Marine Corps Leadership Trait TACT
TACT is defined by the Marine Corps blog as “You can deal with people in a manner that will maintain good relations and avoid problems. It means that you are polite, calm, and firm.”
You must be able to maintain your professionalism in all situations. You might lose your TACT and get the job done this time, but lose something bigger in the process. How you treat all Marines goes a long way to establishing trust and enables long term relationships that foster mission accomplishment. As a leader you must learn to work with everybody, not just who you want to.
"In the real world, TACT usually refers to theability of one Marine to approach another about a deficiency or otherwiseuncomfortable situation without the interaction devolving into an altercation.
This trait can be difficult for some Marines to acquire, especially for thosewho seem to pride themselves on being brash and abbrasive. Those Marines inparticular can find it challenging to flip the switch between “hotshotMarine” and “tactful Marine”. I’ve seen a couple ofthose Marines get charged with disrespect among other things as a result of notbeing tactful when talking to a senior Marine.
However, TACT should be a two-way street to acertain extent. A leader has an obligation to be tactful when addressing hissubordinate just as the subordinate has an obligation, but obviously, thesubordinate bears a larger burden.
I found myself in a position where I, as a leader,needed to be tactful when addressing one of my junior Marines. This particular junior Marine had a bit of a hygiene problem … and by that, I mean he smelled as though he only took a shower once a week or so despite us doingphysical training three or four times a week. Having poor physical hygiene is obviously not good for any Marine, let alone one who often talks with seniorleaders (which Marines in my job field do on a regular basis).
At first, I found it challenging to tactfully address the junior Marine in a way that would not create a sour work environment. I firmly believe it the work environment would have beennegatively impacted for all the Marines if I had right off the bat abbrasively told the Marine he stank and needed to take a shower. Instead, I pulled him aside, away from his co-workers, and tactfully offered him more time after PT to go to the base gym and take a shower.
I believe that interaction between us – me showing him I respected what could be a very embarrassing situation and tactfully addressing it away from his fellow Marines – earned me a lot ofrespect from that junior Marine who went on to be my best and hardest working writer.
TACT must be employed by senior and junior Marinesif they want to communicate effectively. It helps foster a good work environment and breeds respect among all Marines.
If you think you need to work on your TACT (and most of us do to one degree or another), I encourage you to first think before you speak … think about what you’re about to say and what you wantto accomplish with your words; think about how the other person could take it,and make sure what you want to accomplish will not be set back by how the person will most likely take what you say.
Leaders must command respect, and part of that isrespecting their subordinates. A leader helps prove that respect for theirsubordinates by tactfully and respectfully interacting with them (of course,that is unless a real Marine Corps ass-chewing is really warranted)."Resources
14 Marine Corps Leadership Traits