The Migration of Military Leadership Traits Into Business

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The ability to lead a company to success in the market is the main criterion for the success of a leader. All the talents, skills, and skills that you can use to increase sales and profitability may give a company an additional advantage that allows being on top. Great generals and outstanding military leaders have always attracted the attention of researchers. Analysts were interested in qualities and abilities that enable military people to defeat an opponent that is full of determination. This paper will discuss the nature of the migration of military leadership traits into business, its rationale, and its significance. Further, the research questions, literature review topics, and methodology will be examined.


The topic “Combat to Corporate: The Migration of Military Leadership Traits into Business” presents an opportunity to analyze examples of military executives who have transferred into business roles. Several military servants became Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), members of the Board of Directors, and other top managers of various companies. Business Insider suggests that current and former leaders of Fortune 500 organizations, including Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, General Motors, FedEx, have successfully made a transition from the military to public entities (Akhtar & Lockie, 2019).

Moreover, journalists state that some soldiers and generals were able to establish their businesses after leaving the armed forces (Akhtar, 2019). It might be assumed that traits and skills that people gained while being in military organizations, such as decision-making under pressure, leadership, tactics, and people management, can be transferred to the corporate business.

The evidence and literature claim that there are essential management systems that may help business leaders to operate a company successfully. It is argued that armed forces train skills that are necessary for public companies, such as prioritization of tasks, confirmation of objectives’ understanding, observation of competitors’ actions (Stettner, 2019). The author of the book “Combat Leader to Corporate Leader: 20 Lessons to Advance Your Civilian Career”, Chad Storlie, based on the research of veterans, advocates the view that military leadership creates substantial business results (Storlie, 2018).

Researchers also present supporting studies showing that former soldiers are 70% less likely to engage in corporate fraud and are more capable of making tough decisions (Benmelech & Frydman, 2014). Therefore, it might be interesting to explore the current state of military leaders’ experience at civil organizations.

For the TRADOC G2, an organization that has a combination of people from a military background, it is essential to know how to transfer military leadership traits into a business. The company that is aimed to gather, visualize, evaluate, and deliver the results of the operational environment examination to reduce risks must manage its human resources efficiently as in other civil companies (Blinde, 2019). Thus, it is crucial to understand how to extract the most from the employees of the company that previously served in armed forces and acquired substantial and profound experience of leading groups during military missions.

Research Questions

The purpose of the study comes from the need to investigate the migration of military leadership traits into the business based on a specific focus of the TRADOC G2 that has a unique internal environment. Consisting of civilian managers, former military servants, and government representatives, the organization should motivate its employees to work together and communicate with external people.

Previous researches and data delivered substantial results on the matter of military traits assessment. However, there is a lack of understanding, which military characteristics can be the most common and applicable for civil organizations. Thus, one of the research questions can be formulated as follows: “What are the traits that military leaders have that help them to manage tasks in civil organizations successfully?”

Another essential issue that comes from rationale and is supported by the evidence is that military experience may lead to various consequences in a civil organization. Military traits that a person developed previously may influence the future experience in business differently; it can also be assumed that there might be side effects of such an experience. Therefore, it should be noted that a positive experience should be studied to get relevant results and avoid possible mistakes.

Thus, the second research question can be stated as the following: “How do specific features of the military experience transfer into business and help former servants in managing civil companies successfully?” Both questions present an opportunity to examine former military servants and leaders and understand what helps them to manage people and adapt to public companies.

Literature Review

Several topics have to be covered in the process of issue examination. The central themes that should be supported by the literature review are the following:

  • the development of military leadership traits and their application;
  • the utilization of military leadership traits in civil life;
  • the process of transformation of fighting experience into business;
  • the advantageous and disadvantageous military experience features for public work;
  • issues that may arise during the transition from military to business organizations.

Researchers suggest that the areas of training, motivational techniques, performance appraisal approaches, stress overcoming exercises may have necessary business theories that can be relevant for the study (Grewal, 2014). For instance, the management by objectives concept is widely used in corporate organizations, but less utilized in armed forces; thus, former military servants may lead members of the business differently that might have unpredicted results (Grewal, 2014).

Performance evaluation conducted by business managers suggests having specific theories about the productivity of employees. For example, the strategic performance measurement system is used with particular metrics in a business organization, according to theory (Saxena & Chandrashekhar, 2017). However, these metrics may alter significantly in the military environment that may prevent the successful transfer of military skills and knowledge.

Overall, one can say that the literature review should address topics, theories, and concepts that would discover information that can be applied to the efficient transition of military traits into the business sphere. Professionals suggest that there are unique military leadership characteristics, such as integrity, risk-taking, and managing fear, that may be explored in empirical evidence works (Hemus, 2015). Therefore, a literature review may present an in-depth analysis of previous observations and open a new field for future assessment.


The topic can be investigated by using several methods and reliable sources of data. The study and research questions may utilize secondary sources, including books on the theme, similar researches, existing interviews with professionals, and examinations of historical examples, noted by Bhattacherjee (2012). Another way to get the relevant data is to conduct personal in-depth interviews with military veterans, who are currently working at a corporate business, to discuss their experience.

To answer the research questions appropriately, two central strategies can be acquired to base the research design on: qualitative and quantitative. The research questions require the usage of qualitative study since the identification of traits requires analyzing non-numerical data and understanding the essence of the military and civil experience of veterans. Initially, it can be stated that there can be utilized several possible types of information: primary and secondary data.

Primary data can be collected using in-depth interviews with former military soldiers who transferred to public companies and possess specific traits and methods that are used in corporate management. Marshall & Rossman note that in-depth interviews can be used when possible questions for interviewees will be open-ended to elicit profound information, and the number of surveyed people is relatively low (2006). The participants, namely former armed forces soldiers who are now being in corporate organizations, can be found by using personal connections and social media, and contacts on the websites.

Nevertheless, there might be a chance that it will be impossible to find the revenant number of people for in-depth interviews. In this instance, data can be collected by using secondary sources and existing documents, as suggested by Marshall & Rossman (2006). The qualitative information can be found in relevant books, reports, magazines, and newspapers that analyzed military leaders and their traits that helped them to transition to various organizations and lead people there. The most outstanding figures can be identified and investigated based on relevant information available in open sources.

Since the study is intended to be qualitative, there are several data analysis tools to acquire. For the information found in media and interviews, content analysis can be used to assess the data. For instance, specific elements can be coded with several military traits included and analyzed against the implementation in a civilian environment. Qualitative data analysis software and statistical tools, such as R, SPSS, NVivo, will be utilized to evaluate non-quantifiable information and derive standard features among military leaders that help them to manage a business.


The study is essential for TRADOC G2 and general knowledge for several reasons. First, few studies assessed the process of transferring military leadership skills into business organizations. TRADOC G2 has a unique employee base that consists of the majority of former armed forces servants. Therefore, the research would benefit these workers as they need to adapt their mentality and skills to a different environment. Second, the study would help the organization to unleash the full potential of its employees’ previous experience and knowledge acquired from the military institutions. Third, not only former military workers would benefit from the research, but also civilian ones as they would be able to understand the reasoning behind workers’ actions and bond better with former military employees. Finally, the research would present necessary data on points and behavior that is not effective or should be avoided when working with retired military leaders.


To conclude, one can say that the research may present essential information on the most efficient ways and strategies for the transition of skills, behavior, and knowledge of former military servants. The rules and management systems that are used in armed forces helped CEOs of various companies to lead people and the business successfully through changes and challenges. Therefore, the research on the topic of military leadership skills and their adaptation to civilian organizations would propose the necessary actions and strategies on the implementation of military experience transition.


  1. Akhtar, A. (2019). 9 incredibly successful companies founded by military veterans. Business Insider. Web.
  2. Akhtar, A., & Lockie, A. (2019). 15 current and former Fortune 500 CEOs who got their start in the military. Business Insider. Web.
  3. Stettner, M. (2019). Capture more details around you by applying military training tools. Investor’s Business Daily. Web.
  4. Storlie, C. (2018). Six must do’s for an effective military to civilian transition. Medium.
  5. Benmelech, E., & Frydman, C. (2014). Do former soldiers make better CEOs?. KelloggInsight. Web.
  6. Blinde, L. (2019). Army posts TRADOC G2 draft RFP. Intelligence Community News. Web.
  7. Grewal, D. (2014). Enhancing military leadership through business management techniques. Journal of Defense Management, 4(1), 1-6. Web.
  8. Saxena, A., & Chandrashekhar, V. (2017). Strategic performance measurement: Creating a common language to drive execution. Strategy&. Web.
  9. Hemus, J. (2015). What military leadership teaches us about leadership in a corporate crisis. Continuity Central.
  10. Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Introduction to Research, Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices. USF Tampa Bay Open Access Textbooks Collection.
  11. Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2006). Designing Qualitative Research (4th ed.). Sage Publications.

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BusinessEssay. "The Migration of Military Leadership Traits Into Business." November 18, 2022.