Teaching – A Valuable Military Skill that Can Help Make Your Career Advance

by Chad Storlie

One of my central memories from my time in the US Army is the importance of teaching as an aspect of everyday life. Everyone in the military is used to the formal education process where we first learned the ins and outs of how to perform the basics of our military profession.

Teaching in business can take many forms. Business leaders can teach traditional classes in their organizations, in the community, at high schools, or at local colleges where they pass the knowledge of their experience and passion onto a generation of future workers and employees. A business lecture conducted by a senior business executive as they impart all their business knowledge complete with examples and illustrated with management principles is a thrilling way to learn about a subject.

One of the ways that we all learned to be coaches in the military is the “Coaching By Walking Around (CBWA)”, a modification of the famed, “Management By Walking Around (MBWA)”. CBWA involves visiting with subordinates, understanding their workplace challenges and then teaching them one or several of your problem solving skill sets to help them create a solution. For military veteran business leaders, the translation of military skills to business in the form of back up plans, counseling, risk management, and the war-game process can impart military-to-business skills sets that will transform the organization. CBWA teaches new methodologies and leadership techniques, it does not teach solutions. Business leaders need to teach new methods and improvements to processes that lower level business leaders can then attack with their own initiative and motivation. The key to CBWA is to listen, understand, impart a new technique, and then leave the manager to find the solution and implement it using their own initiative.

Military veterans in business can make a huge impact in their career when they apply the principles of teaching and learning they acquired in the military. One of the best ways to be promoted in business is to train your own replacement or replacement (s) so they continue the business results and improvements that you and your team created.

A business leader must not only be a business leader, but also a business teacher. The art and importance of teaching is a key leadership principle that military veterans can teach to business leaders at every level of an organization. Teaching is one of the most unselfish ways that a business leader can demonstrate the threefold importance of achieving business results, improving an organization, and the vital importance of developing junior business leaders. As you look for a new position or a promotion in your own organization, look and see how much you are teaching others in your current position and see if you can do more. Teachers are leaders!

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