Comparison of Leadership in Military and Corporate Environment


Leadership refers to a management skill where one’s ability is used to motivate a given group of people towards the achievement of a common goal. Military leadership refers to the process through which the military officers are influenced to accomplish the military service mission. Military leadership provides purpose, motivation, and direction to the officers in order to encourage them to accomplish the intended set goals and objectives, and the chain of command being the most fundamental organizational technique that is used in military leadership. A leader within the military service acquires authority over the subordinates through the command based on the rank or position that the person holds in the military organization( Kouzes, J.M and Posner,B.Z. 2007).

Corporate environment leadership often promotes environmental improvements and payoff to the corporation in terms of the financial rewards and it involves talent management so that the organization can be able to attract and retain top talent. The leadership that is found in the military and the corporate environment differ in various ways. In this paper, the two types of leadership will be looked at, with leadership in the military being compared to that in the corporate environment.


Military leadership advocates for enduring organizational excellence, where selflessness and self-sacrifice are core values. The military service officers are expected to work tirelessly for the success of the organization or the state. For instance, all the military officers who are recruited and trained in the service are required to work for the organization for it to achieve its success. To some extent, military leadership views those who work for competition as not being always qualified to work for the organization.

However, those who work for the best of the military organization are believed to be competent military officers and they are of the opinion that those who join the military service should and usually join the organization for reasons other than money. The leadership consequently is not driven by financial interests, but instead, the needs of the state or the organization are the priority.

Incorporate leadership, financial interests form a very important part of leadership. A corporation/business enterprise can be viewed as an organization that has the legal authority to conduct business. The Corporation’s or business organization’s rules are formulated to take care of the capital investment issues and the labor-providing employees. It is therefore important to note that, leadership in a corporate environment unlike in the military usually depends very much on the financial gains/profit of the organization. The need to conduct business in a cost-effective and profit-maximizing manner makes the structure and nature of leadership in the corporate environment differ from that of the military (Kouzes, J.M et al 2007).

In military leadership, the value of loyalty or faithfulness is considered very vital. The military operations are usually very sensitive, risky, and sometimes required to be secretive and any operation that is undertaken is expected to succeed as much as possible. Various governments or states usually experience challenges that often demand military organizations to help out in situations that relate to security issues. In some states in the modern world, security has become such a concern that the military is required to work very effectively and without attracting public attention unnecessarily, so as to achieve its mission.

Since ancient times, military leadership leaves no margin for error (Carrison,D.1998), the kind of leadership in military organizations even in our modern world. In military work, any wrong decisions mean deadly consequences which leave the military with no other option but to succeed in whatever they do. The military leadership ensures that any actions that the service undertakes succeed no matter what. For instance, military leaders have a responsibility to inspire the service members to perform even in the most difficult situations where the officers are expected to perform selflessly and with great loyalty.

Corporate leadership on the other hand does not inspire as much loyalty and faithfulness as military leadership. This is not to say that corporate leadership does not advocate for these values. The values promote the devotion of a person to the achievement of certain goals and objectives. It is therefore no doubt that corporate leadership needs these values for it to succeed. Unfortunately, loyalty and faithfulness are values that lack in the corporate world.

With the growing corporation complexity, the employees or the people have been observed to shift their loyalties to the individuals instead of the companies. A good example is the movement of employees from one company to another. As earlier said most people who work in the corporate world are driven more by their self-interests rather than the success of the organization. It will therefore be easy for people to shift job positions that better suit their interests. Whenever employees of a given company are offered a better paying job by another organization they often leave their current jobs for a much better one (Northouse,P.G.2006).

Furthermore, top managers in a given company may also move to another organization and carry with them a number of the other employees working in the company. This shows that the level of loyalty and faithfulness employees have for their organization in the corporate world is very minimal, or lacks completely because it depends on the individual’s interest and not the organization. The type of leadership in the corporate environment depends on the organization’s interest, which has in turn reduced the loyalty and faithfulness of the workers.

Though both the military and corporate environment leadership work to develop winning attitudes in people, the methods of developing these attitudes differ (Shafritz, J et al 2007). In military leadership, developing winning attitudes in the military officers is from the bottom-up. Despite the chain of command authority in the military service, military officers in the lower levels of work are usually offered an opportunity or environment where their work greatly determines whether the military mission succeeds. Leadership always puts into consideration the military officer’s needs that will maximize their chances of winning.

In the corporate world, leadership in its development and implementation of certain measures maximize the chances of gaining very highly in terms of financial gains. This requires maximum productivity of the workers through winning attitudes and morale (Stillman II, R.J. 2005). The development of winning attitudes in workers in the corporate environment is promoted from the top to the bottom.

For instance, in a corporate organization, a Chief Executive Officer’s winning attitude is usually trickled down to the other workers. What seems like a winning attitude by top-level managers is often the attitude developed in low-level workers. Though what is seen by an organizations’ top officials as a winning attitude may not necessarily be the low-level worker’s opinion of a winning attitude, the top-level official’s attitude is most likely to be adopted.

Military leadership is considered to provide great motivation and morale for its officers, just like corporate leadership does. However, the way in which motivation is encouraged in the military is sometimes seen as being inhumane or not proper. For instance, military officers are encouraged to continue performing their work well and tirelessly. The methods that the military leadership uses to promote motivation are sometimes blunt, intimidating, and humiliating. On the other hand, corporate leadership adopts methods that are less intimidating and humiliating to its workers.

Making decisions is very important either in the military or corporate organization and making the right decisions at the right time is very important. Military leadership involves the making of high-pressure decisions due to the often experienced military situations that require urgent actions (Carrison,D.1998). The working environment in the military sometimes demands that the officers who are in charge to act quickly and effectively towards a certain occurrence.

The leaders are then expected to make decisions while under high pressure, to address the urgent issues. For instance, military officers in the battlefield if attacked need to respond very quickly to either retaliate against the attacks or to hide from their enemies. The decision requires to be made as fast as possible and it leaves no room for errors. Incorporate leadership, though sometimes leaders are faced with tough experiences that require a quick response, decisions do not always need to be done immediately or not as fast as those in the military service(after a few minutes or seconds).


Finally, military leadership sometimes gives authority on issues that may involve the physical confrontation of the officers… For instance, incidences of war or battles promote physical confrontation between the involved parties. This may occur when the military tries to defend a state against physical confrontation from the enemy, and the use of equipment and tools to fight the enemies is also seen. The corporate environment leadership rarely gets involved in a physical confrontation of its staff with the others with most of the actions undertaken to receive authority that requires very limited physical confrontation( Perdew,K.2006) or none at all.

References page

Carrison,D. 1998. Semper Fi; Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way. AMACOM.

Kouzes, J.M and Posner,B.Z. 2007. The Leadership Challenge. Jossey-Bass.

Perdew,K. 2006. Take Command; 10 Leadership Principles.

Blackstone Audio Books.

Northouse,P.G. 2006. Leadership; Theory and Practice. Sage Publications.4th Edition.

Shafritz, J. M., Russell, E. M., & Borick, C. P. 2007. Introducing Public Administration (5th ed.). New York: Longman.

Stillman II, R.J. 2005. The study of Public Administration in the United States: “The Eminently Practical Science” In R.J. Stillman II (Ed.), Public administration: Concepts and cases (8th ed., pp. 16-27). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

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