Leadership Principles

Officers evaluate their leadership strengths and weaknesses against the 11 Leadership Principles—a list of objectives all officers live by. Because officers lead by example in everything they do, they must strive to be the living embodiment of everything the 11 Leadership Principles stand for. In doing so, officers are better prepared to determine the best course of action for any given situation.

Be technically and tactically proficient

Maintain a high level of competence in your Military Occupational Specialty. Your proficiency will earn the respect of your Marines.

Know yourself and seek self-improvement

Use the leadership traits to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. An accurate and clear understanding of yourself and a comprehension of group behavior will help you determine the best way to deal with any given situation.

Know your Marines and look out for their welfare

You should know your Marines and how they react to different situations. This knowledge can save lives. Knowledge of your Marines' personalities will enable you, as the leader, to decide how best to employ each Marine.

Keep your Marines informed

Informed Marines perform better and, if knowledgeable of the situation, can carry on without your personal supervision. Providing information can inspire initiative.

Set the example

Set the standards for your Marines by personal example. The Marines in your unit all watch your appearance, attitude, physical fitness and personal example. If your personal standards are high, then you can rightfully demand the same of your Marines.

Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished

Before you can expect your Marines to perform, they need to know what is expected from them. Communicate your instructions in a clear, concise manner, and allow your Marines a chance to ask questions. Check progress periodically to confirm the assigned task is properly accomplished.

Train your Marines as a team

Train your Marines with a purpose and emphasize the essential elements of teamwork and realism. Teach your unit to train, play and operate as a team. Be sure that all Marines know their positions and responsibilities within the team framework.

Make sound and timely decisions

Rapidly estimate a situation and make a sound decision based on that estimation. There's no room for reluctance to make a decision, revise it. Marines respect the leader who corrects mistakes immediately.

Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates

Show your Marines you are interested in their welfare by giving them the opportunity for professional development. Assigning tasks and delegating authority promotes mutual confidence and respect between the leader and the team.

Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities

Successful completion of a task depends upon how well you know your unit's capabilities. Seek out challenging tasks for your unit, but be sure your unit is prepared for and has the ability to successfully complete the mission.

Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions

Actively seek out challenging assignments for your professional development. Seeking responsibilities also means that you take the responsibility for your actions. You are responsible for all your unit does or fails to do. Stick by your convictions and be willing to accept justified and constructive criticism.