What is the correlation between the military and the corporate world? How can we assess the military leadership style and pick lessons from it? Is there a way business and executive leaders can emulate military leaders to achieve greater results for their businesses?
The relationship between the military and the corporate world may not be obvious at the first look, but a closer look will show that both of them have more in common than we may think. One of the major things that bind the military and the corporate world together when it comes to leadership is mentorship and successive leadership.
As a business leader who is interested in the continuous existence of your company, one of the thoughts that may cross your mind often is that of succession, mentorship, and posterity. Are there people that can take over the reins of the company when you are gone? This is where the military leadership style comes in.
LESSONS FROM THE MILITARY LEADERSHIP STYLE.
One of the things that the military does that business leaders can emulate is that they treat every leader as a mentor and every subordinate as a mentee. This approach is to ensure that every leader is saddled with the responsibility to train and groom successors. It also sends a message to the soldiers below them; a message that says, one day, they will also be leaders.
The military system where the leaders mentor their subordinates on a regular and continuous basis gives the military its ever-increasing leadership ability. And it ensures that there is no leadership gap. Once a general exits the force, there is already another leader to take over. It’s an endless stream of competent and qualified leaders.
Mentorship is the answer to the problem of succession. It allows you to have someone that you can trust take over from you or hold a position of power within the company. And in addition to this, mentoring people within your company so they can lead someday is a way of showing respect for the values of your employees.
As a leader, letting your employees know that you see the leadership potential in them and you are ready to groom them for the top is an affirmation that you believe in them. Employees deserve affirmation. It’s a demonstration of trust in the value they have been giving to the company and that you will like them to continue doing the same at the leadership level.
A closer look at the military will reveal why there is so much uniformity and sameness in how things have been done from decade to decade and how this does not in any way make the military ineffective. If anything, they become more efficient and productive. This is a result of continued quality leadership which stems from soldiers who also started as mentees and trainees.
Business leaders can emulate this in their company. One way to achieve a non-stop stream of quality leaders is to start building your employees for the top from the moment they join the company. Soldiers do not wait for a fellow soldier to die on the battlefield before they begin training. As a business leader with eyes on the future, it is essential that you begin training your new hires the moment they are employed. Let foresight guide you in the decisions you make.
One of the ways you can achieve this early training for new hires is to have a structure in place that integrates new hires into the company and the training process as well. This can be a part of your Human Resources or Culture team. A pairing system can be initiated where new hires are paired with the veterans in the company to learn the ropes of leadership.
This secures the future of your company and it also has some other unintended benefits. One of these is bonding. Pairing new hires with veterans creates a bond between both parties and fosters unity and teamwork in the company. It also helps you keep your employee. Having a place where you can learn and possibly become a leader is a chance that some employees will find attractive and this may be the incentive you need to keep them with you.
Leadership can be tasking and ensuring quick and efficient succession for any vacant post is not as easy as it sounds. Approaching corporate business leadership from a military-style can be the solution you need to the challenge of succession in leadership.