A quick search in the books category on Amazon reveals more than 180,000 books written on leadership—from leadership theory to business practices to motivational self-help and more. It’s arguably the most written about subject in our time.
With so many authors clamoring to regale you with their brilliance, you’d think that anyone aspiring to become a leader would have ample help. Unfortunately, we continue to hear about leadership failures. From adultery to lying, theft to caustic climates, or incompetence to overreaches of power, leaders continue to fall by the dozens. What makes this truth even more tragic is the collateral damage caused when a leader self-destructs. At the least, public trust takes a hit; at the most, lives can be lost or irreparably damaged. Families can be destroyed, hope obliterated, and dreams dashed.
In my thirty years on active duty, I witnessed phenomenal leaders who inspired, encouraged, and built teams that accomplished great things. Sad to say, I’ve also seen those who used their positions to advance their own agendas, bully others, and feed their own egos—always at the cost of those around them.
I was fortunate as a brand new “butter bar” to have come under the tutelage of a great leader. Chief Master Sergeant Adkins ran the training section for the directorate I was assigned to. Because of an overage of new lieutenants, I was made the OIC (Officer in Charge) over that section. One afternoon, another section requested our help in getting their new troops trained and operational. Making our way to the meeting, the chief asked me what OIC meant. I proudly replied, “that’s Officer In Charge—and that’s me!”
And thus my lesson began.
Chief Adkins informed me that when we arrived at our meeting, I was to listen to the section chief lay out their issues. I was then to look at Chief Adkins who would lay out the way ahead to solve their problem. Then I was to look at both Chief Adkins and the others and reply, “Oh, I see.” From the chief, I learned to respect experience, listen to others, and be slow to speak. That is what OIC means.
Throughout my leadership journey, I’ve gleaned many methods, techniques, and nuances of its practice from other sources, but the solid foundation for my leadership philosophy has come fully from the Bible. I fell in love with Nehemiah, Joshua, and the Centurion who displayed great faith. From Nehemiah, I learned what it was to be a great staff officer, leader, and manager. And I was fortunate enough to participate in a study called “Soldiering: A Biblical Perspective,” developed by LTC Hal Winton, USA (Ret).
Here are just a few examples of what the Bible teaches us about leadership: Need a model of servant leadership? Stop at Christ. Courage—read about Joshua. Delegation—review Moses. Integrity—study Joseph. Loyalty—examine Jonathan. Growing new leaders—do a case study on Paul. Accountability—model Nathan. Humility and repentance—follow David.
What’s the role OCF has and continues to play in developing and inspiring future leaders? Last fall, the OCF Council approved our 2017-2021 Strategic Framework. At the heart of the four “Lines of Effort” outlined in the framework is leadership.
- Member Engagement and Growth—encouraging and equipping Christian military leaders to create community, where our members employ biblical leadership to impact military society.
- Growing Christian Military Leaders—provide tiered leader development, from a Christ-centered perspective producing leaders of biblical character who integrate faith and profession to model true servant leadership.
- Ministry Delivery—adopt flexible, repeatable, and sustainable methods for teaching, training, and equipping military leaders to glorify God through their personal lives, professional excellence, and military leadership.
- Stewardship—leveraging our people, finances, and our facilities to effectively reach and minister to Christian military leaders, families, and fellowships.
You would do well to follow the Lord’s guidance for becoming a servant leader, have a transformational impact in the lives of others, and learn how to lead others in fellowship and Bible studies.
I am excited as we march into 2016. The world is hungry for real leadership—leadership based on solid, proven, biblical principles. Let’s feed them with the Word of God, filled with all they need to know to succeed in the eyes of the Lord. Join me in that journey!