US Marine Master of Quiet Leadership

15 January 2014

Original Article

In a profession dominated by boisterous personalities, command presence and aggressive confidence, it’s hard to imagine a quiet and patient leader. In a fast paced and chaotic training environment, credit is not always attributed to the Marine who forms the ranks, defines the standard, and presses forward with excellence and no complaint. When any man or woman demonstrates unparalleled dedication to the tasks at hand, it’s worth mentioning.

Lance Cpl. Glenn Schroeder, a rifleman with Black Sea Rotational Force 14, has demonstrated exceptional leadership, albeit quietly, while in Mihail Kogalniceanu, Romania Jan. 3-10, 2014. His diligent work ethic, dedication to fellow Marines and outstanding self-discipline has earned him the title of “Marine of the Week.”

Schroeder has been in the Marine Corps for less than two years. Although his experiences have been limited, they have already shaped who he is as both a leader and a peer. His humble and introspective leadership traits are hard to teach.

Sgt. Nicholas Zablonski, Schroeder’s squad leader, has been alongside him for the entirety of the deployment.

“His leadership styles are still developing into his own, but I would say knowing himself and always seeking self-improvement is a leadership style I have seen him develop more throughout this deployment than his peers,” said Zablonski.

Staff Sgt. David Dahl, first platoon commander with BSRF-14, and Sgt. Donnell Watkins, Schroeder’s platoon sergeant, spoke candidly about Schroeder’s self-discipline and his potential as a future leader.

“He doesn’t say much but he is one of the hardest workers I have,” said Dahl. “He devotes his liberty time to physical training, which surpasses unit training in difficulty.”

“[Schroeder’s] motivation, dependability and work ethic as a teammate within his fire team is an outstanding example of how he out performs his peers and junior Marines,” said Watkins. “He shows an extraordinary ability to be flexible working out of his military occupational specialty. He demonstrates a strong desire to develop himself throughout this deployment.”

According to Watkins, Schroeder is usually the first to volunteer for any tasks and never complains.

“I look at everything pretty positively. I try and look at things if I was a sergeant or a corporal. Attention to detail is a big thing. It may seem insignificant but normally there is a bigger picture that we don’t always see on [the junior Marine] level,” said Schroeder.

For most, being Marine of the Week serves as a strong accolade for not just one week of accomplished leadership but a trend of success.

“I do a lot of knowledge based stuff. I do a lot of PT in my off time. To [be Marine of the Week] proves to me that I’ve been putting out and my hard work is paying off,” Schroeder genuinely admitted. “In a few instances, we do drill and some people would have problems. I would help them one-on-one and help them get it down during the chow break or whenever.”

Regardless of his volume and dialogue, Schroeder has demonstrated an efficient form of silent leadership through example that has been solidified by his self-discipline and enduring positive attitude.

Here is a great example of how introverted people can be just as effective leaders as extroverted people can. What more of an ultimate test of character and practical demonstration of this than in the US Marines? None that I could say.

In an environment of predominately type A personalities and constant competition in all imaginable aspects, it can no doubt be difficult for a quiet individual to distinguish himself among the crowd. Kudos to this fine Marine for being able to do so. It takes incredible courage and bearing to maintain his type of character and discipline in the face of all the extroverts around him and yet come out on top.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.