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Leadership Through Career Transitions

Michael Harris
Michael Harris
Michael Harris

Below is the transcript of an interview with Michael Harris. Military, Real Estate Agent and Soon to be Certified Coach..

Q: You are about to retire from the military… how has the leadership experience in the military prepared you for leadership opportunities in the civilian sector?

I believe the leadership experience in the military has prepared me for leadership opportunities in the civilian sector by teaching me what to do as well as what not to do. I believe in situational leadership, the idea that the people are individuals and that when placed in positions of authority we are obligated to be flexible and lead, manage or supervise each individual differently in certain situations. Younger generations and people in general do not respond the same as each other. So I believe if you are in a position of authority you have to know your people well and know what to do and what not to do in order to inspire and bring the best out of them and get great results.

Q: What did you do in the military? Will you do something similar in the civilian sector?

In the military my primary job was an Information Systems Technician or IT guy. I operated, maintained, secured and managed computer networks and US Navy communications suites. I have also had duties as a Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor and Equal Opportunity Manager which consists of some Human Resource duties for military personnel. Initially, I plan on doing IT work in the civilian sector provided the job continues to be fulfilling and if the company and I find the right fit. However, I will also continue to practice selling residential real estate as a licensed sales agent in the state of California in the near future do some pro bono coaching for transitioning veterans.

Q: You have a lot of passions – for real estate, small business even coaching, tell me more about how coaching fits in to your long-term vision?

I am extremely passionate about all three and entrepreneurship in general. Coaching is something I intend on doing for the rest of my life. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered how fulfilling it is to coach, develop and inspire people. I never realized that I was coaching subordinates and younger military personnel throughout my career until I recently reflected on what made me happy while on active duty. I have always loved taking care of my people first and the military second. And I am an introvert by nature but when an opportunity develops to speak in front of others or coach an individual I get extremely excited. So as I grow as a coach I can visualize having my own coaching practice in the not so distant future.

Q: What advice do you have for anyone interested in Real Estate?

Real Estate is a great career and I love it, but it can be difficult. Real Estate requires a lot of self-discipline. It requires you to manage your schedule, keep up with market trends, technology and your interpersonal and sales skills. The average real estate agent makes about $35,000 dollars per year, but the income is unlimited. Success as a real estate agent is all up to you. You get out of it what you put into it. I think you will find that most agents who have been in the real estate business for more than 10 years will say that you can’t be a part-time agent. I believe they are partially right. I think for you to understand what it is like an active real estate agent that you have to at a minimum do it part-time to understand the business before you make the jump to full-time.

Q: What advice do you have for veterans or anyone in a major career transition?

I would advise veterans or anyone making a major career transition to plan ahead at least two years in advance, save as much money as you can, flirt with other potential careers by completing information interviews and submitting your resume for feedback. You are always going to be fine-tuning and changing your resume. I would also advise them to have thick skin, patience and an understanding that it may be difficult, so be as prepared as you can be by doing your research and asking a lot of questions.

Michael Harris is a Hawk Eye Coach Training Student - soon to graduate. You may learn more about him here:

Please note, the author of this article is the Founder and Lead Instructor of Hawk Eye Coach Training.

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