Leadership Lessons From The Life Of US Marines - FocusU

Leadership Lessons From The Life Of US Marines

Fans of action movies, worldwide, are no stranger to the power of US Marines. From fighting alien invasions to putting underground terrorist groups to waste – they are truly the real life Avengers! However, their reel-life image does no justice to the real life power and strength of the world’s most powerful military group.

Every single marine, whether in active duty or enjoying the veteran life will tell you this, proudly

Once a marine, always a marine.

This is because being a marine is not just a job designation. But, rather it’s a lifestyle.

Honour, Courage, and Commitment – these three values define a Marine’s life. The discipline ingrained during the training and on the field stays with them, throughout their lives.

For people looking to empower the leader within, there could be no better role model than a US Marine. After all, the mindset of a true leader is the Marines’ ultimate gift.

Many leadership development books are inspired by these fearless warriors. And, rightfully so. The resilience, discipline, courage, and perseverance that a marine inspires is unbeatable!

Let’s now take a look at a few leadership values that these ferocious leaders live and breathe by –


No matter what you choose to do in life, the most important thing to uphold is honour. For a leader of a team, this becomes even more important. For your actions to inspire confidence, honour is a must.

US Marines live by the code of honour, and uphold human dignity over everything else. This allows them to inspire respect among their squad members. Often faced with life and death situations, honour is what brings the victories home for them.

Similarly, for a leader of any organisation, honour will inspire confidence, trust, and respect from his team. His decisions will hold more value and his actions will inspire his team to follow suit.


It goes without saying that a member of the US Marines Corp has to be fearless. However, this in no way means a lack of fear. But rather, the confidence in their own ability to go above and beyond.

The relentless and unforgiving training that each Marine goes through, prepares them for anything, and everything. Thus, when faced with even the worst of adversities, they don’t hesitate to take charge.

For a leader of an organisation or a team, courage is required to take unconventional and bold decisions. Also, when faced with tough situations – a courageous leader will be able to lead their teams with ease and confidence.

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A leader’s biggest responsibility is to inspire their teams to give their best, and get better each day. This becomes easier to do when they lead by example. A leader taking on a difficult situation with poise, courage, and optimism will always inspire the team to do the same.


Every member of the US Marines Corp is fully committed to his unit, his team, and his country. Their commitment to their cause is only matched by their determination to persevere.

A good leader can also be defined by his commitment. Not just to the organisation’s success, but also to the overall growth of his entire team. Taking calculated risks, being open to new ideas, and fostering a growth mindset are just a few examples of how a leader can display his commitment to his team’s success.

An inspirational leader also stays true to his own set of values. These values may not be written in stone, but through his actions and decisions, a leader can make them known. This may even inspire his team members to follow suit.


When it comes to the US Marines, communication can be the difference between life and death. Often faced with the most ferocious enemies and caught up in the most dire situations, effective communication is of extreme importance for the Marines. A slight error in the message sent and they could lose the lives of many people.

Similarly, for a team to truly thrive, efficient communication remains irreplaceable. And, for the leader of an organisation or team, it is a powerful tool. With refined communication skills, a leader can enable even the most difficult conversations with ease.

Also, for a leader to be able to inspire his team to work for a collective vision, it is important that they understand it. Thus, communication plays a very important role in a leader’s life.

Quick Decision Making

Marines live their lives on the edge. An existence where every second counts and delays are simply not allowed, decisions are made with lightning speed. This means that every single member of the team needs to make quick, yet calculated decisions. These decisions can, and often do, make the difference between life and death. Thus, thinking on their feet becomes second nature to them. And their ability to assess a situation effectively, becomes a skill honed by years of ruthless practice.

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For the leaders across organisations, a similar skill set is required. Even though their decisions may not be life-altering, they are nevertheless, important. In an ever changing VUCA world, market conditions can change in the blink of an eye. This means that, leaders also need to adapt their decisions as per the changing conditions. Thus, quick decision making is of extreme importance to any leader’s growth.

Staying Calm in Times of Crisis

One of the biggest leadership challenges is staying calm even during a crisis. Crisis makes or breaks a leader. These are the times when leaders have to portray their confidence, keep their feelings aside, and stay calm. In the Marine Corps, the primary lesson taught is that it is a sin to “lose bearing” when the stress levels are higher.

As humans, leaders can be afraid of situations. But, understanding and accepting the truth to deal with it are important leadership qualities. Eliminating chaos may always not be manageable, but exploiting it to the fullest to one’s advantage defines a leader.

Leadership development

Getting to lead a corporate setup requires both personal and professional growth. When we say growth, it is not an overnight phenomenon. There has to be a unique and targeted leadership development programme. Various leadership development ideas target altering specific behaviours. The primary characteristics which undergo transition are commitment and dedication. These are the cornerstones of the development of any leader.

When do you think leadership programs work the best? Leaders show maximum development when they can choose and control. Nowadays, we have this overload of Zoom meetings, leading to fatigue. Thus, this would not be an ideal way to communicate.

If you want effective development among your leaders, you have to have a learning experience, with the participants being the core factor. When the leader becomes an active participant, it allows for a better development experience. 

Some leadership development activities are:

  • One-on-one coaching.
  • Workshops on dealing with resistance.
  • Team building exercises.
  • Application of various thought processes.
  • Various kinds of simulations on taking important decisions and implementing them.
  • Creativity
  • Recognising efforts made by the employees and rewarding them

These afore-mentioned qualities make mariners come across as strong leaders. Do take inspiration from them and develop strong leadership qualities within yourself today.

Have any interesting leadership insights to share with us? Drop a comment and we’d love to hear.

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