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Leadership Lessons From a Marine


In August, I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Fidelis Leadership Accelerator. My friend, Mike Ettore is the founder of the Fidelis Leadership Group. Through his military and business career, Mike has learned a great deal about leadership and mentorship. At this conference, he presented the Marine Corps’ Six Troop Leading Steps to illustrate the importance of supervision in a leadership position. BAMCIS (pronounced “bam-sis”) is an acronym used to describe the time-tested steps used by Marines to enable a logical and orderly process for making the best use of time, facilities and personnel when preparing and executing a mission. BAMCIS stands for:

  • B – Begin the Planning
  • A – Arrange for Reconnaissance
  • M – Make Reconnaissance
  • C – Complete the Planning
  • I – Issue the Order
  • S – Supervise

Last But Not Least, Supervise

During his presentation, Mike spoke about the importance of the ‘S’ in BAMCIS. The ‘S’ is said to be one of the most important steps of the leadership process and is often overlooked – by a lot of good leaders. I can honestly say that there was a time at LABUR where we overlooked this step. At the ‘old’ LABUR, we told the team once, twice, three times, then expected them to ‘go do.’ It’s important to remember: even well-intended people forget, have other priorities or just get distracted.

Here’s more from Mike on the ‘S’ in BAMCIS:

“Proper supervision can be a tricky thing to design and implement. A version of The Goldilocks Rule applies: too little supervision and your team won’t succeed; too much supervision means subordinates won’t develop or take initiative and they may view leaders as micromanagers.

Any leader, whether she is a Marine sergeant or a senior vice president in a Fortune 500 company, should know her people well enough to understand who might need more supervision and who can be trusted to follow instructions independently. It is also essential to ensure that your people have everything they need – in terms of time, training, supplies and equipment – for the task they’ve been assigned.”

Any mission, assignment, task or job depends heavily on how well a leader supervises and ensures their teams are ready and able to complete the task that has been assigned to them. Success hinges on that supervision. Marines place a large emphasis on supervision for all leaders of all levels. And while there are a lot of military approaches that I think translate well into a business environment, the priority supervision is given is definitely one of them.

Trust but Verify

A good leader gives their team three things: a clear direction, the tools they need to complete the task at hand, and, most importantly, support. For example, it can be as easy as following up with a colleague after assigning a task during a meeting. If, as a leader, you give your staff those three things, they should be in a position to thrive.

In 2018, we focused on implementing this supervision. We created metrics and promoted leaders to management positions to ensure accountability on all levels. The supervision that we built created a more constructive – and understanding – workplace at LABUR. Productivity has shot through the roof because our team has the leadership they need to ask questions, to reinforce tasks and, above all, to learn from. At LABUR, like in the Marines, as Mike tells me, we lead by example.

A special thanks to Mike Ettore for inspiring a leadership transformation here at LABUR.

To learn more about Mike and Fidelis, visit: fidelisleadership.com.