In many ways, the military prepares its members for service well beyond the parameters of its branches. The leadership skills alone that are pushed upon soldiers are unparalleled in the civilian world. And with a quick Google search, it’s easy to see how these particular skills can specifically translate to the world of big business. Just type in “US military has more training than CEOs” and you’ll find studies and stories of former military personnel who have gone on to become highly successful in the world of business — mostly due to their military leadership training.
You, as a Veteran, are among this crowd of elite leaders. Here are a few ways in which the military taught you to be a leader in business.
Be, Know, Do.
Though the Be-Know-Do method is an Army-specific leadership mantra, this mentality can apply to military training across the board. In the service, you are taught that your subordinates will follow what you do far before they’ll follow what you say. The same rules apply to business. As a leader, if you set the precedent of being late to meetings, talking negatively about company leaders, or dress below standard, the rest of your team will follow suit. If your objective is to motivate, you must first become what you want them to emulate, know the right thing to do, and then do it.
Lead instead of manage.
The military is run with a top-down organizational approach, meaning there is one centralized leader who is responsible for all successes and failures of the team. Often, the civilian workplace runs in a bottom-up capacity, which also comes with its pros and cons. Though you aren’t there to revamp the company hierarchy, your top-down experience gave you valuable lessons in leading others that can still translate well on business teams. When tasked with leadership, you’ve been trained to develop your team members both professionally and personally. If one is failing personally it often affects their ability to succeed professionally. When that happens, you take the heat as their leader. Mentoring them to succeed in all aspects of their lives, not just the one at work, is also a true relationship-building technique that will win you trust and respect.
Your time in service has bred in you a sense of pride and loyalty to your order of business. You were a part of something big, whether fun or not, and you knew where your commitments stood. Use this mindset in the business world. No matter what you do, do it with all your attention. That’s what the military taught you and it will serve you well with your civilian peers.
It’s impossible to cover all the ways in which Veteran skills are translatable to the “real” world. Visit SAVI to learn more about how we can help you reach your full potential on the other side.