Thoughts On The 15 Leadership Traits

During my time in the Navy, I was housed on a Marine Corps base; it was just a few blocks away from where my ship was moored. It was my time there that I befriended a Marine Corps Sergeant — we were close drinking buddies and remain friends today. More importantly, we were both Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) in our respective military branches. One topic we discussed at length was leadership. Somewhere during my career, I learned the acronym JEDI JED BHUCKLIT, which has helped me remember the 15 traits of leadership. Each of these traits have specific meanings for a military leader, however, they are timeless qualities of leadership and endure for leaders regardless of their organization.

So, what is leadership? In the military, we define leadership as “the ability to lead, guide, or influence others so as to accomplish a mission in the manner desired.” This definition has stuck with me for as long as I can remember. Some leaders are defined by their position in the organization and are recognized formally by their title. Others are considered leaders because of their influence on others or their technical expertise. Regardless of your current position, you can always be a leader if you possess and strive to practice the following traits.

Leadership is the ability to lead, guide, or influence others so as to accomplish a mission in the manner desired.

The 15 Traits Of Leadership (JEDI JED BHUCKLIT)

Judgement – The ability to weigh different facts, opinions, or the expertise of those who serve under you. Taking in information, whether complete or not, and making a decision based on your own experiences and training.

Enthusiasm – Radiating genuine excitement for the goals of the organization. Emotions are contagious and a leader who sincerely believes in the goals of the organization will inspire those around them to believe in those goals as well. 

Dependability – Reliability and consistently following through on personal and professional commitments.

Initiative – Spotting a problem and taking action to address it in the absence of instructions from supervisors, managers, or even peers. 

Justice – Giving clear and concise expectations. Remaining consistent when delivering rewards or punishments based on those expectations. Holding oneself and others accountable in accordance with those expectations. 

Endurance – Keeping long and short-term goals in mind. Following through with them to completion, even in the face of adversity. 

Decisiveness – Making decisions in a prompt and timely manner — making your decision known and easy to understand for others to act on.

Bearing – Being a team player and presenting yourself in a positive manner, even in the face of adversity or stress.  

Honor – Treating yourself and others with esteem and respect. 

Unselfishness – Lifting others up and sacrificing one’s own comfort for the sake of others or the mission at hand.

Courage – Recognizing one’s own weaknesses and fears but proceeding forward with calmness and firmness. Pressing forward and following your values, even in the face of criticism. 

Knowledge – Skills and expertise related to one’s profession and recognizing when to lean on the advise and expertise of others.  

Loyalty – Remaining faithful to one’s subordinates and organization and acting in a way that best servers their interests over yours. 

Integrity – Doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. 

Tact – The ability to speak honestly to others without creating offense. 

Thanks for taking the time to read. I’d love to hear your thoughts on leadership. If you’d like to have a discussion, leave a comment below or contact me. I’d love to connect on social media as well!

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3 thoughts on “Thoughts On The 15 Leadership Traits

  1. What a great acronym. I appreciate all the qualities especially unselfishness and tact; the former is difficult to master but so important if you plan on serving other well and the latter I feel is in short supply in the world around us. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the wonderful comment, Adrienne! Tact has always been a hard one for me — I think it’s one of those qualities that matures with you over time.


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