Marine Corps Leadership Basics for Business – Front-line Managers

We’re going to discuss here how the Marine Corps develop the leadership skills of their front-line managers – NCO Marines.  Here’s how your business can benefit from the Marine Corps leadership basics for business front-line managers techniques.

  1. Leading by example – This is one of the Marine Corps’ primary leadership traits. The Corps regards and encourages strong leadership. A Marine NCO leads, and inspires, by being the person he wants his troops to become – respected, motivated, and squared-away.  By walking the talk, you become a person your staff wants to emulate and follow.  When leaders say one thing, but do another, they erode credibility, trust, and respect.  All managers should also lead by example to get the most out of their people.
  2. Being a “Hands-Off” Manager is also key to leadership success – The Marine Corps values strong leadership, therefore, the Corps discourages micro-management.  Micro-management demotivates and curbs professional growth and development.  Marines are encouraged make their own decisions and manage most situations to the best of their ability.  This develops their confidence and leadership skills and allows for quicker front-line decision making.
  3. The Marine Corps strives to develop a teaching culture – Aspiring officers and enlisted are taught by NCOs.  In their respective basic training camps, both the private and aspiring officer look to the sergeants for instruction, leadership, and approval.  The Marine Corps have chosen to elevate the NCO because they personify the heart and soul of the Corps.  Companies would do well to emulate the Corps and establish lower-level managers as the teachers.  This is a great recruiting tool too.
  4. Supporting ongoing education is also important – The career NCO is encouraged to take Professional Military Education (PME) courses that are designed for each rank. These demanding classes, although purely voluntary, are required for promotion.  All PME courses are taught by seasoned NCOs.  A company who wishes to create a similar foundation would do well by requiring ongoing education.  They should be part of the employee’s development plan and tied to their raises and promotion.
  5. Instilling a spirit of competition – This is essential to the Marine Corps. Every activity of Corps’ boot camp is a competitive event with the common goal of becoming a Marine.  Once a US Marine, this competition continues throughout their military career.  This rivalry fosters self-confidence and teamwork, as well, companies should use competition to develop their people.  It is a great tool to improve culture and strengthen morale.
  6. The Marine Corps reaches out to the families of the rank and file – For all its “blood & guts” traditions, the Corps is extremely considerate of its members’ families.  It is proactive in family outreach programs and events.  No Marine is going to re-enlist if the family is not “on-board.”  Businesses must be attentive to the “other-half” of its workforce as well.  Examples of this might include Family Days, child, adult and pet day-care programs, scholarship contributions and even a “family counselor.”

Check out my other blogs on elite basic training, senior management, middle management, and management tips.

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