project management, military, Veterans, ex-Forces

How could an ex-Forces leader be your perfect C-suite hire

Introduction

Why should you consider recruiting an ex-Armed Forces leader to your organisation? You might be concerned that you recruit someone who shouts at others or barks orders at their team, who is autocratic and demanding. However, that is not what modern military leadership is about. If you were to see military leaders operating, you would see their adaptable leadership styles that are based on trust, empathy and loyalty. You may even recognise it as intent-based leadership.

The UK Armed Forces invests tens of thousands of pounds to develop individual leaders over the course of someone’s career. Most of the training takes place immediately before or close after someone has taken up the relevant appointment. So military leaders then get to practice what they’ve learnt. But how does leading soldiers on a battlefield, sailors at sea or aircrew operating airfields translate to leading in the boardroom?

Strategic leadership experience

We can demonstrate the overlap between military leadership and business leadership. This can relate to the private, public or charitable sectors. We can translate this from the principles which are taught to all military leaders and refreshed at every stage of their career and seniority. These directly translate to strategic leadership skills needed in a civilian organisation. These include the identification of and focus on objectives and employee engagement. They have a proactive, resilient approach and can intelligently concentrate resources to achieve key objectives. Whilst ensuring the security and resilience of your organisation, they can be creative in capitalising on market and economic opportunities. They are focused on maintaining growth and positive momentum. All this whilst remaining agile, flexible, using economy of effort to best effect and ensuring sustainability and endurability of your organisation’s mission.

A military leader will have planned complex operations using the skills of multi-functional teams and various types of equipment. The team size could range from 30 – 1000’s. This leadership would include performance management, training, learning and development, recruitment, discipline and grievances, health and welfare and well as resource management, known as troops to task.

It is highly likely that they will have negotiated in high stakes situations, sometimes having to overcome cultural, language, diplomatic and political differences.  An ex-Forces leader will have collaborated with many different types of organisation and agencies. This includes private sector contracts, to Government departments, NGOs and charities; influencing them towards their own position and objective.

Many will have been responsible for budgets ranging from a few £thousand, into the £millions. They will be highly adept at report writing and presenting, adapting their communication style depending on the make-up of the audience and the audience’s objectives and criteria.

Technical skills

Of course all of this, is regardless of their technical background. These principles and experiences will have been similar across the three Armed Forces and across the different trades of those three services. On top of the above, they could bring Degree and Masters level qualifications in engineering, IT, HR, logistics, intelligence. A number of executive leaders leave the Armed Forces with MBAs and professional membership of professional bodies. That is combined with hands-on experience in their profession. This will have been gained in both a calmer UK environment and austere, arduous and occasionally hostile environments abroad.

What next?

So if you are already needing more managers and leaders in your organisation or want fresh direction for your organisation in the future, then look at the uniquely experience, highly trained ex Armed Forces leadership talent pool.

Joint Force Alba works with a range of ex-Forces leaders. Contact us for a confidential discussion and we can explore whether our candidates could fit what you need.