Candidates, this is a post 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.
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.
Tact is probably the toughest of the 14 leadership traits for many Marines. Brash. Confrontational. Cocky. These words describe many Marines. And many of those Marines would be a little proud to hear those descriptions. However, if you lack tact as a follower or peer–or even leader–you will eventually alienate or irritate those around you. They will be less inclined to follow, mentor, or help you if you embarrass them publicly or frustrate them privately. Be especially mindful to be tactful with your superiors!
Staff Sergeant Thomas adds, “however, tact should be a two-way street to a certain extent. A leader has an obligation to be tactful when addressing his subordinate just as the subordinate has an obligation, but obviously, the subordinate bears a larger burden.”
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.
See all leadership posts here, and check back often as there are many more to come!