate themselves. It’s all about what to say, when to say it, how to say it, and who to say it too.

Integrity
Integrity in a leader is reflected by honesty as well as a desire to inspire and a devotion of values that the leader constantly tried to communicate to those he or she leads. The leader with integrity can rarely if ever relax a commitment to what he or she believes is the behavior that best reflects those closely held values.

Endurance
The enduring leader defaults to responsibility. If something must be done, then it must be done, even if the best resources or relevant training aren’t available. This demands physical and mental endurance; leaders must do whatever it takes to build and maintain this endurance.

Bearing
A leader with bearing sets an example for others to follow in both attitude and behavior. No matter what stress level or situation, a leader is maniacal about how they appear and carry themselves. When a leader loses his or her bearing the leader immediately makes everything about themselves; a cardinal sin of leadership.

Unselfishness
Unselfish leaders settle on choices that advantage however many as would be prudent, without thinking about themselves. All decisions are made in the best interest of the organization’s objectives and their people. Successful leaders share their victories with their teams.

Courage
Courage is situational; it lives in the moments when it is required by people who believe in themselves and in priorities beyond personal comfort and the risks of pain or failure. Courage is doing what’s right, adhering to a higher standard of personal conduct; to lead by example and to make tough decisions under stress and pressure. It’s about being afraid but doing the right thing anyway.

Knowledge
Knowledge goes beyond the facts of the job; it is also knowledge of your team: who they are and what motivates them. It is knowledge of the culture in which you work. And is also is self-knowledge: unflinchingly knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, and having a desire to excel.

Loyalty
A scarce commodity in today’s culture. Leaders should be loyal to the organization, its mission, and its people. Loyalty, however, cannot be blind. We still must have the moral courage, sound judgment, & integrity to call out unethical behavior.

Enthusiasm
We must be sincere and exuberant in the performance of our duties. It’s all about being enthusiastic, optimistic, and willing to accept any challenge that comes our way.

A good way to remember these fourteen traits is to use the acronym: JJDIDTIEBUCKLE

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