The Most Important Leadership Trait for Business


The Valuable and Unspoken Military Leadership Trait for Business-Consistency

The US Military is great in creating leadership models to help military members of all ranks learn, understand, embrace and improve their leadership performance.  The US Army Leadership Requirements Model has six primary attributes: (1) Character, (2) Presence, (3) Intellect, (4) Leads, (5) Develops, and (6) Achieves.  These attributes are simple, informative, timeless, and easily understandable.  The purpose of such precise leadership models for the US Military is to be extraordinarily clear on the high levels of leadership performance and job performance that is expected of military leaders at all ranks, military professions, and different branches of service.  If you are a Marine Lieutenant or a Navy Admiral, the same level of competence, professionalism, ethics, and performance is expected of you.  However, great military leaders also have another attribute that make them easy to work with, great under pressing circumstances, and able to create strong teams.  The one vital unspoken leadership attribute is consistency.

Army Leadership Model
ADP 6-22 Army Leadership, Page 5. Used with Permission (source: http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/dr_a/pdf/adp6_22.pdf).

The great unspoken military leadership attribute for business is the vital importance of consistency.  Leadership Consistency is being the same leader, day after day and hour after hour.  Cold, wet, hungry, hot, tired, rested, frustrated, or relaxed, it is vital that leaders maintain and act in the same leadership style.  Consistency is vital for those being lead, whether a small team of four people or an organization of 4,000.  A Consistent leader makes those being lead and those working with the leader that she will act in a manner that is consistent despite the challenges occurring or about to occur.

When I was in Iraq, our Special Forces Group Commander was a model of the consistent leadership approach.  He was great in all the classic leadership techniques of building a robust team, creating strong junior leaders, and a master of military operational art.  Yet, he was always good at being the same type of leader for 24 hours of the day no matter how tired, frustrated, exhilarated, or rested he was.  With this Commander, you always got the same person.

Building Leaders

His leadership attribute of Consistency made everyone extremely confident that they could be honest, creative, and, above all, themselves, with this Commander.  Since the Commander was always consistent, subordinates always felt confident that they could bring him updates, bad news, ideas to make plans better, contrasting approaches, and thoughtful analysis of differing intelligence reports.  I had worked for inconsistent leaders earlier in my career, and every day or every hour of every day, you had a different leader in front of you.  This inconsistent leader made everyone either fearful or uncertain of how their message would be interrupted, they made excuses NOT to tell the Commander critical information for fear of his anger, or they made it a point to tell other great soldiers NOT to join our unit because of this leaders inconsistency.  The message: Consistent leaders build great organizations and Inconsistent leaders build fear and mistrust.

Special Operations Forces Train, Work With Iraqi Army

We all strive to be the best leader that we can be.  The US Army recruiting mantra of the late 1970’s and mid-1980’s, “Be All That You Can Be,” is as much inspiration for personal leadership development as it is for military recruiting.  It can be hard to imagine, but our followers and team members WANT us to be boring leaders.  They DO NOT want us to be boring so we put them to sleep or uncreative.  Instead, our followers and team members want the same leader day-in and day-out so they can build a healthy, constructive, honest, trusting, and mutually reinforcing relationship with us.  When we are inconsistent, especially under periods of great stress or periods of chaos, we deny them the leadership consistency and strength at the very time when they need it most.  Finally, no one is a perfect leader.  Even being consistent with our leadership problems allows other to adapt to our foibles and our team members can coach us “upwards” what we can do to improve our behavior.

Take a step today to be an even better leader – pledge to yourself to be the same great leader tomorrow and the day after!

Chad Storlie

Author, Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success

USAA Member Community, Blogger

 

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BIOGRAPHY:

Chad StorlieChad is the author of two books: (1) Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and (2) Battlefield to Business Success.  Chad’s brand message is that organizations & individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective.  Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces officer with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units.  He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States.  He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab.   Chad is also an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at Creighton University and Bellevue University in Omaha, NE.  In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics.  He has been published in over 80 publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today.  He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.

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