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009: Leadership and the Military: is it really any different from the private sector?

A great misperception is that being a leader in the military is very different from the leadership skills required to lead in the private sector. In this episode I talk with Colonel (ret) Chris Valle, currently a Vice President with DNV GL’s Program, Design and Implementation (PDI) business area. We discuss parallels between leadership in the public and private sectors, and why you should consider hiring someone with military leadership experience.

Key Takeaways:

  • Core Values of the United States Airforce are just as applicable in any industry:
  1. Integrity first
  2. Service before self
  3. Excellence in all we do
  • Don’t be so quick to judge an incoming leader with a military background. It’s not all top/down and authoritarian
  • Leadership is industry agnostic whether in the military or the private sector
  • Hire the right people, train them in the right way, and trust them to do their job.
  • Showing that you care about the people that work for you and you care about the mission that you’re doing, embodies loyalty and a commitment to the team and to the principals
  • When you take over a new team, try to do nothing for the first 30 days; you’ll want to see how the organization is running before you put your hands in and start tinkering with something that might be working very well
  • You have to sell your team on a future vision that everyone understands. You can’t just push it onto people
  • Alignment to the vision is just as important as alignment to the tactics, and both need to be integrated into your team. Then your job as a leader is support the team to achieve it
  • When it comes to holding teams accountable a Stop Light Chart (time stamp 18:00) can be useful, as it does two things, one of which we don’t often really think about:
  1. This tracks how well the team is performing against the most important metrics, and
  2. It drives a culture of accountability and trust that allows managers to admit that the areas of yellow and red need more support to move them to green, and that they shouldn’t be penalized for being upfront about it

Leadership Resources:

About the author, Rob

Rob Fonte is the founder and President of Sarto Leadership Group, whose reputation has been built on being a transformational leader and inspirational coach with a passion for developing others. His twenty-year career spans across multiple disciplines including leading award-winning sales teams. Rob is an academically trained Executive Coach certified by The University of Texas and the International Coach Federation.

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