There is no better place to earn the skill of leadership then in the Military.
More now then ever we see great leadership even at the lowest levels. From the squad leader to the division commander, leadership is a trait ingrained in us. We’re taught it, then we teach others, we’re thrown into positions that those skills must be implemented, we understand leading by example, and using tough love when disciplining or teaching a lesson.
In the military we are extremely loyal and understand how important loyalty is. Loyalty to our country, down to our team and each individual. I am still in touch with my platoon from 20 years ago, and I would jump through hoops for anyone from my old ODA. In the same respect I was always loyal to my company and my employees. When you own a business, it’s your baby, your employees are family, and your livelihood. You must not only know you are loyal to your business but loyal to your employees, who are the backbone of your business. Only 2 months after I took over my business, my center director’s husband and son both were hospitalized with an illness. I sent her home, told her not to worry about work, the rest of us got it. I sent her home for nearly a month with pay. When it was over, I had a very loyal employee for the next 8 years. Her family called me, her father a retired Colonel and even came to my office personally to thank me.
Our sense of duty runs deep. Never leave your post until properly relieved. We memorized that in basic training and were reminded of it every time you were on duty. It’s more then standing at the gate or not falling asleep on an ambush line but doing the right thing to the best of your ability all the time and never giving up. Our sense of duty goes a long way and can easily be seen. As a business owner I would do anything for that business, and your employees will see that. You can also see if your employees have a sense of duty. I once had a manager choose a concert over being at work. That person didn’t last much longer. If they were good employees, they’ll notice the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it.
Respect is extremely important in today’s business world, and the military has been teaching respect forever. Respect for someone’s position, their race, gender, rank, but also respect someone else’s views or decisions. Unless the decision is going to compromise any of our values, then we will question it, or give advice so it will be a better decision. Most veterans have been around the world and worked with different cultures, religions, and governments. Even at the squad or team level, we worked with the local leader in Afghanistan, or a Colonel of a foreign Army, we build rapport with everyone. This easily transfers to the business world, we understand how much someone else’s opinion can matter, or that they may see the situation from a different view, and no matter what we show them respect.
We lead by example, it could be showing respect, working late, putting in extra effort to make the product better, giving an honest opinion, and being trustworthy. We practice these values and attributes everyday in the military and if applied correctly, it will make a person a phenomenal leader in business.