Taking Leadership Pointers From A West Point Grad

by Linda Coors on July 11, 2014 · 0 comments

Taking Leadership Pointers From A West Point GradThe “11 Principles of Leadership” sounds like a class an executive might take to further his or her leadership skills, but it’s actually a class taught at The United States Military Academy.

I came across this information earlier last month while reading “11 Timeless Principles of Leadership” by Tom Deierlein, CEO of ThunderCat Technology and West Point graduate.

There’s a lot to be learned from those with military experience: These men and women are trained professionals and have to conduct themselves to the utmost — along with many other admirable attributes — so I wanted to write about how we can learn from our own military and apply these lessons today.

First we need to recognize the importance of “me time.” If you don’t schedule time for yourself none of these helpful tips below will work.  You schedule time for meetings and appointments, but do you block off time for yourself? As a leader, you can’t afford not to process everything that happens throughout your day. Always take time to gather your thoughts, make notes, plan ahead and think things through. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some leadership skills we can learn from our military personnel.

Act In A Timely Manner And With Consideration

When our brave military is out in the field, there is no “sit around and wait.” These leaders have to act fast and use good judgement to execute a solution; two traits that cadets learn early on in their leadership classes.

A leader is a leader because they take charge of a situation. Anyone can hear a problem and do nothing about it but not you. So when a situation/problem arises, respond in a timely manner and offer up solutions. You may not have time to sit with your team and iron out the details of said problem, but if you can guide them where you’d like them to go with the solution, you can keep them on track without micromanaging and let their problem-solving skills shine through.

Keep Everyone On The Same Page

Taking Leadership Pointers From A West Point GradA well-informed troop can mean the difference between a mission that’s a success vs. one that’s a failure. There’s a reason that they’re called “troops”; they stick together and help each other out so if one or more is lost or confused, their fellow mates are there for support.

Ever been in a client meeting and someone on the team shares information with the client that you know nothing about? Not only can the situation get awkward, but it also creates distrust. If you can’t trust those you work with, then there’s more to talk about than leadership.

When you keep everyone informed on what you know, you can create better ideas for upcoming projects. You’re also showing your employees that you respect them by including the team. You don’t have to say it, but it’s understood when you share your valuable insights.

Be the Type of Worker You Want from Your Employees

A commanding officer may have control over his or her unit but it won’t mean anything if the officer isn’t a good, strong and admirable leader.

You’re constantly under scrutiny as a leader. Anyone that steps into a leadership role instantly has people on the team looking to them for answers or guidance. These employees might not necessarily want to be your carbon copies, but they will unintentionally emulate your actions.

If you show up late to every meeting, others won’t see being on time as that important. If you bad-mouth clients, others might be more cavalier with their opinions about certain clients.

Walk The Talk

Taking Leadership Pointers From A West Point GradBeing a leader isn’t something you do from 8-5 a.m. but it’s a part of who you are. Once you start making these small changes, you’ll be surprised at the positive feedback you get from your employees. It may not be verbal but chances are you’ll see the morale boost around the office.

A bad leader can change the whole tone of the workplace, too, but a good leader — military or otherwise — has the respect and command of his troops.

Take control and be a leader for your landscaping companies financials.

If you’re interested in applying your leadership skills to grow your company, be sure to get your FREE e-book on Integrated Financial Management.


Image credits: Medal, training, hat toss


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