It is astonishing that more companies are not jumping at the opportunity to have veteran leaders join their organization.
You would think this would be a no brainer. While many veterans have answered the call to serve our country, unfortunately due to prevailing leadership style stereotypes many veterans never get the call for the job offer.
As of 2013, 21.4 million of the US population is comprised of military veterans, which equates to around 9% of the non-civilian population according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2013 the unemployment rate for US Veterans was at 6.6% or 722,000 individuals. So many Veterans and Veterans’ families have given so much to our country but yet exist in a country that is not prepared to give back to them. Focused efforts on training, job placement and treatment for Veterans is a small ask for individuals who have put their lives on the line to maintain and secure our freedoms as well as having sacrificed time that could have been spent with their families.
Many hiring managers are passing up on veterans because they have mislabeled the veteran leadership character as hard-core, rigid, inflexible, or even too straight-laced. Contrary to some beliefs, leaders in the military are not just going around yelling and barking orders.
Corporations fail to realize that veteran leaders have all of the leadership qualities needed to not only be a great addition to a team but also be great leaders.
The definition of a team is a group of people working together for a common goal. From day one of basic training, soldiers learn quickly that they must rely on each other to be successful. Soldiers are trained to understand that any team is only as strong as their weakest person. They learn to help their team members by helping them get better for themselves and the overall benefit of the team. This leadership quality is not just a one-time flash of brilliance; this is embedded in soldiers. This leadership quality is far from being rigid or inflexible.
In fact, lets breakdown the needs of companies and how veteran leaders stack up. Most companies have a standard that they expect each employee to follow, which are the company’s values. Guess what? Veterans have to live by military values – honor, duty, respect, and selfless service just to name a few. Most companies have mission statements. Veteran leaders live for the mission. In fact, they are trained to always put the mission first.
Your company needs strong leaders, Veterans have been trained according to the servant leader model and often times have the uncanny ability to lead by influence in environments that would frankly cause others to fold if placed in the same position.
Your company needs team members and leaders that can think outside the box and be flexible. Veteran leaders train on how to adjust their plans on the fly. The inability to do so could be the difference between life and death.
The list goes on and on about how special the men and women that serve are but the best way to understand the leadership values they bring to an organization is to call and offer them the job.