Leadership is a quality that is essential in both the military and business. My experience as a leader in the military helped me to thrive as an entrepreneur.
During my eight years serving in the U.S. Army, I learned crucial skills such as self-discipline, personal courage, taking charge, and motivating myself and others. These skills have done me well in my online business.
My business has grown since I began using the leadership skills that I learned in the military. If you'd like to improve your business, I highly recommend learning about military leadership and applying what you know. You won't be disappointed!
Here are my top 7 military leadership skills that I recommend you develop in order to have a thriving business. We’re starting with number 7 and doing this countdown style because in order to achieve the success, you must always begin with the end in mind.
7. Establish a clear vision and mission
Your business needs a focal point to center itself to work towards a single purpose; a vision and mission statement can help you do this and increase the organization's efficiency and productivity.
Your mission and vision statement don’t need to be long, but they do need to be simple to understand.
For example, my business's vision statement is…
“To bring families closer together by teaching others how to become leaders in their life and business.”
For example, my business's mission statement is…
“Helping business owners streamline business systems and process so that they can get their time back and experience lifestyle and financial freedom - aka build true wealth.”
Defining this statement helps to keep my team and I focused on what type of content, products, and services we’re willing to produce and what type we’re not.
6. Create a system of values and ethics
Values guide how a business will reach its vision. Bringing the idea to fruition without strong and defined values is impossible because there are no individual steps to provide guidance.
Integrity, innovation, authenticity, loyalty, respect, selfless service, personal development
5. Set goals and objectives
A successful business leader will tell you that discipline, focus, and determination are essential for success. After all, running a business takes a great deal of discipline, especially in the early days when everything is new and there are so many unknowns.
It takes focus to stay on track and keep moving forward, even when things get tough. And it takes determination to see your vision through to completion, no matter what obstacles you face along the way. Military leadership styles can be especially helpful in developing these qualities.
Leaders in the military are known for their discipline, ability to maintain focus under pressure, and unwavering determination. By studying military leadership styles, entrepreneurs can learn how to instill these qualities in their businesses.
With discipline, focus, and determination, any business can achieve success.
4. Train your troops - Build a team of competent and motivated individuals
A great military leader leads from behind. Meaning that typically the military leader is a generalist while subordinates are specialists. As the leader, you provide guidance, direction, and support to your team members as needed, but you do not micromanage; you lead and ensure that your team members uphold the company standard.
3. Encourage risk-taking and innovation
Want to become an industry leader? If so, then innovation is essential. And innovation is not born from doing what everyone else is doing but rather by creating a culture that encourages calculated risk-taking.
Not every risk will lead to a reward. Therefore it's vital to conduct regular AAR (after-action reviews meetings with your team so that everyone can identify what can be repeated and what needs improvement in the next round.
Innovation happens when a business is encouraged to take calculated, creative risks.
Create an environment where sharing ideas and trying new strategies is safe.
For creativity to thrive, business leaders must encourage risk-taking, test results, and trust in their team.
Here are 3 ways to encourage calculated risk-taking so creative innovation can thrive.
1. Plan first – know your risk tolerance and plan accordingly. Encourage your team members to also present a plan before taking action.
2. Test, test, test - innovation requires thorough testing. Know how you'll measure the results as you go.
3. Trust your team– trust is built over time. Keep roles and responsibilities clear. Encourage honesty and open communication.
2. Reward success and correct failure
Creative thinking is a skill that can sharpen through trial and error.
Obstacles will inevitably arise. When they do, be sure not to highlight the problem but to spotlight the mini successes along the way.
People fear being punished.
If you, as the leader, continue to focus on what's going wrong, your team will be less likely to experiment with creative thinking.
Do's and Don'ts
Do reward employees for new ideas even if the plan doesn't pan out
Do highlight the micro wins along the way
Do share those wins with the entire team
Don't punish people for trying something new
1. Maintain self-discipline and lead by example
What Is Self-Discipline?
Motivation comes and goes. Focused follow-through with consistent action, aka self-discipline, will take you and your business where you want to go.
Self-discipline is knowing what needs to be done and doing it even when you don't feel like it.
How to Develop Self-Discipline?
Self-discipline is like a muscle: it develops over time with consistent action. The more you work on strengthening it, the stronger it will become.
Don't try to achieve too much too quickly.
Set smaller, more realistic goals for yourself and allow your self-discipline to build on itself little by little each day.
For more episodes on how to strengthen your leadership in life and business, be sure to subscribe and tune into the next episode.