The Leaders' Corner

Marine Leadership Principles

BY: Nick Torre III • Jul 29, 2019

I became a cadet in 1991, one year after the Philippine National Police was created by the DILG Act of 1990 from the Philippine Constabulary that is a major branch of service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  As such, many subjects taught in the Philippine National Police Academy have military orientation.  Ironically, albeit their martial history, I find many of these lessons very much applicable up to this day in the civilian environment of the PNP.  Among these are the Marine Leadership Principles as written by Major General Emmanuel R Teodosio, the 18th Commandant of the Philippine Marines, when he was still a Captain in 1982.  These principles were in turn, taken from a US Marines field manual but were explained by then Capt. Teodosio in the context of the Philippine setting.  The eleven principles were:

  1. Know yourself and seek self-improvement.
  2. Be technically and tactically proficient.
  3. Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.
  4. Make sound and timely decisions.
  5. Set the example.
  6. Know your Marines and look out for their welfare.
  7. Keep your Marines informed.
  8. Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.
  9. Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.
  10. Train your Marines as a team.
  11. Employ your command in accordance with its capabilities.

A quick scan of the eleven principles immediately shows their obvious applicability not only in the military but also in the PNP and in the private sector especially in business management.  The principles are echoed or reworded and restated in many management and leadership publications by leading scholars.  Especially the admonition of ensuring that the assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished, the civilian equivalent as adapted by the PNP is the Balanced Scorecard espoused by Norton and Kaplan.  This can also be found in the Performance Governance System advanced by the Millennium Challenge Corporation in many departments of the government such as the Department of Justice and the Department of Interiors and Local Government.

Personally, my favorite principles are the first two as these encourage non-stop learning and improvement.  I am always on the lookout for trainings and seminars that I believe can give my leadership and management abilities a boost.  I remember in 1998 when I was still a Senior Inspector (equivalent to Captain in the military) and Chief of the Academics Branch of the Intelligence Training Group (ITG) in Camp Crame.  The US Department of State through its local program offered a one week seminar on Report Writing.  It was intended for personnel involved in intelligence analysis and field agents involved in collection of information.  The subject is very basic and is taught in the entry level intelligence course offered by the ITG.  But sensing that the seminar was something different considering that it was for one week while the subject offered in ITG is only for four hours, I volunteered to join and many of my superiors and peers alike were surprised at my volunteering.  I heard comments from, “Para sa PNCOs (Police Non-Commissioned Officers) at NUP (Non-Uniformed Personnel) lang yan.” to “Hindi mo pa ba alam yan?”  Still, I plodded on and as expected, I am the most senior in the class.  There were only three other uniformed PNP personnel whose ranks were PO2s and the rest were non-uniformed personnel.  After the weeklong seminar, I felt vindicated as the seminar was totally different from the other classes on the same subject that I attended.  The approach involved role playing and I found it very effective as a medium of instruction.  Thus I copied and applied the style in the next classes in ITG that I handled.  It was welcomed by the ITG and the Directorate for Intelligence and more than ever, I became the mainstay instructor of the subject.

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