Leadership – what can business learn from the military?

“Command with civility and imbue them with martial ardour and victory is certain.” – Sun Tzu

The importance of leadership in successful businesses cannot be understated. As a leader, it is all too simple to become, shall we say, enamoured of your own position. However, by definition, “to lead” is a verb, an action word. Excellent team leadership requires action and/or especially agility. Whilst there are obvious differences between the military and private sector business, much can be learned from the military and its methods to inspire action and achieve their objectives.

Business environments are constantly changing. There are advances in technology, new market opportunities, and especially innovations occurring within your own fantastic team. Successful business in any industry will demonstrate ironclad discipline over their team and especially themselves.

There are eleven generally accepted principles of effective military leadership, which are equally relevant in a business setting:

  • 1.  Know yourself and seek self-improvement
  • 2.  Be tactically and technically proficient
  • 3.  Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
  • 4.  Set the example
  • 5.  Know your people and look out for their welfare
  • 6.  Keep your people informed
  • 7.  Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished
  • 8.  Develop a sense of responsibility among your people
  • 9.  Train your people as a team
  • 10. Make sound and timely decisions
  • 11. Employ your unit in accordance with its capabilities

These principles are memorised by military leaders so that they can be employed with confidence in battlefield situations; the situations most akin to leading a business.

Quick and decisive actions are very often the necessary component to success.

Developing confidence in yourself and your team cannot be emphasised enough. As with any leadership role, even military leaders need to be coached from time to time. If you and your team would benefit from some coaching that moves you closer toward your goals, please contact us.