The Art of Leadership: Military Skills That Translate to Entrepreneurship

Last week we discussed skill sets of transitioning Veterans heading into their entrepreneurial journey. In this post, I want to break it down more.

Leadership in the military is about more than just command and control; it’s about inspiring trust, making critical decisions under pressure, and guiding a team towards a common goal despite the odds. 

These core aspects of military leadership translate seamlessly into entrepreneurship, where leadership determines not just the direction but the success of a business. 

Here are five (5) military leadership skills that give Veteran entrepreneurs a distinctive advantage in the business world

[SIDE NOTE: It doesn’t matter if you were and E-2 or and O-6…. you led others!]


1) Strategic Vision


Military leaders are trained to think strategically, planning several steps ahead while being prepared to adjust tactics as situations evolve. This strategic foresight is invaluable in entrepreneurship, where anticipating market trends, competitor moves, and potential challenges can make the difference between success and failure. 

Bring this strategic mindset to your business. This enables you to navigate the complexities of the entrepreneurial landscape with confidence. No matter where you were or what you did, strategy was always a part of  the plan. 


2) Decisiveness Under Pressure


One of the hallmarks of military leadership is the ability to make decisive decisions under pressure. This skill is equally critical in the fast-paced world of business, where opportunities and challenges often arise unexpectedly. If you were forward deployed you know this concept first hand. If you were supporting deployments you experienced this as well. Look back over your career and ponder those times where you mad decisions under pressure. What did it look like? What did it feel like? Do a re-debrief with yourself and reconnect with this skill. 

Us Veterans are adept at assessing situations quickly, considering the available information, and making informed decisions. This skillset is what keeps businesses moving forward.


3) Team Cohesion and Motivation


Building a cohesive team that shares a common vision and works together towards achieving it is another aspect where military leadership shine (We’ll talk about this concept in later blogs).

Veterans especially, understand the importance of trust, communication, and mutual respect in building a motivated team. Apply these principles to create a business culture that fosters collaboration, loyalty, and high performance. Even as a solopreneur (which most are when we begin), you have access to a team. They may not be on payroll, however they are a part of your team. 


4) Adaptability and Resilience


Adaptability and resilience are key leadership qualities honed in the military, where leaders must constantly adjust to changing conditions and overcome obstacles. This gets talked about a lot, and rightfully so as it is a critical component of what makes a military member successful.  

In entrepreneurship, these qualities look like ensuring that Veterans can pivot their business strategies when necessary, persevere through challenges, and emerge stronger from setbacks. Think about a time where you adapted to the situation. If you are reading this, you survived it, Your resilience grew. Don’t forget that. 


5) Ethical Leadership and Integrity


Military service instills a strong sense of ethics and integrity, with leaders expected to act honorably and make decisions that reflect well on their units and themselves. This ethical foundation is critical in business, where trust and reputation are invaluable assets. 

Veteran entrepreneurs are known for having integrity, earning the respect of clients, employees, and partners alike, and being counted on during the challenging times.

The art of leadership in the military encompasses a range of skills and qualities that are directly applicable to entrepreneurship. Veterans bring strategic vision, decisiveness, team-building prowess, adaptability, and a strong ethical foundation to their business ventures. 

These leadership skills not only set Veteran entrepreneurs apart but also drive their businesses towards lasting success. 

As more Veterans bring their leadership experience into the entrepreneurial world, they continue to make a significant impact, leading by example and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs.

For you seasoned Veteran entrepreneurs out there… My challenge to you is to seek out someone who is just beginning their journey and mentor them. If someone reaches out to you, make time. Both of you will be better off. 

Come back next week and let’s dive into mentorship a little deeper.


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