The Marine Corps’ approach to leadership development is called Marine Leader Development (MLD). This comprehensive approach seeks to foster growth in all aspects of Marine’s personal and professional life and is not limited to a specific philosophy or program. Instead, it provides a framework for Marines at all levels to use for themselves and their subordinates.
The MLD framework consists of six functional areas: Fidelity, Fighter, Fitness, Family, Finance, and Future. By addressing each of these areas, the MLD aims to develop a cohesive, tactically and technically proficient Corps, guided by moral purpose and capable of handling even the toughest challenges.
The implementation of MLD will take place in all Marine Corps commands, and will replace the previous Marine Corps Mentoring Program (MCMP). This new approach to leadership development will provide Marines with the tools they need to succeed both in and out of the military, and ensure the continued growth and success of the Corps. Stay tuned for further updates on the implementation of MLD and how it will benefit the Marine Corps. (Adopted from the Marine Corps University)
The six functional areas of the Marine Leader Development (MLD) framework are:
Fidelity – This area focuses on personal values, character, and ethics. It aims to develop Marines who are trustworthy, dependable, and committed to their duties.
Fighter – This area focuses on physical and mental toughness. It aims to develop Marines who are able to perform under stress and handle physical and mental challenges.
Fitness – This area focuses on physical and mental health. It aims to develop Marines who are able to maintain their health and wellness, both physically and mentally.
Family – This area focuses on personal relationships and family life. It aims to develop Marines who are able to balance their personal and professional responsibilities.
Finance – This area focuses on personal finances and financial literacy. It aims to develop Marines who are able to manage their finances effectively and plan for their future.
Future – This area focuses on personal and professional goals, career development, and lifelong learning. It aims to develop Marines who are able to plan for their future and continuously grow and develop as individuals and leaders.
MCO 1500.61 Marine Leader Development. Provides direct guidance and defines how all leaders should teach, coach, counsel, and mentor on a daily basis. Leadership is a privilege and it is imperative that leaders pass on their knowledge and experience to those they serve. The most effective leaders never miss a chance to teach and coach, approaching every interaction as an opportunity. This conversation between teachers and coaches, counsels and mentors should help the individual to improve performance and refine personal achievable goals. These interactions should foster a proactive mindset toward training and development thus building confidence between leader and led creating greater team cohesion.
MARADMIN 394/16 comes directly from the Commandant, who stresses the importance that Marine leaders at all levels perform counseling those under their charge as part of a regimen of engaged leadership. The Commandant makes clear that engaged leadership is “what sets Marines apart” from the other Services, and that is why all Marine leaders have a responsibility to their subordinates to “teach, coach, and mentor” the Marines under their charge.
The MARADMIN also highlights the importance of the leadership “team” – that is, although one leader may be responsible for ultimately writing performance evaluations, it takes an engaged team of leaders to ensure that proper counseling is completed; that all Marines have a planned and programmatic approach to their own development, which includes setting goals and achieving everything within his or her potential. Finally, echoing the wisdom of General Lejeune, MARADMIN 394/16 highlights the need of Marines to be developed holistically, and that development should touch every aspect of a Marine’s personal and professional life. As examples of this concept of holism, the MARDAMIN provides personal finance, civilian education opportunities, as well as the importance of ensuring that Marine families are well taken care of, and are apprised of all the services that they are entitled.