Successful Habits From Military Leaders, For Military Leaders

Successful Habits From Military Leaders, For Military Leaders

Whether you are in the military or not, these habits are for everyone in leadership roles, or who aspire to leadership roles. They are the observations of an Army officer who had a 23-year career in the service. These are leadership attributes that he learned along the way, and can be applied for both civilian and military leadership at all levels. 

Respect Others | Leaders who treat everyone like an adult human being tended to have a tram that worked the hardest for them. You really only get one chance to show your team that you value them. Gaining loyalty within your team is hard to regain once lost. 

Look At Capabilities | Smart leaders listen to all ideas and advice and proceed with the best ideas, regardless of the source. Sometimes the smartest voice in the room comes from the most junior people. Leaders should realize that sometimes they may lose their edge on creative solutions and need an infusion of new ideas. 

Praise In Public | Publicly reward your people any time that you can. Give credit where it is due. Conversely, if you must counsel someone regarding their deficiencies, do it away from others. 

Acknowledge Those Behind The Scenes | Most leaders have hundreds of nameless people working behind the scenes to enable their daily activities. Remembering to recognize and thank those people often inspires them. This advice goes for your staff too, do not allow them to mistreat others. Your staff is a reflection of you!

Provide A Clear Vision | No one can read your mind. If your vision changes, let your people know. And, if people on your team are not doing tasks to achieve the mission, let them know. 

Trust Your Team | Once you have provided a clear vision and strategy to your team, empower them to do their part to make it happen. Make sure that you back them up if they make an honest mistake trying to achieve your vision. When a member of the team really gets something right, highlight those successes for everyone else to emulate. If you cannot trust your team, then you may not be leading them well. 

Be Honest | Especially with your superiors, never sugarcoat your reports about the progress of the mission. Also, do not hold on to bad information. Be respectful and honest. 

Build Your Team Slowly | Do not be in a hurry to build your team for a new project, look for and hire the right people at the right time. If you have a lot of people sitting around at the beginning of a project trying to figure out what to do, it is a recipe for disaster. Gather a small self-starting, creative team at the beginning who will set up the entire project for success. You can add team members along the way. 

Keep Calm | Remain calm, even in the face of chaos. If you fly off the handle when something does not go right, your people will stop being honest with you. You do not want that. Remember, everyone is watching you, all the time. Be your best self consistently, and be disciplined.

Let Incompetent People Go | We already advised that you keep your team members informed if they are falling short. Do they lack the proper training to complete the task? Can you provide the required training? Maybe they have reached their maximum potential. If you have identified that they can no longer be an asset to the team, let them go in the best way possible. 

Increase Your Network | Always look for additions to your circle of contacts. Always look for others who can help you achieve your mission. Plus, if you have people in your sphere that do not know each other but should, introduce them! 

Mentor & Coach | Your job as a great leader is to build the next generation of leaders. Take the time to mentor and teach both the simplest and most complex concepts daily. 

Your Family | Teach your team to take care of their family and friends. Everyone needs support from home. Solid relationships are an asset.  

Rest | There may be a point when you are physically or mentally tired. You will need to identify whether you must push through as you might ask your team to do, or rest. Take the advice of trusted friends and/or teammates when they tell you to take a break. 

Dr. Martin Luther King’s idea of leadership:
Don’t worry about being safe, political, or popular nor make decisions out of cowardice, expediency, or vanity; but simply take actions your conscience tells you are right.

Most good leaders exhibit at least some of these traits. What can you learn from your current leader? These concepts will propel you through your military career and beyond. Bravo. Zulu.


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