12 Leadership Principles From The Army That Will Transform Your Business

Leadership principles

12 Leadership Principles From The Army That Will Transform Your Business

What do the army and business have in common? Both are structured hierarchies where those at the top wield immense power over team members at the bottom.

The army teaches leadership style, discipline and a work ethic that is mentally and physically demanding.

But there are ways to apply these principles to business to develop a work culture and core values of excellence. 

In this blog post, I will look at twelve principles from a combination of what the military teaches and personal leadership philosophy. 

Specifically, I will share how to apply the principles to business to create a work environment that is highly disciplined and makes good leaders.

These 12 principles will help you build a great organizational culture where people can decide the right thing. It can also serve as the rubric to identify ‘bad leaders’ within the organization.

Army leader
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

1. Start with what you already know.

The first thing about great leaders is that they are clear on what they know and their own leadership philosophies.

Hence the first thing on your journey to being the best leader is to identify your own philosophy.

Once you have clarity on your core identity and what you know, everything else flows from there.

You can determine the type of people that will complement you and otherwise.

You also know your blind spots and behaviours, allowing you to provide effective leadership.

Always start with what you know.

2. Set a vision and mission

It is essential for success to have an organizational mission statement.

Hence it is vital to set a vision and mission for your company.

What does success look like? You need to understand what success is in the future and what does mean today in your business.

Having a clear vision and mission enables you to determine what leadership positions you should have and also navigate difficult decisions.

The vision and mission become your north star, a key tool for the best influence of your people. 

3. Identify your core competency

Every business has strengths and weaknesses.

The more a company understands its core competencies, the easier it is to identify the areas it needs to improve.

As a leader, it is essential to understand the core competency at both an individual and corporate level.

It is imperative in talent management and driving the success of individuals in your organization.

Maintaining the status quo on your organization’s core competency requires regular measurement of what is happening at the individual level and constantly filling the gaps.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

4. Hire only the best

Most business owners say that people are their best assets; however, in my experience, only some pay attention to their talent process.

The mission and vision of the organization would determine the set of beliefs underpinning its culture.

The beliefs then define the leadership qualities that the best people must possess.

Hence carefully crafting these attributes and creating an environment to nurture them will position your business correctly in what is now a global war for talent.

Take your time to hire and onboard the best. And move quickly to correct the situation whenever you get it wrong.

5. Reward employees for the excellent work they do

People want to feel valued. It can mean being acknowledged positively.

Or it can be as simple as showing appreciation for their work.

It is also essential to use the rewarding process to recognize leader attributes that are vital to the organization.

Rewards and recognition are among the most powerful tools that build a strong work ethic in an organization.

I have seen people develop the personal courage to try more of their good ideas when it’s clear that the business rewards and recognizes good performance.

It’s easy to feel appreciated when someone goes out of their way to compliment you, but even just acknowledging your excellent work is essential to motivate yourself to do even better. 

6. Have fun while you work

Don’t be afraid to have fun at work.

Fun should be a part of your daily routine.

Be creative, and take advantage of your downtime to have fun with your co-workers and clients.

It’s essential to be a role model for your organization in having fun at work to drive positive impact.

Why should you have fun? Because you spend most of your life at work! No better reason than that.

7. Don’t take yourself too seriously

As human beings, we sometimes forget that we are a part of a big world.

We are both important and unimportant simultaneously; it’s all a matter of context.

So focus your energy on your ultimate goal and having a positive impact on society.

Having fun
Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash

8. Focus on one thing at a time

The role of a leader is to focus on the most critical thing and influence the organization to do the same.

Grab a copy of the One Thing book if you have not read it.

If you implement the ideas and use the tools in the book, it will transform your productivity.

9. Empower employees

Another trait of a great leader is empowering their employees and guiding them in building their own leadership career.

Employees need to have ownership and accountability for their work.

They need a leader who supports, coaches and holds them accountable.

Ensure that you create an environment where people are happy, taking ownership and know that mistakes are okay.

They should see mistakes as opportunities to learn and part of their leadership journey in the long term.

Your employees should have this approach as part of their own leadership philosophy.

One of my clients helps his people craft their mission statements as part of his employee empowerment approach.

10. Know your customers

Your business exists to create value for your customers, and in return, they give you value.

Every business leader must understand this simple equation.

Hence your vision and mission must define the customers you want to serve.

And in turn, you and your organization must know your customers and their needs as it evolves.

It’s essential to have a system in place to drive regular interaction with your customers.

Photo by Joshua Rodriguez on Unsplash

11. Keep employees in the loop

One crucial command philosophy or principle to learn from the army is the importance of regular and effective communication.

It’s important to let your people know the current situation and plan.

Creating the communication rhythm is crucial to success and vital in ensuring alignment across your organization.

If you still need to, ensure that one of your leader’s philosophy is effective communication.

12. Be disciplined

It might seem to be an obvious recommendation, but discipline is essential.

It is true in any field, but the key to discipline is knowing what you’re disciplined to do.

Build a discipline philosophy around execution or getting things done.

In my decades of experience working with clients, execution is often the reason for failure or failure to meet desired targets.

I have seen cases where they need a better strategy; however, even the sub-optimal strategy will deliver some results with disciplined execution.

In conclusion, as a leader, you have to set an example.

The right leadership principles can transform even the worst company into one that is respected and admired for its integrity, compassion, honesty, and fairness.

Create your leadership philosophy statement incorporating some principles that resonate with you.

If you have any questions, you can always reach me via email at ayodele@leveliconsulting.com.

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