More lessons we can learn for business from the Marines

Adapted from “Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished”

Before you can expect your staff/employees to perform, they need to know what you expect of them. You must communicate your instructions in a clear, concise manner. Talk so they understand, but not in a way that would insult their intelligence. Before your staff starts a task, allow them a chance to ask questions or seek advice. Some supervision is essential. Without supervision you won’t know if anything is being properly accomplished. Over supervision is viewed as micro-managing and harassment and may keep anyone from showing initiative. Allow your staff to use their own techniques, and check them periodically.

  1. Make sure something has a need before making it an order.
  2. Use the established authority levels.
  3. Issue clear, concise, and positive directives.
  4. Encourage your staff to ask questions for anything they do not understand.
  5. Ask questions to see if there is anything they don’t understand.
  6. Supervise the your directives.
  7. Make sure your staff has the resources they need.
  8. Vary your supervisory styleas necessary.
  9. Exercise care and thought in supervision. Micro-management can stymie initiative and create resentment; under-supervision may not get the task done.

~ Jody Victor

Another Marine Principle adapted for Business

Set the Example

You must show your team by example and not take a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude. You will quickly alienate your staff. If your personal standards are high, they are more apt to adapt them as well. Check your own physical fitness, hygiene and appearance before commenting on theirs. Don’t set your standards higher than you are willing to go yourself.

  1. Show you are willing to do the same thing you ask of your employees/staff.
  2. Be physically fit, well-groomed, and correctly dressed.
  3. Maintain optimism, calmness, and confidence.
  4. Don’t display characteristics that could be open to criticism.
  5. Promote self-initiative.
  6. Avoid showing favoritism.
  7. Share difficulties with your staff so they see you are willing to to assume your share of them.
  8. Portray to your staff that you are the best in the position you are in.
  9. Delegate authority and avoid micro-management and over-supervision of your staff.

~ Jody Victor

Know your Employees and look out for their welfare

(Adapted from “Know your Marines and look out for their welfare”)

You should know your employees and how they react when placed in different situations.
An employee who is nervous and lacks self confidence should never be put in a situation where an important decision is made. Knowledge of your employees’ personalities will enable you, as the leader, to decide how to best handle each one and determine when they may need closer supervision.

  1. Put your employees’ welfare before your own – correct grievances and remove discontent.
  2. See the members of your staff and let them see you so they get to know you and feel that you know them. Be approachable.
  3. Let them see that you are determined to be a success.
  4. Concern yourself with their life circumstances.
  5. Help your employees get needed support when necessary.
  6. Determine what your employee’s mental attitude is; keep in touch with their thoughts.
  7. Ensure fair and equal distribution of rewards.
  8. Encourage individual development.
  9. Share the hardships of your employees so you can better understand their reactions.

Another Leadership Principle from the Marines

Another of the Leadership Principles of the Marines is to “Be technically and tactically proficient.” This would mean to know your job inside and out. Know all aspects of your job or task at hand. Are there manuals to read? You must be capable of answering any questions that may crop up. Further (some of these have been changed to suit everyday life rather than miilitary):

  1. Seek a well rounded education by attending school, work reading and research daily, take correspondence courses.
  2. Seek out and associate with capable leaders. Observe and study their actions.
  3. Broaden your knowledge through association with others.
  4. Seek opportunities to apply knowledge through leading others. Good leadership is acquired only through practice.
  5. Prepare yourself for the job of leader for your next promotion.

In business or in our life situations, we can look at these principles and apply them to ourselves. Do you take the time to evaluate yourself in this way?

We will continue to look at some of the other principles offered by the Marines.

~ Jody Victor

Leadership Principles from the Marines

One of the Leadership Principles of the Marines is to “Know yourself and seek improvement.” How can you seek improvement if you don’t know yourself, you might wonder. The Marines don’t stop there. They give some guidelines to help you develop in this area:

  1. Make an hosest evalutions of yourself – find your strong and week personal qualities. Strive to overcome the weak ones and strengthen the strong ones.
  2. Seek the honest opinions of friends and superiors. This will show if you’ve improved your leadership ability.
  3. Study the causes for success or failure of other leaders. You can learn from this.
  4. Develop a genuine interest in people; try to get an understanding of human nature.
  5. Become proficient at effective writing and speech.
  6. Develop a goal and goal plan to reach that goal.

In business or in our life situations, we can look at these principles and apply them to ourselves. Do you take the time to evaluate yourself in this way?

Over the next several posts, we will look at some of the other principles offered by the Marines.

~ Jody Victor