Military Leaders in the Private Sector

I know I’m a little late, but in honor of the Army’s birthday back in June, and in keeping with the theme of military leadership lessons, US Army vet Bill Murphy Jr offers his take on leadership.

US Air Force photo

Here’s a sample:

No organization talks more about leadership and trying to teach its people to become excellent leaders than the U.S. Army. Having both served in the Army and reported on it, I’ve known more military leaders than I could possibly count. Most were admirable professionals. Some, unfortunately, didn’t live up to the standards we have a right to expect. However, there were quite a few others who were truly amazing. These are the leaders who pass what I call the kid brother test: If your kid brother or sister had to go to war, you’d feel a little better knowing that these were the people in charge. In honor of the Army Birthday–the 239th anniversary of the date on which the Continental Congress first authorized the recruitment of troops–here are 23 things great leaders always do (most of which are taught in the U.S. Army).

I think many people believe that military leadership is vastly different than leading in the civilian world; but I say that circumstances may vary widely, leadership is leadership. The leader’s primary task is to motivate people to accomplish a goal. Effective military leaders, just like their civilian counterparts, get that while the “mission” is the purpose it’s the people who do the work that are the most important. Military leaders have unique problems to be sure, but the basic interpersonal skills to motivate and inspire aren’t unique. That’s why military leadership skills are so sought after in the private sector: because the military cultivates and rewards going leadership skills.

What leadership traits do you believe are most important and what can you learn from military leaders?

What strategies do you employ to get teams motivated and focused on your organizational mission?

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