|Websites for Professionals
Take control of your online presence
with your own professional website!
Why Marines Never Use the
There are a lot of very practical reasons for Marines to watch their language, especially on the battlefield. For example, he/she will never use the word "Repeat" in radio communications, for fear that it may be misinterpreted as "Retreat." Instead, a Marine will use the phrase "I say again"-a little clumsy, perhaps, but certainly unambiguous. The Army may refer to a hole dug in the ground as a "fox hole," but Marines balk at the term; after all, foxes hide in fox holes. The same hole, in Marine parlance, is a "fighting hole." And, while Army soldiers refer to their drab, olive green, field uniforms as "fatigues," Marines call their exact same drab, olive green, uniforms "utilities."
There is another word you'll never hear a Marine Corps officer, sergeant, or drill instructor use - and that is, "Manage." In fact the word is treated with such abhorrence, it is often referred to as the "M Word." That's because Marines are trained to lead, not to manage.
Now, to those of us who are managers, the distinction may not be so obvious. Here, then, are a few of the differences between "managing" and "leading," as seen from the Marine Corps perspective.
Managers push their people.
Managers order their personnel to get the job done.
Managers build a fire under your butt.
"Hands on" managers cultivate obedience.
Managers consider themselves part of an exclusive club.
Managers accept credit for the success of their subordinates.
When a project turns sour, the manager asks, "Who is responsible?"
You work overtime for a manager;
Managers need to constantly make their presence known.
We hope we have given you an idea of why Marines will never use the "M Word." But before you despair, we do believe that Marine officers, sergeants, and drill instructors would be very impressed by the new breed of managers, leading the corporate mission, in today's workplace. Now and then, though, it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of the differences between the "M Word" and the "L Word."
Many more articles in Mission Ready in The CEO Refresher Archives