Why Military Vets Make Great Business Leaders

A strong resolve and the ability to make hard decisions are not only common, but necessary traits of military soldiers.  Therefore, it is no corporate militarysurprise that as veterans, they maintain the ability to show strength and composure during difficult and stressful situations, especially in positions of leadership.

Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families conducted a recent study concluding that military veterans hold many of the characteristics that employers commonly seek in top job candidates.  The report, entitled “The Business Case for Hiring a Veteran”, indicated exactly which traits helped veterans succeed in the workplace.  Researchers discovered that among the most useful, were complex team-building skills, a keen commitment to organization, and “high levels of resiliency”.

Of course, there is considerably more at stake in a military environment as opposed to a civilian employment setting, however many of the same military philosophies can be applied to achieve successful results in the corporate private sector.

The military ethos enforces and emphasizes the importance of the team beyond the individual. This framework can be easily and productively applied to business, where a team is only considered as strong and effective as its weakest member, especially in newer organizations. Within the context of a team, results are more readily achieved by calling upon the combined specific strengths of each member, rather than relying on separate solo efforts to reach a challenging goal.  The ability to work as an integral part of a greater whole as well as organize and build an effective team structure is just part of what makes military veterans shine in civilian leadership positions.

SCC-team-player-team-leaderWhether on the front lines of combat or within a competitive business situation, it is the responsibility of the leader to strategize ways of surviving and securing an advantage over the enemy (or competitor).  A capable leader keeps a long-distance view of the situation, avoiding distraction and derailment, while also empowering the team.  Both military officers and business leaders also understand how to create a sense of accountability, not only within the team, but within themselves; for it is their example that sets precedence for the group.

Just as the military is mission-focused, so are successful corporations.  Although a business wager is not a life and death situation, both officers and executives must keep focused on the plan toward ultimate success (or victory).  Just as training, groundwork, and strategy are crucial during combat, the right skill-set mixed with proper planning and follow-through is also a must in the business world. Moreover, understanding how to respond when a situation does not go according to plan is an expertise that translates particularly well from the military into the corporate world, and it’s also another area where military vets show great strength in leadership.

It is within the discipline, tenacity, and directive abilities of military veterans where leaders of all kinds can realize and measure their own capabilities and standards of excellence in the business world and beyond.


Fred Coon, CEO


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