One mission the Navy, the Teams or the military never prepares us for is the mission where we transition out of service back into the civilian population. I do not limit the word transition to just skills, attributes and qualifications. I speak of transition in the context of, the military does not prepare us to talk about ourselves and what we as individuals have done. From the day a person walks into a recruiter’s office, they start the indoctrination of thinking about the team and the bigger cause.
Upon transition from the service, after being indoctrinated to think like a team and think about the team. Now when it is time to sit in front of a civilian interviewer or right one’s resume. The real struggle ensues. Because we are not used to speaking in terms of “I”. Our “I” translates into “We”. There is no “I” in the military, which makes service members a unique species.
Unlock the civilian population, the majority speak in “I” terms. This is what “I” did, this is what “I” can do. While, and “I” mentality may be acceptable among the civilian population. It is not acceptable in the military population. As a matter of fact, speaking in “I” terms in the military environment will be sure to raise questions about your fit in the culture of a “we, us” world. Even if one does think about “I” in the military, it is always tied into a “we” culture.
With all of that being said, for a service member, even a Navy SEAL, who may not be able to articulate or translate “we” into “I”. Here are just a few attributes and soft skills that are present, but may not be highlighted.
Diversity: Service members bring an array of diversity with them as they transition out of military service. From critical thinking skills to a variety of problem-solving and problem prevention solutions. Servicemembers operate in arduous environments, that demand they develop adaptation, flexibility, and obstacle removing mindsets.
Culturally Diverse Leadership: The military is a melting pot of people with different cultures, backgrounds, personalities, and thought processes. Think about how adaptable and culturally in-tune a leader in the military must be. A leader within the military whether they are supervising a team of three, or an organization of hundreds. Think about how many different races, ethnicities, talents, thought processes, languages, skills, attributes, and considerations must be taken on.
Being a leader in a military environment is no easy tasks when you are trying to overcome in some cases language barriers, exercise sensitivity to religious preferences, maintain a fair and impartial mindset toward every team member, understand different cultures and backgrounds, and uncover what motivates and inspires each service member as an individual. Compared to the largest civilian company you can think of. Their diversity doesn’t even come close to the diversity that exists within the military.
Education: Some chose a college to obtain their education, others chose the military to obtain their education. The military is one structurally sound educational institute. Education is in the military is taught in three domains. The Operational domain, Institutional domain, and the Self-Development domain. All three of these domains incorporate training, experience, and education to enhance effective leadership.
Therefore, when a service member transitions back into the civilian population. There are not only receiving a veteran who may or may not have served in a combat environment. But they are receiving one of the most well trained and educated humans on this planet. A civilian organization that hires a veteran. Is bringing on a teammate with an immense capacity to learn, apply and deliver beyond expectations.
Social-Emotional Skills: Leaders within the military encounter people from all walks of life. Therefore, developing and displaying social skills is an absolute must. No leader in the military could get by and survive without having the capacity to display social-emotional skills. “Mission first, people always”, is a quote every leader in the military, if they are to be deemed an effective leader adopts. In the military, as a leader, it is 100% about the men and women who get the job done every day. “Take care of people, and people will take care of the mission”.
Meaning of LDRSHIP (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Self-less Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage) Finally, these seven values are something every civilian organization hopes its employees embody. What is often found is, these values cannot be taught. They can only be drawn out by organizations that require them. The military has designed a formula to draws these values out of people who choose to serve.
Final Thoughts: Regardless of the Military Occupational Skill (MOS) or job a service member performed. These items of emphasis mentioned above are what each and every one of us who has served or is serving embody.
There is no training program on earth, like the educational institution of the military. I encourage every hiring manager, CEO, and the person responsible for sourcing talent and building dynamic teams. To highly consider embracing with open arms. Every service member who has deemed your organization is worth them pursuing and bringing their talents to. It should be an honor and a privilege to serve those who have served. You will reap a huge return on investment, by possessing the right balance of “go-getters” and “planners” and a service member possess both.
LaQuan Daniel (Army Retired)
CEO of Accountability Partners LLC