Applying Military Leadership Lessons In The Civilian World

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Military Leadership

Leadership and the military go hand in hand, and they always have. Few other organizations place such a consistent emphasis (with good reason!) on cultivating leadership skills at every level. Military units quite literally live and die based on how well they work as teams and how well their commanders exercise leadership abilities. The attention given to leadership training in the military pays off in a big way for veterans who move into the civilian job market.


Inspiration At The Corporate Level

The military has changed dramatically in the past two decades, and it’s only partially due to the War on Terror. Even before September 11, 2001, it was clear that the military’s mission was changing, and senior leaders were altering their thinking to address those changes. Modern military leadership stresses information gathering, total awareness, and adaptability.

These are all leadership qualities that are highly prized in the business world. It’s no accident that high-level officers like General David Petraeus can make millions writing, lecturing, and consulting on leadership after they retire. The proven leadership strategies tested in military units and proven under combat conditions are highly effective when adapted for use in less-stressful corporate environments.

Many high-level corporate jobs and business owners come out of the military, due to their leadership levels acquired while serving. One small business owner in our network that has recently hired a lot of retired military personnel is an iPhone repair Orlando cell phone shop called Love My Phone Repair. Jon, the owner, says he supports what our military does and he enjoys giving back whenever he can.

Another couple large corporations that are very military friendly are Verizon, Home Depot, and General Electric Large corporations and smaller businesses that support our military troops are really doing a good thing. We need to utilize their leadership and experience from what they have learned in their military training. Military leaders like Colin Powell and George W. Bush have also lead the United States with their leadership acquired from serving in the military.


The Job Market For Former Officers

Of course, not everyone retires out of the military with stars on their shoulders! Exposure to the principles of military leadership can still be a tremendous asset for lower-ranked officers. In fact, potential employers will likely expect a superior level of leadership and managerial skills from new hires who have formerly been military officers.

Fortunately, these expectations are rarely difficult for experienced officers to both meet and exceed. While it is sometimes difficult to apply lessons learned from the military’s strict chain of command and rigorous discipline to civilian working life, the core principles of modern military leadership – mutual respect, adaptability, and initiative – are all easily deployed in civilian jobs. This gives former officers a considerable advantage over their competition when placed in leadership roles.


Advice For Enlisted Servicemen

Even veterans who never entered the officer corps can put their military experience to work for them when they enter the civilian job market. When a former soldier lists “teamwork” as one of their skills, employers are far more inclined to pay attention than when assessing civilian job candidates.

Enlisted veterans can also make the most of their experiences by framing any and all leadership opportunities from their military careers as job assets when they’re seeking work. Being a squad leader or running a detail may not be as glamorous as earning an officer’s rank, but it still counts as very real leadership experience in the civilian world.

There are countless specific examples of times when military experience has made a veteran a better leader in a civilian job. There may well be a different positive story in this vein for every former service member. While the specific ways in which the military enhances leadership skills may vary from individual to individual, the consistent improvement in ability which it fosters in all of its service members translates into highly desirable civilian workers. Veterans make superb leaders and team members, and the amount of focused leadership training they’ve received in the service is a large part of the reason why.