Every NCO or officer in the US military is expected to memorize and live the following principles of leadership. These principles are applicable not only to the military world, but to being a leader in any capacity. The following principles and descriptions are adapted from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/usmc/leadership.htm. Implement these lessons and strategies to your life to become more effective, disciplined, and empowered.
1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement – Work to improve your weaknesses and utilize your strengths. With a knowledge of yourself and those you lead, you can determine the best way to deal with any given situation.
2. Be tactically and technically proficient – You must know your job inside and out. Tactical and technical competence can be learned from books and from on the job training. Seek to always be improving your knowledge.
3. Know those you lead and look out for their welfare – You should know your people and how they react to different situations. Knowledge of their personalities will enable you, as the leader, to decide how to best handle each person and determine when close supervision is needed.
4. Keep your team informed – Nobody likes to be out of the loop when it comes to things important to them. To promote efficiency and morale, a leader should keep people informed. Keeping everyone updated makes them feel that they are a part of the team and not just a cog in a wheel. Informed workers perform better and can carry on without your personal supervision if necessary.
5. Set the example – As a leader your duty is to set the standards by personal example. Your appearance, attitude, and personal example are all watched by those you lead. If your personal standards are high, then you can rightfully demand the same.
6. Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished – Let people know what is expected of them in a clear, concise manner. Before people start a task, allow them a chance to ask questions or seek advice. Supervision is essential. Without supervision you cannot know if the assigned task is being properly accomplished. However, over-supervision can be viewed by subordinates as harassment and effectively stops their initiative.
7. Train as a team – Train with a purpose and emphasize the essential element of teamwork. Be sure that each individual knows his/her position and responsibilities within the team framework. When team spirit is in evidence, the most difficult tasks become much easier to accomplish.
8. Make sound and timely decisions – The leader must be able to rapidly estimate a situation and make a sound decision based on that estimation. If you make a decision and discover it is the wrong one, don’t hesitate to revise your decision. People respect the leader who corrects mistakes immediately instead of trying to bluff through a poor decision.
9. Develop a sense of responsibility those you lead – Give individuals the opportunity for professional development. Assigning tasks and delegating the authority to accomplish tasks promotes mutual confidence and respect between the leader and subordinates. When you properly delegate authority, you demonstrate faith in your workers and increase their desire for greater responsibilities.
10. 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 and goals for your team, but be sure they are prepared for and have the ability to successfully complete the task.
11. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – As a leader, you are responsible for all your unit does or fails to do on the basis of your decisions and their application. Stick by your convictions and do what you think is right, but accept constructive criticism.
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