Some people believe that veterans are natural born leaders, which is why they join the military. While that’s true in many cases, most veterans will tell you that the military makes leaders.
The Marine Corp is famous for preaching leadership at all levels starting in boot camp, and recruits are taught to hold their leadership accountable. The acronym for the Army’s seven core values is LDRSHIP. The Navy and Air Force are equally invested in building strong leadership among their troops.
Entrepreneur stats also suggest the leadership skills of our veterans are good for business. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that veterans are 45% more likely to start their own business compared to non-veterans. This speaks to the inherent leadership skills veterans possess that don’t simply disappear once they leave the military.
Military Leaders Can Adapt to Different Industries
Think military leadership skills only apply to the armed forces? Think again. The leadership skills that a person gains in the military can easily be applied in the civilian world. The reason for this is adaptability.
The military trains it’s service members to be prepared for a variety of conditions at any given moment. The diversity of the military also comes into play. People from all walks of life come together under extreme circumstances to overcome substantial odds under amazing amounts of pressure. Without adaptability this wouldn’t be possible.
If you need further proof that veterans make strong leaders outside of the military, you need only look at Walmart and the staffing choices the massive retailer has made in recent years. After being faced with a management shortage, Walmart started recruiting former lieutenants and captains. Walmart execs understood that it’s much easier to teach a veteran about retail than it is to teach non-veterans how to be effective leaders.
The decision proved to be a very good one for Walmart. Their initial veteran hires were so successful in their new management roles, Walmart extended the military hiring initiative to all divisions of their business. The practice of hiring veterans for management roles is now a standard procedure for Walmart.
Veteran Leaders Give Their All for the Team
Another reason why veterans are ideal in leadership roles is their dedication to the team. Veterans live through situations where people make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good of the whole. There’s no civilian on-the-job training program that can rival this military experience. Giving their all for the team is something veterans are naturally inclined to do.
Leaders who put the team before themselves are extremely beneficial for any business. Too often when something goes amiss, members of management throw their employees under the bus rather than accepting responsibility for the failure. That’s something a veteran won’t do.
A business can’t expect loyalty from employees if the employees feel like managers aren’t looking out for their best interest. The team player mindset of veteran leaders builds trust among management and employees to create stronger bonds and better cohesion.
A veteran leader will help carry the weight of others when it’s needed and provide guidance whenever it’s necessary. They go the extra mile to make sure their team members have what they need to succeed. And when they don’t, a veteran leader will go to bat for their team to make sure they have the support they need.
The team player mindset also applies higher up the chain of command. Veterans are taught to show loyalty to their leadership and offer unfailing support. If you need to fill middle management positions, veterans are uniquely equipped for the job.
Veterans Lead by Example
Most importantly, veterans are taught to lead by example. They don’t tell subordinates how to carry out a task and then cut corners themselves. Veteran leaders are the type that work alongside the people they lead rather than simply giving orders. This is exactly how military members learn leadership skills when they’re in the ranks. They follow the example that’s set for them.
Leading by example shows integrity, which inspires others to follow suit. Veteran leaders don’t just talk the talk, and their employees respect them for it.
No matter how you feel about war and the military, veterans have proven time and time again to bring valuable leadership skills to the businesses they work for after serving their country. If you want to see how veterans fit into your organization try our hiring analytics platform. The platform was created by veterans to help businesses discover the talents of military service members that may be missed with a resume alone.