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The Marine Corps’ 14 leadership traits – DECISIVENESS

DECISIVENESS is next up on our list of the 14 Marine Corps leadership traits, and in this case, it means, “… you are able to make good decisions without delay. Get all the facts and weigh them against each other. By acting calmly and quickly, you should arrive at a sound decision. You announce your decisions in a clear, firm, professional manner.”

DECISIVENESS is basically the opposite of what I like to call “squishiness” or “wishi-washyness” … which I use to describe people who can’t make a decision and just hem and haw.

I’ve been the subordinate whose leader was indecisive, and it is definitely “no bueno” at all! Leaders who are indecisive do not inspire confidence in their subordinates, which can, in turn, lead to the subordinate questioning every decision the leader makes – something that is definitely NOT a good situation.

Over time, good leaders develop their ability to make timely and well thought out decisions, but it does take some experience, and usually a few bad decisions, to pave the way.

No matter what, once a leader makes a decision based on a set of facts and circumstances, they need to stick to it and see it through unless those facts and circumstances change.

Also, there’s a time and a place for getting input from those around you, and there’s most definitely a time and a place for just making what we call a “command decision”. If one of your subordinates makes a command decision, you as a leader need to provide sufficient feedback afterward to ensure that subordinate grows. Part of our job as a leader is to groom and grow our subordinates to take our place.

Decisiveness isn’t just making a quick decision and stubbornly sticking to it no matter what. The decisive leader can quickly evaluate all the information available and make a good decision based off that information. Then, they communicate that decision to relevant parties clearly and confidently.

Previous Leadership Traits: Judgment, Justice, Overview

  • David Lasure

    Call MCRD and they usually have a copy of all books in their archives.

  • Jsbates

    Decision making, decisiveness, is a primary component that most people focus on. I agree with the “many aspects” of leadership (14 according to your acronym). I would like to offer an extension to the “D”, for decision. Everyone reaches a decision in their own way – with two weighing factors: thought and feeling; not necessarily pre or post. To specify: “think, feel, decide”; “feel, decide, think”, “decide, think, feel”, etc… with training/experience you can minimize the time for any given phase. Granted “feeling” is subjective; but can still be managed. My point is that you can develop skills in decision making so the process is consistent. In my mind, that is what military training is all about. Information (think), Resources(feel), Objective (decide). Sorry, didn’t mean to eliminate the “human” factor in that by calling it resources; Information, Resources, and Objective can be any of the three components (think, feel, decide).

  • Tom Potter

    I am looking for a copy of the my boot camp graduation book for platoon 256 graduating about November of 1962. I did not get the one I ordered back then and would like to see one. Any ideas on how I could see one? Thanks, Tom Potter

  • Mikeshanteler

    I am the Foreman in my civilian job (16 years this June at a school district) and a past President of my Union I have always followed our 14 traits and Decisiveness is one trait I keep on mind. JJDIDTIEBUCKLE. Does anybody know who created this acromymn?