Making a split-second decision is one of the most expected quality of a leader, however at times even the trained military leaders tend to falter in this type of decision making which will lead to severe adverse effects.
Similar scenarios also occur in business and there are a few lessons that can be learnt from the military on how to make decisions.
The first aspect we must understand is that the military is trained to take such decisions by empowering them. By empowering the military people they are entrusted with the responsibility and they are given freedom to succeed or fail.
Despite all the drawbacks in the military which includes stringent criteria for promotion, geographical distances and on-ground events they continue to develop individual decision making skills.
This results in the mitigation of the challenge when the time arrives. The organisations must realise that cultivating leaders at every level is not optional but a necessity.
Another key aspect which the organisations can learn from the military is the positioning of the leaders.
If a CEO is not present at all he risks being seen as incompetent or worse, not interested in his responsibilities. If he constantly stays at the front, he runs the risk of losing precious time in non-strategic tasks and losing perspective. This is when the second and third level of leaders become a necessity.
A leader should be able to understand the situation and the potential outcomes of it.
Unlike the military leaders, business leaders may not be facing life and death situations, but they do need to be comfortable with uncertainty and possess critical thinking abilities to be able to make these judgment calls.
Military officers are groomed to be leaders. The lessons and qualities of empathy, integrity, courage, composure in crisis, communication and decision making that officers acquire in the battlefield can be extremely relevant and valuable for the boardroom battlegrounds.