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Each year, the United States celebrates Veterans Day on November 11. Not to be confused with Memorial Day (a day dedicated to remembering those who died while serving), Veterans Day allows us an opportunity to connect with those who have served and learn from their experience.

Veterans are men and women who have been challenged with intense mental and physical training to help them prepare to face some of the most difficult situations at home and abroad. As of 2012, women constitute 12 percent of active duty military and 14 percent of the veteran population.

Civilians can learn many leadership lessons from veterans and those still serving. Last week, Thomas E. Perez, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, encouraged companies to hire veterans because “they possess essential skills that companies are looking for, including leadership, problem-solving, and teamwork.” Additionally, top reasons that businesses hire military veterans, according to the U.S. Labor Department, is because of their commitment to teamwork, respect for procedures, integrity, and ability to reach triumph over adversity.

Here are some ways you can think about how these qualities might transfer into your own life:

Teamwork: What is the big picture goal of your organization? What are the long term goals of your team and what part can you play in making them happen? Doing what you say you will do and supporting your teammates in times of need speaks to your maturity and willingness to go the extra mile. This can also be the first step to holding people accountable!

Respect for procedures: There are often reasons why certain rules are in place. While it is healthy to question the status quo – and you should – it is also necessary to understand why policies and procedures are in place. If you don’t fully understand a policy, just ask someone. Having a clear understanding of your role in an organization can help you approach difficult conversations when necessary.

Integrity: It is important to be honest and trustworthy. Working ethically, fairly, and with purpose is crucial to showing your employer you care. What does integrity look like to you? How can you help others understand its importance?

Reaching triumph over adversity: Whether you’re an employee of three months or thirty years, adversity is something that does not go away. Challenges and misfortune often come to us because of conflict between another employee, poor market performance, or other factors that may be out of our control. It will benefit you greatly to keep a positive mindset and a resilient temperament.

Today, please take a moment to thank our United States veterans for their service and commitment. We can all learn something from their dedication. The AinA team can help strengthen your skills in any of these areas. If you would like to connect with someone about it, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Accountable in Action would like to thank military veterans for their service to our country. We admire your strength, dedication, and commitment. 

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