Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Leadership the Marine Corps Way

Note: I was thinking about this as I was getting ready to go to work, instead of putting it off for later, I decided to write this all down now before completely forgetting about it. I noticed that when I get an idea for a blog post, it's never the same if I write it a day or two later than when I write "when it comes to me" Anyway.

The other day I was going trough my stuff looking for an old book, when I stumbled across my old notebook from the War, in it, I found minutia that's completely irrelevant now, checklists, packing lists, contact numbers for my guys, plans for raids an other combat ops. But one thing that got my attention was what I wrote on the first page right after the cover:

It's Titled "Principles of Leadership"

As you may or may not know, I had some sort of transformation as far as the way I look at the world and life in general, what it comes down to is that I must be one of those true to the core bleeding heart liberals down underneath, not because I can't pull a trigger, that's pure non sense, I am still a marine, and always will be, I know what I can do, and I know what I did out there, but one thing that nobody can stop me from doing is noticing the level of injustice in this world. That changed things for me, the truth is, there are people who go trough life feeling immense suffering, some of it their own doing, but not all, the thing that got to me was seeing children in the mess, the only fault of their own was not having the common sense to be born in a country like ours. How could they have been so dumb? oh that's right, you can't choose that. So seeing the whole spectrum of suffering made me change the way I see everything, a paradigm shift, so to speak. If you know me, you know what I think about religion, politics and that whole mess.

However, someone asked me, if I still buy into the whole "Honor Stuff" from the marines, for some reason, the question got to me, the answer is yes, I do, why wouldn't I? but the way it was asked rubbed me the wrong way or something, I don't think it was ill-intentioned, and the person that asked does not know me personally. So it's ok, I forgive any actual or imagined transgression. It's no big deal, really. But I do want to list out the thing that will never change, and I want to point out what I think it's the best thing about the Marine Infantry. Their training philosophy, which I am grateful for, and the reason why they say you are always a marine, because the values they teach can stay with you forever.

The Marines invests in their people

Besides the obvious physical conditioning and outstanding rifle marksmanship, the most important measure of a marine in the grunts, is his character. They of course do not phrase it that way, they like to call it "leadership". What it means, is that every marine is responsible for his own character development. Every month there is an evaluation done by his supervisor in which all the leadership traits are individually scored, but the thing is, leadership is built in the culture.

I just want to point out that the page in my journal represent my take away from my time in the infantry. This guidebook applies to everyone. So I thought I'd share it here. **edit: Just realized that this comes from an Army manual, but the marine corps version is pretty much the same**


(a) Technically and tactically proficient, can accomplish all task to standards
(b) Posses professional character traits, Courage, Candor, Competence and Integrity


(a) Four major factors of leadership and how they affect each other. The led, the leader, the situation and communications.
(b) yourself and seek self-improvement. Strengths and weakness of your character, knowledge and skills. Continually develop your strengths and work on overcoming your weakness.
(c) your soldiers and lookout for their well being, train them for the rigors of combat, take care of them.


(a) Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
(b) Make sound and timely decisions
(c) Set the example
(d) Keep your people informed
(e) Develop a sense of responsibility
(f) Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished
(g) Build the team
(h) employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities

The point is that these skills are transferable to all aspects of life. It's up to the individual to work on these though, some people go trough 4 years in the grunts without "getting it" but, it is part of the environment. Something that I strive for. It comes from the there. For that, I am thankful. I am proud of the Marine Corps and the Army as well, for that reason. The work ethic they posses is unparalleled.

That is all.



Monkeyz Mommy said...

Babe, Nice post and everything but you forgot to say that the best thing about the marines is how you look in your dress blues ;)

Jose said...

LOL, I prefer my pocket protector look now.

Soniya said...

Hey..nice post..(b) of Know is something I see in all your posts.

Jose said...

Thank you Soniya

EdPurchaseIV said...

I really liked this part: "I must be one of those true to the core bleeding heart liberals down underneath, not because I can't pull a trigger, that's pure non sense, I am still a marine." I laughed out loud at that one.

All in all a very good post. I came accross my own 'Green Book'from Afghanistan the other day...I wish I had put 'Know, Be, Do' in there. I might have saved myself a lot of trouble.