BEARING is this week's Marine Corps leadership trait, and it's defined as, “the way you conduct and carry yourself. Your manner should reflect alertness, competence, confidence, and control.”
This trait is stressed by drill instructors continually throughout recruit training. I remember hearing tall tales of experiments resulting in the creation of sand fleas just to test recruits' bearing at MCRD Parris Island, S.C. Of course they aren't true, but the fact remains they do a very good job of teaching recruits to maintain their BEARING.
It is those times of maintaining BEARING that I use to frame my understanding of this trait. A leader must keep their composure by controlling their mind and their body no matter the circumstances.
Which would be more effective: a leader hysterically shouting orders OR a leader calmly directing his assets? The calm, cool, and collected leader will prevail where the hysterical fails every time.
All of us have had to maintain our BEARING at some point in our career, whether it was recruit training or getting a good ol' fashioned ass-chewing from the first sergeant!
Being able to maintain your BEARING in a stressful situation is part of what sets Marines apart from “lesser” services... where they crumble we prevail!