The Marine Corps Leadership Traits – JJDIDTIEBUCKLE

The Leadership Traits of the USMC are summed up as 14 qualities that are essential to every Marine to follow in life, and in the Marine Corps.

Since these leadership principles of the USMC are so important to each and every Marine to live daily, they have a clever acronym to remember each of the 14 leadership traits.


Each letter in the acronym corresponds to the first letter of one of the 14 USMC Leadership Traits. By remembering the acronym, they will be able to recall the traits, and use JJDIDTIEBUCKLE to guide their thoughts and actions.

Justice – Being fair and consistent. Giving consideration for all sides of each decision, and having rewards and punishments based on merit.

Judgement – The Ability to think things through in a clear, and orderly fashion so as to make the right decision.

Dependability – Having the ability to be relied upon to perform duties properly, and complete a job. Always putting in  best effort so as to achieve the highest standards of performance.

Initiative – Taking action even if direct orders haven’t been given and using resourcefulness to solve problems.

Decisiveness – The ability to make good decisions calmly and quickly, and announcing your decisions in a clear, direct and professional manner.

Tact – To deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm.

Integrity -To be honest and truthful in everything you say and do, and value sound moral principles above all else.

Enthusiasm – Performing of your duties with excitement, optimism, and willing to accept the challenges

Bearing – The way you conduct and carry yourself. Manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control.

Unselfishness – To be considerate of others, giving credit to those who deserve it. To make self uncomfortable at the gain of others.

Courage – To remain calm, even while recognizing fear. Having the strength to stand up for what is right. Functioning effectively when in immediate physical danger.

Knowledge – An understanding of science, art, and people. Knowing your job, the unit’s policies, and being informed on current events.

Loyalty – The devotion to country, and the Marine Corps. Unwavering loyalty up and down the chain of command, to seniors, subordinates, and peers. The motto of the Marine Corps is Semper Fidelis (Semper Fi), meaning “Always Faithful”.

Endurance –  Mental and Physical stamina, which is measured by your ability to withstand pain, fatigue, stress, and hardship.

These are the USMC leadership principles as expressed by the acronym:

Check out these quotes from Jocko Willink Navy SEAL.
Jocko Willink is a former United States Navy SEAL and author of Extreme Ownership - How US Navy SEALS Lead and Win. He teaches leadership techniques that he used in battle to apply to business teams. Jocko is INTENSE and inspirational. Here are his most memorable quotes...

Jocko is the former SEAL Commander of Task Unit Bruiser, has a very accomplished podcast, and is a best selling author.


7 thoughts on “JJDIDTIEBUCKLE – USMC Leadership Traits

    1. Thank you!! It auto corrects to that and I am my own proofreader and missed it. THANK YOU!

  1. In my opinion , Loyalty is the most important leadership trait. Being loyal to the country , the Marine Corps, and the ones around you can earn you respect. Having faith in others even if you have to question them is loyalty.

  2. Nick, I tell veterans (of every branch) this acronym with regard to employment services I offer. As a Navy veteran who trained and worked with Marines, it is super important that all veterans gain from this knowledge. These traits are not only attributes that we developed in the military but also are the very same traits that employers seek daily for all positions at all levels and can be incorporated into the resume as well as talking points in the interview.

    1. Thanks for reading James! And yes I couldn’t agree more, that’s what compelled me to write this article! I was never enlisted in the armed forces but was told about JJDIDTIEBUCKLE by a former Marine Corps friend of mine, and I LOVED the message that it sends and the values it instills!

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