It’s Not Just a Group Hug
It’s tempting, sometimes, to process the Bible as something that promotes the kind of character that manifests itself only in the context of being “nice” or “moral.” Obviously, those are Christlike Characteristics, but when you apply what the Bible has to say about Leadership and Life in general, the end result is more than just “noble.” It’s the kind of success that everybody ultimately wants because there’s no downside to it. You’re not having to compromise in order to achieve your goals (Ps 37:4).
One example is the way in which we’re commanded to love one another (Jn 13:34-35).
This isn’t just a group hug or “going the extra mile.”
One of the “laws” advocated in Og Mandino’s book, “The Greatest Salesman on Earth” is that, “I will approach this day with love in my heart.”
Think about it:
I will greet this day with love in my heart.
And how will I act? I will love all manners of men for each has qualities to be admired even thought they be hidden. With love I will tear down the wall of suspicion and hate which they have built round their hearts and in its place will I build bridges so that my love may enter their souls.
I will love the ambitious for they can inspire me! I will love the failures for they can teach me. I will love the kings for they are but human; I will love the meek for they are divine. I will love the rich for they are yet holy; I will love the poor for they are so many. I will love the young for the faith they hold; I will love the old for the wisdom they share. I will love the beautiful for their eyes of sadness; I will love the ugly for their souls of peace.
I will greet this day with love in my heart.
All Kinds of People
As a leader, you inevitably come in contact with all kinds of people. Your mission may be clear, but the way in which you go about delegating responsibilities and telling your subordinates what to do is an authentic art and is not always intuitive, especially whey you’re tasked with having to work with all manner of personality types.
In the Marine Corps, Leadership is extremely important, not only for the sake of impressive looking formations, but more importantly, for the successful completion of combat missions. Amongst the innumerable courses and manuals promoted within the Marines to help their commissioned and non-commissioned officers grow in their ability to lead is the acrostic JJ DID TIE BUCKLE – a short, easy to remember tool that underscores crucial leadership traits that are especially worthy of study and application.
Regardless of how important each Leadership Trait may be, if they’re deployed in the absence of love, the end result is potentially catastrophic.
That may sound a bit out of place, given the military dynamic, but remember the love that is emphasized in Scripture is Agape love. It is God’s unconditional and perpetually giving love in action. Thomas Aquinas defined it as “…to will the good of another.”1 When processed beyond the scope of lofty sounding theological concepts, it can be recognized as the truly powerful and strategic force that it is, in terms of the way it can be used to affect the best possible outcome in the best possible way (Eph 3:20-21).
USMC Leadership Traits
Consider the way it’s made manifest in the context of the Marine Corps Leadership Traits it teaches:
|USMC Leadership Trait
|Biblical Description of Love
(1 Cor 13:4-8)
|no record of wrongs
|not easily angered
|does not boast
|does not delight in evil
|it is not rude
|it does not envy
|love never fails
|Rejoices with the truth
1) Justice -> If you’re going to be just, you’ve got to be impartial which means you’re not going to keep a “record of wrongs.”
2) Judgement -> To make sound judgments in crisis situations, especially for the believer who’s intentionally including the Perspective of His King in crisis situations, you’ve got to trust what He’s telling you (Jas 1:5-7).
3) Dependability -> Being a hero one moment and being a jerk the next may be “understandable,” but it’s not acceptable in the Corps nor should it be in any scenario. Your disposition should be even, regardless of the circumstance or your mood. It’s then when you are truly dependable.
4) Initiative -> You do what needs to be done regardless of who’s looking.
5) Decisiveness -> Tactical Patience is a term used to describe the ability to allow a situation to develop in order to make sound decisions as opposed to those that are reactionary and impulsive.2
6) Tact -> However you may be justified in insisting on a particular behavior on the part of an individual by virtue of your rank / position, you always want to wield that authority in a way that’s humble and approachable.
7) Integrity -> Honesty is not something you should pursue begrudgingly. Rather, it is something you should enjoy, value and embrace.
8) Endurance -> It always perseveres. Suck. It. Up.
9) Bearing -> You bear the name of your King, your ancestors, your nation as well as your employer. Act like it.
10) Unselfishness -> You should never be so preoccupied with yourself that you can’t authentically celebrate the accomplishments of others.
11) Courage -> God’s Love will always inspire you to do things you would never consider doing on your own.
12) Knowledge -> You have to know the truth in order to rejoice when it wins the day. Be knowledgeable.
13) Loyalty -> God’s Love will drive you to protect others above yourself.
14) Enthusiasm -> Being motivated and enthusiastic requires a “hope” for something better based on a Truth that never fails. You have that in God’s Love.
The sooner you leave behind any notion of God’s Love being some distant, albeit noble, dynamic that has no real practical application, the better.
Let’s go make a difference!
- Wikiquote, “Thomas Aquinas”, https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas, accessed September 2, 2018
- “Mountain Tactical Institute”, “Show Tactical Patience – Worst Leader Essays”, http://mtntactical.com/knowledge/show-tactical-patience-worst-leader-essays/, accessed September 2, 2018