Whether facing the enemy, or the first day of a conference, something will go wrong and you must have people within your organisation who can adapt and overcome, according to retired Lieutenant Colonel of the US Marine Corp, Dan Mori.

Mori, who had a 28-year career in the US Marines including defending David Hicks before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, was commenting on the characteristics of leaders and the principles of leadership as taught by the military.

“I found myself in a very unique situation and I acted according to the values I’d learned, and that is that everyone deserves a fair chance,” he said. “There will be times when your moral courage and values will be challenged. If you know yourself, then you’ll know how you’ll respond.”

While acknowledging that leadership is intangible, hard to measure and difficult to describe, Mori said that the military has 11 leadership principles (see below).

The “moral courage” he exhibited in defending Hicks, Mori said, had a lot to do with his 28 years in the Marines.

“One of our core values is courage – not just physical, but moral courage – do what’s right,” he said. “But it is harder to have moral courage as a civilian. If you depend on food being on the table, then it’s harder to stand up to your boss.”

Mori said there are many characteristics of a good leader, but they should be willing to seek input from both sides.

“Maybe the person who wants to be in charge, that reveals a character flaw right there.”

The US military’s principles of leadership:

  1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  2. Be technically and tactically proficient.
  3. Know your people and look out for them.
  4. Set the example.
  5. Ensure the task is understood, supervised and accomplished.
  6. Train your marines and sailors as a team.
  7. Make sound and timely decisions.
  8. Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates.
  9. Employ your command within its capabilities.
  10. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
  11. Stand up for what is right and have courage in your convictions.
Day 2 newsletter from CMSF 2013
Day 1 newsletter from CMSF 2013

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