Women in Leadership

"Be One of the Few, the Proud Who Utilize The Marines #1 Leadership Technique"

Tom Hanson asked:

You may not want to have the reputation around your office of being a drill sergeant, but do you think you could benefit from learning their #1 secret for producing great results on their teams?

Drill sergeants are famous for being tough.

It’s understandable because the stakes are as high as they get: their direct reports’ lives are at stake every day. If “balls get dropped” around their office, people die.

And we think we have stressful board meetings or are

overwhelmed with work!

What do you suppose successful drill sergeants say is their #1 technique for getting the best out of their troops?

What is the thing that they say is most important, most persuasive, most effective at improving the performance of the people they train?

Think about it for a minute.

For hundreds of years there have been leaders and recruits in the armed services. They’ve had countless opportunities to learn the best methods for preparing young men and now women for battle. And again, they have to prepare them for the most stressful task on earth: to literally be under fire.

What is their #1 leadership technique?


“The underpinning of the psychology of recruit training isleadership by example,” says Maj. Keith Burkepile who was director of the Drill Instructor School in South Carolina for the past 2 years. “The drill instructor becomes the role model and the recruit is inspired to emulate him or her.”

So how do they train drill instructors?

“Drill instructors were not spit out on a rock, and the sun didn’t hatch them,” says R. Lee Ermey, a Marine drill instructor who trained recruits during the Vietnam War.

Drill instructors are made in much the same way recruits are trained, although the stakes are higher. The best of the best get into Drill Instructor School, and only the best of those graduate to become drill instructors.

Once again, the #1 technique for training Drill Instructors is by example.

So, leader: What kind of an example are you setting?

Are you bucking the trend of poor accountability and integrity in your company?

Do you inspire people to not want to let you down because of your shining example?

I’ve found that business leaders want to hold others accountable, they want to be a great example, but they don’t want to destroy the working environment by being a drill sergeant about it.

How do you do that?

There are many skills involved, and they make up a longer story than I can get into at the moment.

But simply asking yourself how good an example you are setting is a great start.

Too often I find leaders want me to come to their companies and fix the other people in the organization.

Start with whoever is reading this article.

Be one of the few and the proud.

Set an intention that you will be a shining example how you want people in your organization to be. And be the best example you can be today.

Note: I got the quotes from an article on a new book, “The Few and The Proud: Marine Corps Drill Instructors in their Own Words” that looks very good.

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