Now that I’m leaving for my military refresher, it’s a good time to recall the lessons learned from the military.
Much of the military training is – or feels – irrelevant. It feels like that when you’re the one learning the lessons. If you put your mind to it you might notice that some things still make sense. Here are some common doctrines in military training:
- Things are best learned with repetition.
- Take a small pain now save a huge pain in the future.
- Start with the very basics.
- Encourage simplicity.
But not all military leadership is useless.
When I joined the military in 1999, they had just adopted a new leadership discipline called the deep lead (in Finnish syväjohtaminen). At that time it felt like a mantra that was blindly taught to everyone without anyone understanding what it was about. Now in retrospect, the four cornerstones of deep leadership actually make sense:
- Building trust. Obviously trust is very important in any relationship. Whether it’s in the military where you have to trust people with your life or in the business world where you trust people with your career and even your money. Being open and showing integrity will make you trustworthy within the group you’re working with.
- Inspiring way to motivate. Some leaders are innately motivating. Others can lead with their own example. Being inspired is actually close to the passion that I consider the starting point for anything remarkable. Using your passion to motivate others is the next logical step after that.
- Intellectual stimulus. People like challenges. A good leader will challenge both himself and the people in the team. But a good challenge isn’t something that the people will stress out the people. A good challenge is inspiring and challenging enough from every individual’s own perspective.
- Individual confrontation. A good leader will know what motivates each person that he’s working with. When trying to achieve something remarkable all people have to be able to give their 100 %. This isn’t possible unless they have been given the space to do that.
The funny thing is that although this doctrine originated in the military, it seems to be more applicable to business life. Even Taneli Tikka shares these ideas in one of his presentations.