Select Page

Military Business Sense

Military Business Sense

Lieutenant General (ret) Frank Kearney, III










Military Business Sense

It might surprise a lot of you, but leaders in the military may just make better businessmen and businesswomen than many of those who have spent decades in other industries. Various disciplines and principles followed in the military could be what you need to integrate into your leadership strategy.

What does the military teach about mastering the self?

Being a leader not only means you need to make decisions left and right, you also need to pro-actively be aware of what is going on in your unit, I mean your team.

Having a personal touch and caring about the success of your team is a key quality of the successful leader.  Part of the military myth is that leaders are tough and never get attached to their unit, but this is pure fiction. Leaders should know their team members; what motivates each of them, what their experiences are and how these experiences have strengthened or weakened them, how to inspire them, and how to make them work together and toward the ultimate goal.

Make peace with the fact that competing to get on top and staying on top are two different things. Your skills and competence are what is needed to get you up that corporate ladder.  However, it might not be enough to keep you on the top rung; for this you will need the character of a true leader. If you are struggling in effectively leading your team, take steps to obtain ongoing leadership training and development.  Becoming a great leader is a life-long pursuit.

A leader should also be a model of positivity and love for life.  No one wants to follow a morose, morbid leader who always looks at the darker side; a leader should be able to lead his or her team to their personal dreams and inspire them in the pursuit of personal growth and knowledge.

What does the military have to say about leading your people?

Leadership development in the military is similar to what it is in business and life in general. These are lessons that can be applied to daily life and when one starts to assume positions of greater responsibility and power.

Leaders in either the military or business cannot get their team to work effectively toward a common goal if they do not believe in them.  These people have to put their faith in you, hoping that you will lead them to their own success stories. You should command faith, respect, even love. You cannot force people to follow you blindly.

Never be afraid of talking candidly to your people and telling them the truth.  Offer clarity about what is going on.  Transparency goes a long way, and sets the level of expectation that it is OK to be open and honest.

Finally, give credit where credit is due when it comes to the successes of your team, and accept failures as your own. If you think you can handle that, then you are ready to take on this challenging role of leadership.

To learn more about leadership practices from the military, listen to this interview Steve Caldwell had with LG Frank Kearney.


Military Business Sense

Steve Caldwell

As a self-professed “manager from hell,” Steve Caldwell learned through the hard knocks of making mistakes while building a career.  Today he serves as a leadership coach, mentor and role model guiding high achieving managers to become the strong leaders their companies, employees and the world needs.  He is also author of the book Manager Mojo – Be the Leader that Others Want to Follow (available on Amazon).

“In all arenas, we suffer from a lack of leadership talent,” Steve observes.  “Every day employees are promoted into management with no training or support to guide their development into leadership positions.  You don’t have to be born to lead. You can learn to lead.”  He can be reached by email at or by phone at (415) 670*9543.




  1. Good Leadership is Good Teamwork – Predictive People Analytics - […] To learn more about leadership from LTG Frank Kearney III, click here […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *