How JJ and His Buckle Can Help You Become a Stronger Leader

JJDIDTIEBUCKLE is a memory device Marines use to remember their 14 leadership traits. Learn these traits to become a better leader.

Marine Officer in Uniform

To most people, the phrase, "J.J. did tie buckle" is gibberish. To Marine officers, it means everything.

"JJ DID TIE BUCKLE" is a mneumonic device Marines use to remember the Marine Corps.' 14 aspects of leadership, with each letter representing one leadership trait. Develop these traits in your life, and you'll find success whether you're leading your team into the playoffs or your troops into battle.

Just leaders remain fair and consistent through every decision they make, regardless of the people or circumstances involved. Incorporate justice into your leadership profile by thinking through decisions from other people's points of view.

Leaders must not only make sound decisions, they must remain calm and in control while doing so. Make sure you're able to defend each decision you make with sound reasoning and logic.

Leaders who cannot be relied upon to perform their jobs properly lose respect quickly. Develop a reputation for dependability by performing each task to the best of your ability—and never make excuses.

Good leaders don't wait for someone to tell them to do something. They see a problem or an opportunity and make sure it's taken care of right away. Start taking the initiative by actively looking for problems and coming up with your own solutions.

Decisiveness means making decisions quickly and calmly. Decisive leaders aren't so worried about making a mistake that they freeze at decision time, but they're not so cavalier that they miss important facts. Practice decisiveness by weighing the pros and cons of even the most trivial decision. When larger decisions come around, you'll feel comfortable while quickly working through the process.

Tactful leaders remain polite and calm even in stressful situations. Taking a moment to consider tact before reacting will help you behave courteously even when you feel like lashing out.

Integrity is valuing moral principles above all else. It's refusing to compromise on values, even when everyone else is doing so. Incorporate integrity into your life by always taking the high road, even when no one is watching.

Enthusiastic leaders inspire their followers by expressing a sincere excitement about any task they're given. Develop enthusiasm by taking the time to understand why even the most menial job is important.

If you want to be a leader others respect, you need to carry yourself with confidence, alertness, competence and control. Always be aware of how others perceive you, and hold yourself to the highest standards.

Consider others first in every decision you make. Unselfish leaders never have ulterior motives, and they always put their team first. Become a better leader by making it a point to be considerate and giving credit to others whenever possible.

Courage is grace under pressure, the ability to perform despite being afraid. A leader needs both moral courage to stand up for his or her beliefs, especially when making an unpopular decision; and physical courage when leading a team into a dangerous situation. Develop courage facing down your fears.

Knowledgeable leaders are clear on everything required to perform their jobs at the highest level. They are constantly learning about their tasks, their team and their field. Become a more knowledgeable leader by learning something new every day.

The Marine Corps. motto is Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful). Loyalty to country, the Marines and your team are preached throughout Marine Corps. training. Develop loyalty by deciding never to discuss team problems with outsiders, and never complain about an order. Treat your team as your family.

Endurance is the ability to push through pain, fatigue and stress to finish a task. The only way to develop endurance in your personal life is by pushing your body past its limits on a regular basis.

How many of these traits do you have? Another trait of a great leader is continual growth. Spend time every day working on at least one of these traits, and you'll grow into a leader others will respect.

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