Why You Should Hire a Veteran: Team Players

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Part 2 of a 5 part series

“Leadership is a two-way street. Respect for one’s superiors; care for one’s crew.” – Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, computer programming pioneer

In part one of this series, we discussed the importance of experience, education, and ability when considering a new hire for your company. Then we broke down the many ways in which military veterans excel in these areas.

However, skill and experience aren’t everything. If a new employee is going to integrate successfully into your business, to become part of the team and move your organization forward, other qualities are needed as well.

Fortunately, those who have served in the armed forces are well accustomed to being team players. Whether they served as an officer or enlisted soldier, veterans embrace the value of knowing their own and everybody else’s role in the big picture, and what needs to be accomplished as an organized unit to move goals forward.

What are some of the team-oriented elements that make a veteran a good hire?

1) Veterans are Collaborative

Soldiers are trained to understand early on the value of collaboration and cooperation. As the old saying goes, “a chain is only as strong as the weakest link.” And this is true perhaps nowhere as much as it is in a combat situation, where a soldier’s life may depend on the actions (or inactions) of the comrades in their unit.

Veterans bring this mindset with them to a professional environment. Just as no military objective of any worth is ever accomplished by one person alone, veterans understand the value of relying on and being reliable to other members of their team. They know that each individual has a unique set of abilities, and that the best outcomes are achieved when everybody contributes the best of what they have to offer toward a shared goal.

2) Veterans Respect Structure

Without a clear structure and a set of expectations in place, collaboration can be a difficult thing to achieve. Purely democratic systems rarely work well in a business context, and can end up looking more like chaos than anything else, resulting in nobody being clear about how they can best serve the team.

In a combat situation, of course, the result of chaos that looks like this would be even more dire. This is why a clear chain of command exists in the military, and it’s why veterans are instilled with such a high level of respect and appreciation for strategic and organizational structure.

If provided with an org chart and a clear business plan, vets will most likely not only follow them but reinforce them … and maybe even institute structure where it doesn’t exist. Because they understand that the best performing teams (or companies) are the ones in which everybody clearly understands their role.

3) Veterans are Trained Leaders

In most businesses, leadership comes from the top down, enforcing and in some cases actually influencing or determining the overall structure of the organization. The best leaders will even establish the tone for the culture (internal and external) and the level of collaboration within a company.

For military veterans accustomed to a chain of command, leadership and the qualities associated with it comes second nature. It’s part of their training. Even soldiers who don’t hold an officer’s rank understand that at any given moment, they may be the highest ranking person on the field, and are prepared to accept this responsibility.

Just as they would in a military context, veterans working in a professional setting take leadership very seriously. For them, it means accepting accountability not only for their own actions, but also the actions of those they lead. It also means putting a premium on things like high morale, and doing whatever it takes to ensure that the business is able to successfully accomplish its goals as a team.

For their collaborative and organizational qualities, as well as their leadership potential within an organization, it’s hard to imagine a stronger team player than a veteran.

Contact us for more information about how you can hire qualified veteran recruits for your business.

Stay tuned next month for the third part of this series, in which when we’ll discuss how the action-oriented nature of veterans makes them strategically valuable when it comes time to get things done.