There are all types of leaders. And in our line of work, we’ve worked with them all!

At Berrison, we like to take best practice from all industries and apply that best practice – where relevant – to the sessions we provide for our clients: be they long term development programmes or one-off team coaching events.

One industry that we can all learn from is the military – and as our very own Stuart Mander has spent time managing military projects, he is the best placed person to advise! Here, he outlines the main things we can take from our armed forces to put into practice in business leadership.

Team is everything

We all know the value of a good team – nobody more than the military. The level of trust soldiers afford their colleagues is hard to match on civvy street. But what if we could? “I got your six” is the military term meaning “I got your back” – basically telling you that someone is looking out for you. We should all tell our colleagues “I got your six”. Trust, and knowing you are trusted, is the bedrock of a strong team.

Keep your team fit….

We’re talking training here. Training is a must – everyone needs to know their role and what is expected of them. No-one in the military is put to work without thorough training and rightly so. Why invest in hiring someone if you are not going to invest in their training? An ongoing schedule and regular meetings on career progression – formal and informal – are essential for your team

….And healthy!

Mental health at work is vital for team happiness. If a person cannot bring their true self to work, they will not perform to the best of their abilities, so this is a business decision as well as a moral one. Ensure that everyone in your team is represented and know that they have someone to talk to on any subject at any time. Equality, diversity and inclusion should be at the forefront of your business.

Know what’s ahead

No general would send his troops to a battle or training exercise without a full briefing and a full plan of action. In business, you need to know where you are headed and how to be agile if things don’t go according to plan. Keep your team abreast of your plans, ask their opinions and be clear on the way the company is going. Share the good news and the bad – keep everyone involved.

Know the WHY.

Does your business have a mission statement? Does your team know it? We’re not talking a pithy fridge magnet; this is something that outlines what you are doing as an organisation – and WHY. In the military, the mission is always clear. Yours may be one line or a series of bullet points – but it needs to be clear and your team needs to know the mission. That way you are all on the same path.

Learn from the past.

There will be mistakes in the past – in your business or others – that help shape the way you do things in the future. This is true of all walks of life. So while looking backwards should not dominate your time, it is healthy to assess and audit things that went wrong and learn from them so that next time, you go forward more prepared for success.