| 21 July, 2021 | 5 Min Read

What can good military leadership teach us about HR?

Today's modern business demands that all employees concentrate on the difficulties that lie ahead. Most companies know how to compete in today's market, but they don't have a compelling vision for the future. HR should elicit feedback from the entire organization to determine the best course of action for the company's future operations. In their strategic leadership duties, HR must assist the CEO and top management.

HR leadership is all about keeping a laser-like focus on employee management, similar to how military leaders are responsible for managing their subordinates with precision and effectiveness. The HR Manager paints a picture of the end state of HR Management in the business unit and then figures out how to put that picture into action. Managers must share their vision with the HR Manager and take aggressive steps to implement new HR Management concepts and practices.

To succeed in the field of HR, you must develop your leadership characteristics and talents to optimize employee performance and employee management. Analytical abilities, for example, are useful in deciding and designing employee benefits packages, and communication and conflict resolution skills are crucial in team management and dealing with a variety of employee and workplace difficulties. Coincidentally, many of these attributes exist within a good military leadership structure.

Here are some things that military leadership can teach us when it comes to prevailing in HR and the organizational battlefield.

Why effective leadership skills are essential in HR

In the military, leaders act as a bridge between higher management objectives and the ground troops. Likewise, the human resources director serves as a vital interface between management and the workforce. A good HR professional can deal with challenging situations and counsel managers about personnel issues.

Some HR executives oversee the entire company's human resources functions, including compensation and benefit plans, as well as training and development. Moreover, professionals who succeed in human resources also have top-notch soft skills, such as the ability to listen and show empathy to difficult-to-manage personnel.

Leadership skills for HR

These five effective leadership abilities seen inside and outside of the military that contribute to success are included in human resource skills:

1. Decision-making skills:

An effective leader must develop the habit of making quick and concise decisions while minimizing the chances of error in those choices that he or she makes. It's a fine balance between speed and effectiveness, two attributes that naturally contrast against each other. What's more, good decision-making comprises making the right choices while considering the needs and preferences of the group. It is an intimidating benchmark, but it is necessary.

In any situation, you must learn to identify critical factors that could affect the outcome of the decision. Next, you need to evaluate options as quickly as possible, establish priorities, and anticipate any outcomes or consequences to every action. It's similar to following the rule of deduction, except you must train yourself to become better every time.

Finally, leaders must be able to utilize quantitative analysis, understanding and interpreting vital information and how it impacts the possible options.

2. Interpersonal skills:

Leaders with interpersonal skills are more prone to creating well-connected and motivated teams, due to higher emotional intelligence. Let's face it, it's difficult to be led by someone who lacks the social awareness that subordinates need from their superiors. If you can't tell that your employees are troubled, anxious or disagreeable towards a certain direction, you are heading towards trouble in terms of productivity and synergy at work.

Learn to influence without being manipulative, to ask without expecting certain answers, and resolve conflicts without always winning. Skills like empathetic listening, effective articulation and purposeful questioning are all part of interpersonal communication. It should be a major driver in any leadership mindset.

Grove HR - military leadership

Leaders with interpersonal skills are more prone to creating well-connected and motivated teams


3. Organizational skills:

Human resource managers must be able to manage multiple projects at the same time and prioritize responsibilities.

Simply put, organizational skills are tied directly to resourcefulness. Develop an operational structure that improves your ability to manage time, energy and productivity in accomplishing tasks with conviction and speed. Leaders naturally have to multitask between many different priorities, so the first order of business is to have your own house in order before you expect the rest of your team too.

Optimize your time management, reserve your focus for important matters, learn to manage appointments, set meaningful goals, prepare effective schedules and prioritize properly.

4. Communication skills:

HR managers must interact with their team and other employees clearly and concisely. They need communication skills to give presentations, communicate with management teams at all levels, and direct their workforce.

In fact, effective communication comprises a vast array of factors to consider. Learn about active listening techniques where you pay close attention to individuals, engage with them skillfully, and work on being more friendly or approachable. Practice volume and clarity of voice when speaking publicly, and gradually build the confidence to communicate effectively in any given scenario. These are pillars of a good leader who can manage teams and organizations well.

Take responsibility and ensure mutual accountability

The buck stops with you as a team leader in HR or any other company department. This may sound self-evident, but when the stakes are high, it's all too easy to fall into a blame game. However, as a commander in the military, you are always at fault. It's simple to see flaws in the military approach, but there's an important lesson to be learned here. It pushes your performance and challenges you to become a better leader in a different way when you embrace responsibility and acknowledge that you own it. It also prevents you from falling into a pattern of accusing others and making excuses for bad performance.

This is not to suggest that your team members aren't held accountable; they are. And military teams make a point of including feedback and evaluation into everything they do, no matter how little. As a result, teams develop a culture in which they analyze where they excelled, where they failed, and what lessons they may learn for the future. This creates a true, measurable continuous improvement cycle.

Encourage independent thinking and initiative

Despite popular belief, troops are not robots who follow commands from their commanders. Yes, the military has a hierarchy, and everyone is held accountable. But today's military goes out of its way to actively support independent thinking, initiative, and problem-solving skills because it is these attributes that determine whether modern military operations succeed or fail.

Many enterprises in the corporate realm lag behind the military. They function from the top down, and any criticism is dealt with severe punishment. It is reasonable to say that many organizations still have a culture of unquestioning obedience that you would not find in today's military.

In our digital age, where life moves at a rapid pace, the amount of time available for critical thought is shrinking — exactly when we need it most. Every organization needs critical thinking to exist in the future, and it must promote dissenting voices and distinctive perspectives.

Teams and individuals must feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns, as well as making unconventional proposals. Your team will only integrate and become an effective unit if you've developed an environment that welcomes all points of view.

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