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An Armed Forces leader has applied for my vacancy. So what?

What do you think when you receive applications from an Armed Forces leader? If TV or film portrayals come to mind, ceremonial duties, wet and muddy and lots of swearing are likely your first thoughts. What about the leadership style of Forces candidates? Shouting, barking orders? How about empathetic, respectful, based on trust?

Leadership training

Basic Officer training across the UK Armed Forces takes between 9 – 15 months on a full-time basis. This is developed by further leadership training as someone promotes. For example, a British Army & Royal Marine Captain, Royal Navy Lieutenant & RAF Flight Lieutenant have shown leadership skills equivalent to a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management from the CMI or ILM.

Sailors, soldiers, marines and aircrew, are referred to as other ranks or non commissioned Officers (NCOs). For them, leadership training is integrated into the trade training. Similar to Officers, each rank group has further bespoke training as their leadership experience develops.

What does that mean to me?

Officers and NCOs train to lead by example, be courageous, adaptable and reflective. They build the trust of those they lead and earn respect through emotional intelligence and genuinely caring for their subordinates. Armed Forces leaders recognise that no task is achieved by one person alone. They are achieved by the combined efforts of a team. It’s up to all leaders – from Generals to Corporals – to harness their team’s skills and experience and get the best performance from them to achieve objectives.

Armed Forces leaders are given tools to support their leading role. Many of these can be and are used in the civilian environment. It is undeniable that elements of military leadership is about being direct. However, successful military leaders learn to flex their leadership style to suit the situation and the people they are dealing with. Adapting that style to suit the culture of a civilian employer will come naturally to the best Armed Forces leaders.

Post COVID-19

Now, it is essential that organisations have leaders who can support their move into the post-COVID world. Many organisation’s plans for 2020 are likely in the shredder as the situation has changed beyond what many of us would have planned against. However, an ex – Armed Forces leader could be the perfect hire to support you to develop your business to be ready for success post COVID-19. Firstly, they have excellent planning and strategy development skills as demonstrated by the fact they supported various NHS Trusts to develop their COVID response plans. However, Armed Forces leaders are used to working in environments where very little is known about the situation ahead. They are  experienced enough to know that “no plan survives first contact”. So adapting plans and strategies to suit a fast-changing situation is a familiar task.

It is also engrained in Armed Forces leaders, of any rank, to find or create the advantage in any situation, based on your own resources and strengths. So an ex-military leader will help you to assess what your unique strengths and opportunities are and how to capitalise on that in the changeable and complex situation we are all facing.

If you would like some extra support to help you set your business on the path to success, let us know. We’ll discuss how to fill your leadership talent gaps to set your business up for growth in the post-COVID situation.