By Larry Broughton
As a military veteran navigating the business arena, you understand the value of strong leadership better than most. Your experience and traits have shaped your desire to become an even more effective, upbeat and positive leader—one who inspires and uplifts those around you. Drawing from my own journey as a former U.S. Army Green Beret turned entrepreneur and leadership expert, I present to you the eight powerful traits I believe will help you transform into the leader you aspire to be.
Character: Humility and Integrity
Leaders who possess humility and integrity are like beacons in a world that often glorifies arrogance and deception. However, a truly exceptional leader knows that sound character is the bedrock of trust and respect. Embrace humility as a powerful tool to foster genuine connections with your team. Exercising extreme discernment, acknowledge your vulnerabilities and be open to learning from others. Lead with integrity, setting an example of honesty and ethical behavior that builds trust and respect within your organization. Your authentic leadership will ignite a fire of dedication and loyalty in your team like never before.
High Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
As a veteran, you’ve likely witnessed the impact of emotions in high-stress situations. High EQ leaders understand the impact of their words and actions on their team and are adept at connecting with team members on a deeper level, while motivating and inspiring them towards their fullest potential and to achieve their best. This investment of time and energy, in turn, leads to increased loyalty and dedication.
Communication lies at the heart of successful leadership. Effective leaders are clear, confident and concise with their words and actions. Be flexible in your communication style, based on situations and circumstances at hand. In most business environments today, the strict command-and-control style of communication (“do so because I say so”) simply doesn’t work and is counterproductive. Articulate your vision with precision, aligning your team toward common goals, and creating a unified force that can conquer any challenge.
Ability to See Potential in Situations and Team Members
Top-tier leaders possess a unique gift for identifying potential even in the most challenging circumstances and individuals. They see beyond the immediate obstacles and envision possibilities that others may overlook. Apply this skill to your business endeavors. Identify the untapped talents within your team and nurture them to greatness, transforming obstacles into opportunities. The “black sheep” of most organizations may be the rockstar of your future team. Look deeper than the cursory peek into problems and personalities.
Seek Honest and Direct Feedback
As a veteran, you know the importance of learning from your experiences. Embrace this mentality in your leadership style by seeking honest and direct feedback from your team. Foster an environment of open dialogue and respect for diverse viewpoints, knowing that collective wisdom leads to better decisions. Wouldn’t it be better if you really knew what your team members and clients felt about you and your product or service? Reality is our friend! When we have an accurate assessment of any battlefield (including our own personality and leadership style) we can make course corrections along the way.
They Are Available, Visible and Present During Times of Chaos
True and steadfast leaders do not hide during turbulent times. Translate this ethos to your business leadership and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your team, being present and accessible when chaos and calamity strike. Too many so-called “leaders” hide in their office or behind “subordinates” when the stinky stuff hits the fan. Lead from the front, offering guidance and support and watch as your team unites behind you.
They Defy the Odds
Transformational leaders are relentless in pursuing their goals, even when others doubt their potential for success. They possess the courage to take calculated risks and challenge conventional thinking. Such leaders inspire their teams to push beyond perceived limitations, galvanizing them to achieve results that others consider impossible. Their unwavering determination and resilience become a source of inspiration for their followers. “Only those who can see the invisible can do the impossible.”
In most corners of the military, there’s a mantra to “choose the hard right over the easy wrong.” We apply a heaping portion of this in the face of adversity. Carry this mindset into your leadership endeavors when faced with the temptation to lie, “cook the books,” hide the truth, run from conflict, or avoid difficult conversations. Make tough decisions guided by unwavering moral values and be the ethical compass that guides your team to success. Courageous acts stiffen the spine of others on the team.
A Call to Uplift and Inspire
As you strive to become an even more effective, upbeat and positive leader, remember that true leadership is not merely about authority; it’s about influence and inspiration. Embrace the powerful traits outlined above to transform your leadership style, uplift those around you and inspire greatness within your team and organization. Your life’s journey has prepared you for this moment—lead with courage, compassion and conviction, and watch as you create a legacy of exceptional leadership that others will be proud to follow.
Are you ready to unleash your full leadership potential? The world awaits the transformative impact of your leadership. Go forth and inspire!
Larry Broughton is a former U.S. Army Green Beret, best-selling author, award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker and leadership mentor. @LarryBroughton and TheLarryBroughton.com.