As servicemen and women return home from active duty they are faced with a plethora of obstacles while transitioning back into civilian life. Entering the workforce after serving your country often proves to be a daunting, difficult task for veterans.
After ending their service many veterans are not comfortable with certain concepts of the corporate world. Things like personal branding and self-promotion can feel inauthentic. While the notion of impression management can deter some from even entering into the business field, there are many inspiring values that veterans can help to instill in their workplace. That being said, if you have the opportunity to work with military veterans the probability of learning a few valuable lessons is great.
Here are a few common mindsets of veterans that are great in business.
Don’t confuse leadership with management.
Managers are the ones in charge of making sure deadlines are met and budgets are upheld. A leader’s role is to motivate and inspire others, leading by example. A manager is not always a leader and vice versa.
Leadership is always clear in military operations. The team knows what is expected of them and how they contribute to the mission. The leader is aware of his or her role and the risks involved. Veterans are often great in filling the role of both leading or being led. This has a lot to do with the structure and practices they were taught in the military.
To apply effective military-style leadership in the workplace there are a few practices to make a habit of. Holding yourself accountable for all actions of your team is important, as well as motivating everyone around you whether you work directly with them or not. Delegate whenever a task isn’t part of your core focus and make sure that you’ve outlined the mission to your team so they have a clear understanding of the goal and what is expected of them.
Business leaders and military veterans are taught to always project confidence and avoid showing weakness. If a business competitor perceives a weakness in your company they will try to exploit it and use the opportunity to change market positioning or take staff away. However, there is something to be said for being honest about any vulnerabilities.
It is not unusual for a service member to reach out to those they trust for encouragement and support. While transitioning careers veterans learn to ask questions and seek mentorship. There are many people that might not be comfortable asking for guidance, however veterans move through their civilian careers with authenticity. Although it may feel vulnerable it’s important to know when to ask for help, as to continue on the path to success.
Have inclusive and cohesive teamwork
The phrase “I got your six” is used in the military to let your comrade know that they’re protected from the back. There is true camaraderie when you and your teammates are looking out for each other. While in business there are support networks and people tend to surround themselves with those that can get the job done, the concept of developing deep bonds is missing.
Military veterans know the value and importance of having unconditional support and loyalty. The relationships we have with our teams can go further than providing cover for someone that’s sick. To have inclusive and cohesive teamwork one must put the group mission above their personal gain. Furthermore, everyone should be able to offer and receive respectful but candid feedback. When you surround yourself with people that “have your six” your business will be more effective, secure, and productive because of it.