Personally, I never played with the thought of possibly joining the army or the marines. I have several friends who have served our country proudly, but I was never one to follow orders and could not imagine pulling a trigger without making the call myself.
Nevertheless, those that put their lives at risk to protect us are important to the prosperity of America and to the wellbeing of its citizens. For that I am very thankful.
The Marine Corps in particular put a lot of stress behind the importance of leadership and have even come up with a 14-letter acronym for their 14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits: JJ DID TIE BUCKLE. They are most definitely worth examining:
Making calls of judgment is the most important part of being a leader. Others look to you to make the call, so you must be able to make the best call possible. Having all the information in order to make an informed decision is fantastic, but rarely the case.
There are almost always factors that you are unaware of that are influencing the situation at hand. The key is to have the ability to accept this fact, ignore it and judge the best you can with the information available to you.
Rules are created for a reason. As the head, you are also the one who must enforce justice once the rules are broken. Rules and expectations apply to everyone and when expectations are not met, there must be appropriate consequences.
Can you be counted on? Can your customers and employees rest assured knowing that you will get the job done? Dependability requires consistent, unwavering action and results. Do not point out a problem; point out the best solution to the problem.
Don’t give excuses; give results and results only. No one cares why you were not able to do what you said you would do. People do not want to hear about why it is that you failed to do as you said you would. All that people want is the end product. If you cannot deliver, then you will not be relied upon for future projects.
Be honest, have principles and a strong moral code, and beyond all else, be whole and consistent. Having a solid character is essential to being a good leader. Your followers must know that you are not only sure of your actions, but you are sure of yourself.
You must know what you stand for and know that you will not waver. If you want your team’s respect, then make a clear stance and do not allow yourself to be pushed around.
The 70% rule always applies: decisive actions based on 70% of the information are better than slow decisions based on complete information. As mentioned before, having all the information is not possible — so focus on making a decision as quickly as you can to get ahead of the competition.
This, of course does not mean to make dumb decisions; you must learn to make good decisions under pressure. Outmaneuvering competition is key to any successful business and the sooner you maneuver, the better.
The method of delivery is just as important as the actual content of the package. How you say what you say — how you deliver your message — makes a big difference in how your message is received. In order to lead, you must learn to communicate in a way that guarantees what you are saying is being understood in the manner that you wish it to be understood.
Initiative is crucial to being a leader. You are the one leading the way and if you are not taking the initiative to step forward, then your team will not do so either. You must be creative and you must be fearless when it comes to doing what needs to be done. As a leader you cannot wait for your team members to act, you must be the one to set the example.
“It is impossible to lead from the front when you are falling behind” — straight from Marines.com. It is most often not he who tries his hardest and fights the strongest who wins in the end, but he who lasts the longest. When shit happens, which it will, then you must endure; you must survive. To kill the snake, you must cut off its head; if you quit then the rest of your company will too.
How many hits can you take? How much can you bear? When the going gets tough and you are under attack, how much shit can you take before you throw in the towel? Everyone has a breaking point. You must identify where yours lies and see how much further you can push it.
As the leader you are forced to bear the weight of the entire team. The importance of being able to carry a heavy load and to stay in the game cannot be emphasized enough.
It’s always the team first. Instead of focusing on making yourself successful, focus on making your team successful. Because you are the head, if your team succeeds, so will you. The same is important to keep in mind in relation to your clients.
Yes, you want to make money, but your customers must be satisfied. It is sometimes better to satisfy your customer at your own expense in order to both benefit from their future business and the business generated by word of their mouths.
Courage does not mean that you fight to the death. I was never a believer in this sort of mentality because doing so will mean the end of you and all the good that you and your company can do in the future. Yes, you need the courage to continue fighting, but you also need the courage to cut your losses when circumstances require it. Courage is about surviving when it would be easier to simply let go.
Knowledge is not only a powerful tool, it is what makes life worth living. Knowledge allows for personal growth and allows for making better decisions. Without the proper knowledge you are simply guessing. If that is the way that you want to lead, then go to a casino. If you are not hungry for knowledge then you are not living life properly. Things must fascinate you if you wish to be passionate about anything.
It’s an ideology that is old as time itself, though many have none of it. Loyalty is what relationships are built upon. If people do not believe you to be loyal, then there is no reason for them to trust you or to rely on you. Building relationships with both your employees and your customers on the concept of loyalty is key.
It’s these relationships that are built over years that produce the sweetest fruit. If you keep on bailing on your team and jumping around then people will find you to be too unstable to work with you.
Enthusiasm, passion, is what drives the greats. Not only must you want to do what you do, but you must understand that you want to do what you do. You must love what you do and you must let it be known. If those working alongside you see how passionate you are about your work, then they are likely themselves to focus their energy on that certain aspect of the company that they themselves are passionate about.
Having employees that are passionate about their work guarantees maximum efficiency. If your clients see that you are passionate about your work, they are much more likely to trust you and your services.