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Expectations of a Young Marine Leader

  1. You always represent the Young Marine program whether you are on your own time or with the unit. Therefore you should act and look as if people are judging you as a Young Marine, because they are. If you are in a situation that goes against what the Young Marines stand for…be strong enough to stand up for what is right.
  2. Your main priority is in taking care of your troops. Their safety and progress within the program is your main concern. You must make sure they are motivated and prepared. People do not judge a leader only by what he or she does and says, they judge by looking at the subordinates, those below them. There is truth to the saying that if "you take care of your troops, they will take care of you."
  3. Make the Young Marine program important in your life. You cannot be a good leader part time. A good leader not only knows the Leadership Principles and Traits, he or she lives by them. Study those traits and principles, do they describe you?
  4. You must show support for your leaders and the decisions of those that outrank you. There will be times when you may not agree with a decision that has been made, but it is your job as a leader to support it with enthusiasm to your troops. You must never "bad-mouth" a Senior Young Marine, Staff member, or the program.
  5. Ask questions. If you do not know how to do something, ask your senior. Show an interest in learning. As you gain knowledge you will become more confident and be more respected.
  6. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. A good leader leads from the front, will not make others do something just because he or she doesn't want to. If you're not selling car wash tickets, how can you expect your troops to do it? If you're goofing off, how can you expect them to work hard?
  7. Leadership carries a lot of responsibility, to take care of your junior Young Marines, to always look your best; to always do your best, to entice or encourage others to be at their best. But it also carries rewards to those who are willing to work hard and who also put others' welfare in front of their own. To see someone succeed knowing that you helped him or her is a special reward.

Leadership is not easy, if it was anyone could do it. There will be times when a leader has to make an unpopular or difficult decision, because he or she knows it's the right thing to do. But people depend on the leader to do what's right, not what's easy.

Updated: October 2008