By Jimmy Burgess
During this three-piece article on leadership, I intend to bridge the gap between military and corporate leadership, leadership of “yesterday” and leadership of “today.”
Part one is going to focus on the subtle and fundamental changes that have gradually occurred, not from the leadership side,but from those who are led. Today’s leaders face a unique challenge: Out with the old, in with the new. And no, I am not talking age groups. I am talking technology.
We are living in a time when technology is more advanced than it has ever been. Daily, there are changes, updates, new programs coming out and old programs rendered “obsolete.”As leaders, we need to recognize the dynamics of those we look to lead. Baby boomers have been labeled as “unwilling to change.” At the other end of the spectrum, millennial’s have been labeled as “lazy,” and“unwilling to earn their keep.” Obviously,this is not a fair generalization of either age group, but it’s out there. As a leader, how do you challenge those you lead to separate themselves from this thought process? Baby-boomers, Generation X and Ys, and Millennial’s alike all have a unique method and approach to daily tasks. Leaders of today face a great challenge: stay ahead of the wave of change and forge the leaders of tomorrow with the widest gap of age differences ever seen.
The United States military is one of the best examples of said “melting pot.” Military Leaders entering the civilian workforce are coming in with experience in their ability to accomplish the mission with the widest array of personnel demographics.How have they been so successful? Can they continue that success in the civilian sector? Of course they can. They have experience. They work well under pressure. They meet deadlines. They are team oriented. As a battlefield leader, you do not have to be a subject matter expert of every single piece of equipment in your squad, platoon or company to be a successful leader. A successful leader must remain humble. They must realize they cannot possibly know everything at every moment. There are measures in place to assure that even when the leader isn’t present, the next man below them can step in, and the next, and the next. Battlefield dynamics suggest even the best leaders can, and do fall in combat. Proper training ensures that even the lowest ranking man, if needed, can accomplish the mission on the battlefield. The same should bes aid for ANYONE who is a leader or will be one in the future.
As a leader, the key is to recognizing talent. Every day should be an evaluation of those that look to someday replace you as you climb the corporate ladder or move on. As a leader, the product you make is no longer what your company makes. Those
days are gone. Your responsibility and focus should be on the health and welfare of
those you lead. Is that your focus? Leaders MUST grow future leaders. The United States military has an amazing assessment process in place. The NCOER (Non-commissioned Officer Evaluation Report) and OER (Officer Evaluation Report). Yearly, NCOs and Officers receive one of these to assess their progress, address strengths and weaknesses,
and how to improve through personal and professional development. Does your company have a similar system in place? For a company to have a successful program, a
leader must be able to assess and analyze their subordinates with the full intent of
growth and progression.
If you believe your company needs a program like this to help strengthen your ranks, there are many resources available to generate a similar program online. Or, feel free to send me an email and I would love to assist you in improving your leadership (and future leadership) core.
Jimmy Burgess is the Director of Leader Development and Elite Leader Training for Forward March Inc., a veteran-owned company designed to help companies with military hiring programs and leadership training. Burgess spent 12 years in the Army and did three tours in Iraq with the only Special Operations Aviation Unit in the
Army. He can be reached at www.forwardmarchinc.com or email him directly at