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How Veterans Outscore Their Counterparts on Leadership

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Our series of industry trend research reports — created using our flagship 360-assessment tool, Benchmarks® for Managers — shows that great similarities exist among leaders across industries including healthcare, pharmaceutical, financial, tech, energy, and government (civilian).

The data show that every industry values the same 6 leadership competencies. Of these top competencies, bosses rated their leaders highest at “taking initiative,” but all cited a lack of preparedness when it came to leading employees, building collaborative relationships, and change management. In short, the data showed that “leaders are leaders,” regardless of the industry they work in.

But as veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces look for employment after their military careers, many industries don’t immediately recognize the great potential that leaders from the U.S. Armed Forces can bring to their organizations. In a recent report, the Center for a New American Security noted that one of the main barriers to hiring veterans is that businesses struggle to understand how military skills translate to increasing their bottom line.

Though the business case is clear to many, we know others may need more evidence. That’s why we decided to use our Benchmarks database to see how a sample of U.S. Army leaders would stack up against industry leaders.

After analyzing the data, we found that the bosses of both U.S. Army and industry leaders share similar beliefs about what competencies are most important to the success of their organizations. Out of 16 competencies on our Benchmarks 360-degree assessment, the same 6 rose to the top in both the U.S. Army and major industry sectors:

  • Building collaborative relationships
  • Leading employees
  • Strategic perspective
  • Taking initiative
  • Participative management
  • Change management

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