Marine Corps leadership trait in the acronym J.J. DID TIE BUCKLE is
DEPENDABILITY, which means, “You can be relied upon to perform your
duties properly. It means that you can be trusted to complete a job.
It is the willing and voluntary support of the policies and orders
of the chain of command. Dependability also means consistently
putting forth your best effort in an attempt to achieve the highest
standards of performance.”
This leadership trait has somewhat of a sliding scale. By that I
mean it's expected that a staff sergeant should be more dependable
than a lance corporal.
As leaders, we should know our Marines and their abilities, and
it's very important to know when a junior Marine is undependable.
This, obviously, means the Marine can't handle the so-called
“do-or-die” task, but it also may point out a deficiency in our
leadership. At the very least, it shows a weakness that needs to be
addressed through mentoring, because, while all of the leadership
traits are important, a Marine MUST be trusted that he'll keep his
I'd like to take a second and highlight something from that last
paragraph. An undependable junior Marine can be an indicator of poor
leadership, and as a leader, it's incumbent upon us to go through
some objective self-examination to see if we enabled that junior
Marine to become undependable. Did I accurately convey my intent?
Did I give the junior Marine the tools necessary to accomplish the
task? Did I adequately supervise (without micromanaging)? These are
three broad questions I asked myself when I lost faith in a Marine's
ability to accomplish a given task.
Having dependable Marines eliminates micromanagement, which
allows the leader to focus on more pressing business.
Unfortunately, once a Marine exhibits he is undependable, he
brings a good bit of attention to himself until he proves, once
again, he is dependable. By bringing attention, I mean he's likely
to be ridden like a family car, so to say, until his dependability
improves. I'm saying that's necessarily the best way to handle it;
I'm saying that's what will happen having been on both sides of that
Within a month of checking into my first duty station, my boss
determined I had a horrible time management problem. His solution? I
had to account for every 15-minute block of my day, and at the end
of each day, we reviewed everything to see where I could have better
used my time. To say I was ridden like a family car throughout the
day would be putting it mildly, but thankfully, that didn't last
long. I hated (still do to this day) being micromanaged, and I did
everything in my power to get out from under the debilitating
situation in which I had put myself.
All of us, no matter our role, should be where we're supposed to
be when we're supposed to be there and do what it is we're supposed
to do to the best of our ability.
That is dependability, and THAT is what makes Marines so coveted
in the civilian workforce.