• Atul Holkar

Seven Military Leadership Skills That Will Help You Win in the Corporate War Room

I have more than three decades of experience working both in peace and at war. I have friends, and colleagues who are now either the CEOs of large corporates or the serving three-star generals in the army.


I have witnessed the military leadership up-close and personal in the thick of war; seen their valour, the battle confusion, real fear for lives and their ultimate sacrifices. And above all this, their excellent leadership both in victory and failure.




I have also witnessed the corporate leadership both in the board room and in the market; mind you there is no peace, its only war in the corporate. I have closely observed their exceptional business skills, their decisiveness and the teamwork but have also seen, at times very transactional relationships, emotionless dealings and their ruthlessness in preserving the interests of the management.

Both the leaderships are different and played in a different arena. Military leadership, most of the times, is more about self-sacrifice, ethics and principles. In contrast, in the corporate its more about profits(which is legit), market shares and competition, but then also of self-preservation and promotion; more so at very senior levels.

Over a period of time, I have narrowed down to the SEVEN LEADERSHIP SKILLS of military leaders that can really help the current business heads in improving their leadership skills in achieving corporate goals must faster.

These Skills can help corporate leaders in tying their individual goals with the organizational goals, resulting in a highly motivated and committed workforce, which, in turn, augments organizational efficiency and enhances employee productivity and retention.

1. Leadership cannot be outsourced or delegated. You have to lead both in good and bad times. The good news is from the leader and bad news from the HR head approach is unacceptable.


2. The team is ready to sacrifice for the right leader. The onus is on the leader to prove his loyalty to the team and not the other way round. Be emotional, be empathetic.


3. Sweat more in peace, bleed less in war. Training is a leadership responsibility and not that of the training team. They can aid not own.


4. Everyman counts. Irrespective of past affiliations or inclinations every person and every department counts. Sales team alone cannot be the victors of the corporate goals.


5. Never underestimate the obstacles. Leaders got to be creative, innovative and out of box thinkers. The success formulas of the past have expiry dates.


6. Failures are acceptable and are the force multipliers. Failures and omissions, if not repeated, must be accepted; it makes the team battle-ready.


7. The technology used innovatively changes the game. The man behind the machine is and will remain more important.

These skills have helped the military leaders in successfully selling the idea of death, infinite hardships and focused objective achievements without the promise of any increments or promotions.

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