Marine Corps Leadership Traits: Initiative

Candidates, this is the fourth 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.

Initiative Definition

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.

You will most certainly hear “good initiative, bad judgment” at OCS and TBS as eager candidates and Lieutenants push themselves in making challenging decisions outside their prior experience. This type of behavior is encouraged rather than punished while learning, for it develops the powerful character trait of initiative.

Staff Sgt Thomas, writer, believes that leaders should “delegate authority down to their junior Marines (commensurate with their abilities of course). This helps develop and nurture mutual respect and confidence between leader and subordinate, and it helps encourage the junior Marine to exercise initiative in accomplishing the mission.”

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.

Read More

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


Marine Corps Leadership Traits



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