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Military methods in the workplace

Chad Storlie

Technique No4

Teach and coach others to higher performance levels. Leaders think of themselves as responsible for setting strategy and making decisions, but they seldom think of themselves as coaches and teachers. If you have ever been to a military marksmanship range, you have seen this leader coaching in action. At a military range, the senior military personnel work the hardest, coaching, teaching and setting higher standards for junior personnel. At one of my last military drills before I retired, I remember helping coach a private in how to shoot correctly; there was a gulf of more than 20 years’ experience between us, but I was the one who was dusty and dirty from crawling on the ground. Every interaction between a leader and his team is an opportunity to coach, teach and train to higher standards of performance. Whether it is the rifle range or the sales counter, coaching and teaching make good employees great.

Technique No5

Enforce safety and accident prevention as part of everyone’s job. When the US Army starts its daily missions, whether a ground convoy or a shooting range, the day begins with a safety briefing, medical evacuation procedures and a rehearsal of the day’s most dangerous activities. Anyone, from the newest private to a seasoned sergeant, can call a safety halt if he feels anyone is in danger.

This integral adoption of safety procedures as part of the job is vital. When everyone has a role in safety, everyone looks to create a safe environment – no one sits on the sidelines. Frontline retail and restaurant leaders are at the cutting edge of accident prevention.

Technique No6

Always lead by example. Leadership by example is one of the central tenets of military leadership. It is important to portray a strong, unflappable attitude in every activity you undertake for the organisation, no matter how small. From dealing with an angry customer to restocking shelves, a leadership style that embraces leadership by example always sets the correct standard for an organisation.

This style must also embrace passion, humility and courage to guide the organisation. Finally, leadership by example must set and enforce high levels of organisational performance.

This coming autumn and winter will be challenging for businesses, no doubt about it. However, adapting these military techniques will make for a better experience. Now, go out to lead and do great things.

Chad Storlie is a retired US Army special forces officer and the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader.