Just Another Tool For Your Toolbox

Below, Sgt. Maj. Collin Cotterell, USMC (Ret.), Detachment Commandant, continues his series on leadership.

Leaders shape our nation, communities, and organizations. Good leaders help guide us and make the essential large-scale decisions that keep the world moving. Our society usually quickly identifies a bad leader, but what about a good one? What makes a good leader? Great leaders, according to research, consistently possess these characteristics:

  • Honesty
  • Ability to delegate
  • Sense of humor
  • Confidence
  • Commitments
  • Positive Attitude
  • Creativity
  • Ability to Inspire
  • Intuition
  • Communication

While many powerful and successful leaders have not exhibited all of these character traits continuously, and the definition of a good leader is quite ambiguous, most good leaders do leverage at least some of these characteristics. Take someone you view as a great leader- how many of these characteristics do they express? If the characteristics of a good leader above do not describe you, there are ways for you to improve upon leadership capabilities. Like any craft, leadership requires you to learn from your mistakes and continually work at strengthening your weak areas. Seek out a mentor that you admire as a leader. Jot down the characteristics that you feel makes them a greater leader, so as to determine what they did along the way to be the leader they are today.

The Marine leader has been taught to lead, not to manage. They had been taught a good leader must also be a good follower. Leadership is the glue that holds the Corps together. It was leaders with vision and courage who were responsible for the Corps' transformation from small forces assigned to serve aboard Naval vessels to its status today. Many say leaders are born not made.