Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. It celebrates the birth of a great nation founded by men and women who understood the meaning and value of disruptive thinking, service, honor, leadership, and above all, freedom. As we approach this 4th of July weekend I can’t help but think of our founding fathers and the sacrifices they made when they fought to establish our nation’s independence. Those thoughts of respect and admiration in turn led me to think about of our troops overseas currently fighting to protect our way of life and preserve our freedom. The more I began to ponder the heroism of our military (past and present), the more I began to consider the traits possessed by our nation’s warriors. I believe the same characteristics that are present in the heart of a warrior are also present in the most successful executives and entrepreneurs.

Here’s the thing – you really can’t separate leadership from independence. Leadership void of independent thought and action isn’t leadership – it’s a train wreck. Those leaders who fail to grasp the importance of the preceding sentance may practice some form of demagoguery, but it will fall woefully short of the historic example set by our founding fathers and the prodigious efforts of our nation’s present day warriors.

Regardless of whether or not they have served in the military, today’s business leaders would be well served to possess the characteristics of a warrior in their pursuit to achieve sustainable growth and long-term success. Commitment, attention to detail, discipline, service above self, honor, integrity, perseverance, the ability to both lead and follow, to execute with precision, and the ability to adapt, improvise, and overcome are all traits that will serve you well in the boardroom.

There are many so-called management gurus in today’s politically correct world who would take great exception to what I’m putting forth in today’s post. They would tell you that the classic strong leadership traits that define our nation’s best military leaders are outdated, and that they don’t display a proper amount of empathy and compassion. I’m here to tell you that strength and compassion are not mutually exclusive terms…rather the strongest leaders are in fact the most compassionate leaders. A leader’s greatest responsibility is not for his/her own glory, but it is for the well being of those whose care has been entrusted to said leader. Many of those currently holding positions of leadership would do well to rid themselves of their feckless ways and take note of how real leaders conduct their affairs.

The leadership characteristics that have served our nation well throughout history will allow you to inspire and lead others with a focus and commitment not present in DNA of those leaders who don’t have the heart, mind, and soul of a warrior. It is the ability to stay mentally focused on achieving the mission at hand, regardless of circumstances, that will help you take your organization to that next level. While not all great business leaders have served in the military, those of you who possess the heart of a warrior understand the advantages you derive from your military bearing and state of mind. I’ve rarely come across students of military history that don’t have a great command of both strategic thinking and tactical implementation.

I strongly recommend to all business leaders that they learn to develop a command presence, and lead from a committed, empathetic, and passionate position of strength. The word “passion” comes from a Latin root which means quite literally to suffer. If you’re passionate about something it means you care so much that it hurts – that you’re willing to suffer greatly for something you hold dear…Refusing to surrender, and having the ability to make the tough decision or the needed sacrifice, will allow your organization to continue taking ground and will keep the competitive advantage on the side of your enterprise.

As always, I welcome your comments below…


Mike Myatt
Mike Myatt

Mike Myatt is a leadership advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and their Boards of Directors. Widely regarded as America’s Top CEO Coach, he is recognized by Thinkers50 as a global authority on leadership. He is the bestselling author of Hacking Leadership (Wiley) and Leadership Matters… (OP), a Forbes leadership columnist, and is the Founder and Chairman at N2Growth.

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