Marine Corps Leadership Traits: Justice

Candidates, this is the first in a series of leadership posts relating specifically to the Marine Corps Leadership traits–the most basic introduction to the Corps’ philosophies that you will learn about at OCS. Study the leadership traits and other lessons ahead of time on our academics page.

Justice Definition

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.

As an officer, you will need to treat your Marines fairly. While it sounds easy enough, favoritism can very easily trip up a leader’s reputation for justice. Exhibiting justice is easier said than done when one of your Marines has many things in common with you–whether they are from the same area or background, or even if they root for the same sports team. No matter what, Marines need to feel that they can trust in their officers for fairness and consistency.

Equally important is avoiding the trap of losing balance in a carrot-vs-stick approach. If Marines do not fear firmness, they may slack off or take advantage of weakness in a leader. If there is too much stick and not enough carrot, Marines will do the minimum to skate by, and try to fly under the radar. Nothing can kill a unit’s morale like an oppressively micromananging, punishment-based workplace.

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.

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See all leadership posts here, and check back often as there are many more to come!

Reference: Marine Corps Leadership Traits

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