10 Tips for Working With Veterans

Mel O'Sullivan - October 1, 2020
  1. Do not lie to us, cheat us, or steal from us - you will not be forgiven.
  2. We are conditioned not to refuse tasks/requests. It is very difficult for us to identify and subsequently break that conditioning.
  3. We are highly skilled and have a huge capacity for multitasking and a surge of effort when required.
  4. A combination of points two and three makes us vulnerable to task overload and burn out if management does not regulate our task load. We expect and trust leadership to look after the interests of team members in the areas of tasking.
  5. We have highly developed time management and prioritisation skills. Often we place a higher value on time and achievement of objectives than we do on money. Time is a finite resource, and we are conditioned not to waste it. We can be brusque and direct in our communications because we are trained to get straight to the point in our professional interactions.
  6. We are trained to analyze possibilities, risk manage and act. If we question a decision or directive it is not with the intent to undermine management. We question because we are seeking clarification to better achieve the team/task objective. Celebrate that ability and leverage it for team success.
  7. We are team oriented and will make personal sacrifices in the interest of team success/loyalty. Be careful that you do not abuse that loyalty/trust - if you break it you will never get it back.
  8. We expect leadership by example. Respect is earned on an individual basis - not bestowed by a job title. We value authenticity and accountability as much as we value capability. We expect leaders to make mistakes, just don't try to hide it or blame it on anyone else.
  9. Many of us like to be able to see the door and/or the rest of the room when we are working. We often aren't great fans of unexpected loud noises either. We have good reasons for our behaviour.
  10. We are often accused of being uncaring,  heartless and lacking emotional intelligence because we overlook the niceties of social small talk. Nothing could be further from the truth - we care deeply about the wellbeing of our workmates. We are highly observant, people oriented people - often we do not need to ask how you are because your facial expression and body language have already told us everything we need to know about your state of mind.
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