Translating and applying military skills sets to post-military careers is an invaluable, essential, and vital steps for military veterans to have the best opportunity for career success following military service. Leadership, Coaching, Training, and finding Solutions to problems are only a few of the ways to add value. The way to get excited, engaged, and successful in your new civilian career is to leverage and employ your hard-learned military skills in your new civilian career.
Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #1 – Help Your Boss Define Success. In the military, as junior leaders, we were used to helping advice, assisting, and developing our military commanders in their professional duties. Key to this development was helping them determine the description and definition of a successful military operation. In the civilian world, some leaders are extremely protective of their professional position and may resent the ideas of a subordinate helping them define success. To help leaders overcome their fear, start with a small project and show how you can define the success. This is a small impact and powerful example that shows your boss what can be done without appearing to threaten their authority.
Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #2 – Train Your Team To Excel At Their Current (and Future) Jobs. Another military skill that works great for the civilian workplace is training others to do their jobs better and how to do your job. Often times, people believe that by not teaching others how to perform their job, they preserve their position. However, by not training a replacement, you confine yourself to your current position because you cannot be replaced. Training, developing, educating, and improving your team to perform their jobs better and how to do your job makes them better at their own jobs, makes your team better, and makes your team motivated because you are demonstrating how they can succeed in their careers.
Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #3 – Ensure Life Outside of Work Is Good. A classic military job of the Squad Leader or Section Leader was to check on Soldiers outside of work, in the barracks, and their home off base. The belief was that if a person was having trouble outside of work, then how they could perform well while at work. This applies equally in the civilian workplace. Most workers want to keep their work and home life private, which is fine. Inquiring about how their children are doing, their spouse, and the general activities of their home life is a great way to show that you care without being to obtrusive. In addition, giving employees time off for major life events and personal emergencies, as long as it is not over used, is a great way to demonstrate that you care personally about them and their success.
Soft Military Skill For Civilian Career Success #4 – Create, Test, and Offer Solutions for Problems Then Implement. Another great military skill set is when problem identification, initiative and execution intersect. This is when people identify problems, create a solution, test to make sure it works, and then implement the solution all with their own initiative. This discipline to creativity, innovation, and initiative is what makes military and civilian teams great. Again, many civilian bosses can be uncomfortable with this initiative, but it has great value to a business and to customer satisfaction. Start with small problems, solve this effectively, and move onto larger challenges.
Soft skills from the military combine initiative, leadership, problem definition, idea creation, innovative solutions, and effective execution. Some civilian bosses make time to become comfortable with these concepts, but all civilian leaders will find them effective and the right task to perform to make customers satisfied and create a profitable business that customers want to use repeatedly.
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About the blogger:
Chad is the author of two books: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success. Chad’s brand message is that organizations & individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. Chad is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published in over 110 different articles in over 85 separate publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
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