It’s no April Fools’ joke, Marines — some leaders want you to think about sheathing your knife hands.
Most Marines are introduced to the crisp, flat-palmed gesture in boot camp. It’s one of the tools drill instructors use to emphasize to civilian recruits how they want things done. But beyond a training environment, some say Marines should exchange knife hands — and the yelling that typically accompanies them — for better leadership tools.
The shift from 12 years of combat to a garrison environment is going to pose challenges for leaders. They’ll need to continue to motivate the young corporals and sergeants, who were empowered during the wars, called on to make strategic decisions as they worked in a dispersed battlefield. That is going to require a renewed emphasis on core leadership values.
Sgt. Maj. Anthony Spadaro, the top enlisted Marine with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., said it’ll be a “back to the future” approach.
Reviving good leadership isn’t anything new, he said — it has always been there. But it means leaders need to think about how to better stay engaged with their Marines and how best to mentor those future staff noncommissioned officers.
And that comes at a time when data suggests about a quarter of Marines aren’t satisfied with the way they’re being treated by their superiors.
Spadaro and other leaders say there’s still a time and a place for knife hands — just don’t use them as your go-to leadership tool.
Right or wrong, knife hands have become a popular meme unto themselves. Some examples:
Be sure to pick up a copy of this week’s Marine Corps Times for the complete story on knife hands. Also in this issue: why the Corps is looking the other way on contract marriages; how budget cuts might slow permanent change-of-station moves; and new officer military occupational specialties that are opening for early separation benefits.
You can read the full story about knife hands on Marine Corps Times PRIME here.