If you want to survive and thrive in this new era of talent acquisition, there are some lessons to learn from history’s most successful military leaders.
Warrior Leadership is a powerful, motivational, and distinctive style of leadership that, when studied and properly applied, will produce the results you want in your company. True warrior leaders have shared goals with their unit: defense, growth, service, and the purpose to make things better for everyone involved. They lead not from a throne but in the midst of their team. Warrior leaders are brave enough to stand on the front lines with a confidence that generates hope for all on the team. From this, a sense of authority is born naturally and conferred on the leader.
Mike Hayes, former commanding officer of Navy SEAL Team TWO and author, says the key to warrior leadership is to “push to the limits across many different dimensions – we can never be strong enough, never focused enough, never patient enough, never accountable enough.” In his book, “Never Enough: A Navy SEAL Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning”, Hayes uses stories to teach what it means to lead one of the most highly trained and successful military teams.
Here are some of the traits of a successful Warrior Leader for you to consider.
Choose the hard path.
One of my personal mottos at work for me and the teams I lead has been “Excellence Always”. It has been a core value because it sets the tone for a mindset of continuous improvement and never being satisfied with normal. If you were to analyze the most successful military units, you would find them being led by effective leaders who push themselves and their teams to choose the hard path. The leaders tend to spend more time focusing on outcomes, not outputs.
This does not mean you take unnecessary risks. Warrior leaders understand the need for and have experience with pushing the team towards calculated risks. These are risks that will stretch and evolve the team but not set them up for failure.
Embrace the Suck
If you’ve watched the movie 300 or studied the Battle of Thermopylae, the leader Leonidas and his soldiers knew the battle they were walking into. It was going to be a hard, long fight to protect Greece long enough to prepare for the Persian invasion. Their mission was to stall the enemy. Those in his army were experienced enough to know they were walking into a potential slaughter but they pressed forward. The call of honor was greater than the “suck” they were about to face.
I once heard a speaker who was former military discuss how he pushed his team to embrace the suck. He noted most of the time when we feel there is no way to push forward, the real opportunity for growth is just on the other side of the “suck”. I know personally, when working out, when I push beyond what I call the “suck limit”, I can do more repetitions or more weight than my willpower had me believe I could.
It’s easy to show the best sides of ourselves when faced with obstacles we are confident we can handle but it’s harder when we’re pushed beyond our perceived or self-imposed limits. Through continually improving our emotional intelligence, we can enhance self-awareness and control our emotions in the most challenging of circumstances. The more you push comfort zone expansion the more you, and your teams, gain the strength, experience and foresight to navigate adversity.
Balance confidence and extreme humility
Perhaps one of the harder traits to balance is the important duality of leadership. Warrior Leaders have to think slow and fast, serve others before themselves, and apply feedback for making continual improvements. You want to have the confidence to inspire your team but maintain the humility that will allow them to feel safe coming to you. This is a struggle most of us battle daily with some days being better than others.
Being a leader is tough, being a Talent Leader is becoming more and more challenging. Keep your head up and lean on fellow leaders who, believe it or not, are struggling with the same battles. Choosing the hard path, embracing the suck and finding a balance in confidence and humility are just some of the daily battles I face. What are yours?
and Sprint Recruiting
I joined the HR industry in 2004 after working as a sales leader in the Financial Services Industry for eight years. After spending his first couple of years in HR trying to fit in, I found my voice. Now I leverage all of the things I once hated about HR to become a consultant and invaluable partner to the businesses I support. I contribute to the HRGazzette and to DataDrivenInvestor on Medium. WARNING: my writing style is raw and in your face, not what you would expect from an HR executive.
I also have a resource center providing helpful templates, dashboards and other material related to Sprint Recruiting.