While the trait theory of leadership has certainly regained popularity, its reemergence has not been accompanied by a corresponding increase in sophisticated conceptual frameworks. Focus on a small set of individual attributes such as "The Big Five" personality traits, to the neglect of cognitive abilities, motives, values, social skills, expertise, and problem-solving skills.
Follow While there are many resources currently focused on transitioning junior enlisted and junior officers into the civilian workforce, it can be challenging to find targeted support for senior officers getting ready to retire after a long career in military service.
I was pleased to connect with Mike Burroughs, a seasoned executive and author with an extensive background in global recruiting, executive coaching and organizational development, following a successful military career. Mike agreed to share his candid perspectives based on his years of experience and his solid understanding of the military to civilian transition process.
What are the most common challenges senior military leaders, in particular, face as they prepare to enter the civilian workforce? I should start with the basic tool: There are advisors who encourage senior military leaders to craft a resume that is in civilian terms. As an executive recruiter, I can say that this should not be the case.
Senior military leaders have become accustomed to having a staff to which they delegate much of their work. This is usually not the case in the private sector.
CEO and president roles are not the same as flag officer or senior field grade officer command roles. If a retiring senior military leader seeks a position within the government, the transition is less severe.
While good leadership values and practices are welcome anywhere, it is the day-to-day nature of the work itself that changes substantially from the military to a corporate role.
The language also changes. Other significant changes involve different methods of evaluating performance and career management.
None of these differences are insurmountable. Keep a positive attitude and be open to new ways of getting things done. Ask good questions and keep an open mind. As an executive recruiter and executive coach, what would you cite as the top priorities for senior military officers approaching transition out of military service?
Identify a dozen of your former colleagues who have made a successful transition and interview them.
Mike’s comments are thoughtful, cogent, and clearly come from long personal involvement. In my own thirty-nine years as a leader (ten as a military officer), my experiences echo his. The President of the United States has seven roles in his job, from being the Commander-In-Chief to the Guardian of the Economy. i TC Training Circular Headquarters Department of the Army Washington, DC, 30 September A LEADER'S GUIDE TO AFTER-ACTION REVIEWS.
Think of your questions well in advance and ask them all the same questions. Begin now to build your network of influential people who can help you in this transition.
Work together during this transition.
Everything is about to change. Why do you think that percentage is so high? That was alarming data! Moreover, while internally promoted managers fare better than outside hires, the marginal difference is minimal.
When you consider one study said overmanagers change jobs in the Fortune alone every year, the impact of failure is very significant. Organizations are placing increasing emphasis on the selection process of executives they hire, but few of them are taking any meaningful steps to ensure their recently hired executives are properly integrated into these organizations.
This is critically important because the studies I cited also state that what a new leader does or neglects doing in the first 90 days on the job often determines ultimate success or failure.
These studies focused on executives already in the civilian workforce.Leadership is both a research area and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to "lead" or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.
 Specialist literature debates various viewpoints, contrasting Eastern and Western approaches to leadership, and also (within the West) United States versus European approaches. i TC Training Circular Headquarters Department of the Army Washington, DC, 30 September A LEADER'S GUIDE TO AFTER-ACTION REVIEWS.
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