Behind the cover: The commandant’s plan to expose bad bosses and broken commands


This week’s cover story looks at the commandant’s plan to flag dysfunctional commands and improve accountability among leaders.
(Cover design by John Harman/Staff)

If you’ve never had a lousy boss, consider yourself lucky. The sad fact is that at some point in our professional lives, most of us — military and civilian alike — will encounter a superior who is an absolute pain to deal with.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is taking aim at so-called “toxic leaders” by encouraging each of the services to adopt 360-degree evaluations, a process in which commanders are reviewed by their peers and subordinates in addition to the officers who oversee them. The objective is to identify bad apples early, before they’re promoted into positions where they can poison morale and do real damage to unit cohesion.

I met with the commandant last week to discuss how the Marine Corps intends to implement Dempsey’s recommendation. He revealed a detailed plan that includes 360-degree evals for the Corps’ general officers as well as comprehensive new command climate surveys that will require participation from every Marine in a unit.

It’s a seismic shift, one that’s designed to make your work environment function better by ensuring leaders up and down the chain of command — officers and enlisted — are meeting expectations and being held accountable when they do not.

You can read the cover story now on Marine Corps Times Prime. Check it out and let us know what you think of the plan, and how it will go over in your command.


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  1. It is about time. I served 22 years, half was enlisted, the other half as an officer. During that time I had no less than three officers I served under that were all about themselves and just plain horrible officers. Two of them got what they deserved and did not progress up the ranks. The third one…he is still in, if the evaluation system was in place sooner, he would have been gone. As long as the evals are looked in a way that does not take a few negatives too serious, it will work. Not every Marine will approve of everything their leadership does…at the same time, a way for juniors to rate superiors has been needed for a long time!

  2. It saddens me to say, the number of good enlisted Marines, bad officers have driven out.

    I can recall one 1st Lt, who during training operations, had troops driving 18 hour days, 7 days straight. Flagrant violation of safety protocol/rules/regulations. But it was all done to make HIM look good.

    At the time I was an E-6, and for daring to try to correct him, and then going up the chain of command to stop his actions, I paid the price, with bad evaluations.

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