How military veterans can overcome their loyalty trap and how you, the non-military boss can help them

A couple of weeks ago, I heard an interesting term when meeting with one of the Military Transition Roundtable groups.

One of our Military Transition Roundtable students was halfway through their Skillbridge internship when he questioned the concept of showing loyalty to his internship.

Let me share some simple background about the person posing the question in our MasterMind group. The person had served in the Marines for 20 years. As a retired Air Force sergeant, I have watched, observed and worked with Marines like him through the years.

I know one thing….Marines are a loyal bunch.

The Marine Corps has a long history of loyalty to its retirees and others who have served. This is due in part to the strong bond that is formed between Marines during their service.

They celebrate their birthday with exceptional gusto every November 10 in hundreds of American and overseas communities.

The United States Marine Corps celebrates its birthday on November 10th with a variety of events and traditions. The most common way Marines celebrate this is to attend a Marine Corps Ball. These balls are formal events with dinner, dancing, and speeches. They are a chance for Marines to come together to celebrate their Corps and its history.

Another common way the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday is to cut a cake. The cake is traditionally cut by the oldest and youngest Marines present. This symbolizes the passing of knowledge and tradition from one generation of Marines to the next.

In addition to balls and cake cutting, there are a number of other ways to celebrate the Marine Corps' birthday. Some Marines participate in unit runs or other physical activities. Others may visit the Marine Corps War Memorial or other Marine Corps museums. And still, others may simply take the time to reflect on the history and accomplishments of the Marine Corps.

No matter how they choose to celebrate, Marines all over the world take pride in their Corps and its birthday.

Back to my retiring Marine……

He is working in a Skillbridge internship that capitalizes on his skills as a leader and a manager. He has had several other organizations contact him about working for him.

One of the other program participants, an Air Force retiree, suggested he was facing a loyalty trap. As a future retiree, he had to decide what was best for him and the next chapter of his life.

The person giving the advice in our MasterMind group?

He served in the Air Force and he had faced similar issues during his Skillbridge internship. Since his departure from military service, he learned to put a positive focus on his needs to financially support his family.

Sure, he wanted to demonstrate loyalty to his internship organization, the Air Force veteran noted. However, if something better came along, the Air Force counterpart, said he should factor in the pros and cons of leaving this organization.

If you are hiring a military professional in transition or #mpit to work for your organization, be aware that you’re bringing in a person that will demonstrate considerable loyalty to your organization.

Rare is the non-military organization that will create a culture where it rivals the Marines or other branches of the service in terms of loyalty.

If you are a non-military member who wants to understand what makes your veteran tick, find other veterans in your organization to mentor him and you.

Can a military member’s loyalty to his new job change the dynamics of your organization?

Non-military supervisors will find their veterans bring discipline and other leadership factors to their organization.

By praising them for the little things such as coming to work 10 minutes early or noting that they volunteer for tougher jobs, a boss can gain the trust of their veteran.

Some people in the Military Transition Roundtable have said they wondered if they should adapt to the change in culture by not mentioning their military background. They want to embrace their new jobs by simply observing their new corporate culture and not making any waves.

Savvy business leaders will recognize their leadership and technical talents, especially in terms of leadership and group dynamics. A simple conversation on “How did they handle this kind of situation in your military organization?” can produce some insight into their capabilities within your organization.

It’s these simple things that will make your military veteran feel welcome in your organization. He or she has tremendous skills and is very adaptable to learning new things. Given the chance to impress you, most will do so because of their loyalty to their mission.