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AT&T 28 Days - Lt. General Ronald Bailey

Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations, United States Marine Corps


Lieutenant General Ronald L. Bailey ascribes to the belief that leadership is about influence and relationships. His real-life application of that philosophy placed him on a path that led to Bailey becoming the first African American to command the 1st Marine Division, the oldest, largest and most-decorated division of the United States Marine Corps. Since 2013, the three-star general has served as the Marines Headquarters Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations at the Pentagon.


Q: Which qualities are necessary to be an inspiring leader?

A: In order to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. Being a good follower challenges you. 


Q: The first step to being a part of the solution is …

A: Be someone with a positive attitude. Attitude is a force multiplier. Attitude is infectious. Attitude spreads throughout your organization. 


Q:  Whom do you turn to for counsel?

A:  I call it Three Ps: You have a pal below you, a pal that's your peer and a pal that's your senior. You have someone at all levels ... the people looking up to you who say, "You know you handled that wrong. You didn't do that right."  With your peers, there's always self-analysis. They sometimes say things to you that just take your clothes off're standing there naked. Your mentor above you is the one who says, "Son, I've been through this and let me tell you some things that you might want to watch out for." 


Q:  What is the trait you believe has most helped you impact others?

A: The trait that has helped me more than any is the drive and desire to be successful and win. Don't misunderstand me: I'll never cheat you to beat you. But you'll never work harder than me. If I see you're doing something and are very good at it, the first thing I'm going to do is walk up to you and ask you to show me how you're doing it. The second thing I'm going to do is go back and practice, work it over, rehearse it, rehearse it, rehearse it--until I get it.

Once I get it, I'm not going to brag about it. But I'm going to come full measure. I'm going to drive. Because I believe if there's a will, you will find a way. 


Q:  What does self-care look like in your life?

A:  I get up every morning at five o clock and work out. I know me. I know I'll make an excuse if I wait until noontime or in the afternoon. I know I have to get up at five and hit the track to run. I do that because I know if you're physically healthy, your mental health is strong, also. 


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