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Marine Corps Leadership Traits Cheat Sheet by

What makes great leaders
traits     leadership     marine     corps


The 14 leadership traits are qualities of thought and action which, if demons­trated in daily activi­ties, help Marines earn the respect, confid­ence, and loyal cooper­ation of other Marines. It is extremely important to understand the meaning of each leadership trait and how to develop it, so you know what goals to set to become a good leader and follower.


Justice is defined as the practice of being fair and consis­tent. A just person gives consid­eration to each side of a situation and bases rewards or punish­ments on merit.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Be honest with yourself about why you make a particular decision. Avoid favori­tism. Try to be fair at all times and treat all things and people in an equal manner.


Judgment is your ability to think about things clearly, calmly, and in an orderly fashion so that you can make good decisions.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: You can improve your judgment if you avoid making rash decisions. Approach problems with a common sense attitude.


Depend­ability means that you can be relied upon to perform your duties properly. It means that you can be trusted to complete a job. It is the willing and voluntary support of the policies and orders of the chain of command. Depend­ability also means consis­tently putting forth your best effort in an attempt to achieve the highest standards of perfor­mance.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: You can increase your depend­ability by forming the habit of being where you're supposed to be on time, by not making excuses and by carrying out every task to the best of your ability regardless of whether you like it or agree with it.


Initiative is taking action even though you haven't been given orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resour­cef­ulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: To improve your initia­tive, work on staying mentally and physically alert. Be aware of things that need to be done and then to do them without having to be told.


Decisi­veness means that you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weight them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, profes­sional manner.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Practice being positive in your actions instead of acting half-h­ear­tedly or changing your mind on an issue.


Tact means that you can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Begin to develop your tact by trying to be courteous and cheerful at all times. Treat others as you would like to be treated.


Integrity means that you are honest and truthful in what you say or do. You put honesty, sense of duty, and sound moral principles above all else.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Be absolutely honest and truthful at all times. Stand up for what you believe to be right.


Enthusiasm is defined as a sincere interest and exuberance in the perfor­mance of your duties. If you are enthus­iastic, you are optimi­stic, cheerful, and willing to accept the challe­nges.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Unders­tanding and belief in your mission will add to your enthusiasm for your job. Try to understand why even uninte­resting jobs must be done.


Bearing is the way you conduct and carry yourself. Your manner should reflect alertness, compet­ence, confid­ence, and control.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: To develop bearing, you should hold yourself to the highest standards of personal conduct. Never be content with meeting only the minimum requir­ements.


Unself­ishness means that you avoid making yourself comfor­table at the expense of others. Be consid­erate of others. Give credit to those who deserve it.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Avoid using your position or rank for personal gain, safety, or pleasure at the expensive of others. Be consid­erate of others.


Courage is what allows you to remain calm while recogn­izing fear. Moral courage means having the inner strength to stand up for what is right and to accept blame when something is your fault. Physical courage means that you can continue to function effect­ively when there is physical danger present.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: You can begin to control fear by practicing self-d­isc­ipline and calmness. If you fear doing certain things required in your daily life, force yourself to do them until you can control your reaction.


Knowledge is the unders­tanding of a science or art. Knowledge means that you have acquired inform­ation and that you understand people. Your knowledge should be broad, and in addition to knowing your job, you should know your unit's policies and keep up with current events.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Increase your knowledge by remaining alert. Listen, observe, and find out about things you don't unders­tand. Study field manuals and other military litera­ture.


Loyalty means that you are devoted to your country, the Corps, and to your seniors, peers, and subord­inates. The motto of our Corps is Semper Fidelis!, (Always Faithful). You owe unwavering loyalty up and down the chain of command, to seniors, subord­inates, and peers.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: To improve your loyalty you should show your loyalty by never discussing the problems of the Marine Corps or your unit with outsiders. Never talk about seniors unfavo­rably in front of your subord­inates. Once a decision is made and the order is given to execute it, carry out that order willingly as if it were your own.


Endurance is the mental and physical stamina that is measured by your ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, and hardship. For example, enduring pain during a condit­ioning march in order to improve stamina is crucial in the develo­pment of leader­ship.
Sugges­tions for Improv­ement: Develop your endurance by engaging in physical training that will strengthen your body. Finish every task to the best of your ability by forcing yourself to continue when you are physically tired and your mind is sluggish.


To always be able to remember the basic leadership traits, the acronym "J.J. DID TIE BUCKLE­" is used. Each letter corres­ponds to the first letter of one of the traits. Remember the acronym to recall the traits.

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