For this week’s Monday Minute, Kelli shares with us some tips she learned while on active duty and from the Bible to help you develop your leadership style.
Develop Your Leadership Style
by Kelli Baker
One benefit of being in the military is the opportunity to operate in different work roles with several styles of leadership. This provides you with the opportunity to gain wisdom and experience from a variety of leaders so you can develop your leadership style.
John Maxwell said, “The goal of a leader is to develop other leaders.” As a young Soldier, it’s essential to pay attention to your leaders. This positions you in the right place at the right time to accomplish the mission, while also allowing you to learn from them. Whether it be mundane daily tasks or specific tasks for an upcoming deployment, leaders need to gain the support of those they lead.
Think back over your career to the different leaders you might have had. It doesn’t matter if you are brand new to the military or if you’ve served 30 years,you are guaranteed to have served with leaders ranging in leadership styles. As you develop your unique leadership style, it is only natural to consider the different styles you’ve encountered. Take the aspects of good leaders who have influenced you and leave behind some behaviors of past leaders who may have missed the mark.
The Bible is also a great resource for developing your mentorship and leadership style.
After Ruth’s husband and father-in-law died, Naomi, her mother-in-law, insisted that Ruth return home. Ruth refused to leave Naomi’s side. She dared to stand up for what was right. Then, Ruth went to work in Boaz’s field. She wasn’t afraid to put in work. She put the needs of others before her own. God blessed her by giving her a son who would become the grandfather of David.
Esther was another fearless leader. She carried baggage, yet she didn’t allow it to alter her leadership. Raised by her uncle after her parents died, she had the bravery to conceal her true identity to save the Jews. God blessed her faithfulness by giving her favor in the eyes of the king and power to redeem her people.
In the book of Luke, Elizabeth was shown favor because of her faith in God. She became a great mentor for Mary as she navigated being a pregnant virgin. Elizabeth opened her home to Mary,walked alongside her, and helped her affirm her faith in God.
All of these women point us back to our faith.
Each of these women displayed great courage. Their example shows that a mentor and leader walks through life with those they lead.
During my time in the military, I had some leaders who fell short, but I also had some amazing leaders. My first duty station was Fort Bragg where we had a leader who would push us out of our comfort zone to build our confidence. Then he’d go to bat for us if need be. He was a Christian man who loved mentoring and leading Soldiers. He took the time to get to know each of his Soldiers and learned our weaknesses and strengths so he could effectively encourage us. Even after nearly a decade, I remain in contact with him.
Jesus’ example of how a leader treats their subordinates is remarkable. Jesus calls his disciples to follow him. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 ESV). Jesus asks his followers to deny themselves as they walk through life at Jesus’ side. Jesus uses every opportunity as a teaching moment.
Finally, Jesus tells us to love one another. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35 ESV).
As you develop your own style of leadership and mentorship, think about these examples. Become selfless as you place the needs of others first. Invest in those in your leadership. This means getting to know them and loving them. Learn about them so you can use every opportunity to teach them. Show genuine interest in them so you can better help them become the best leader they can become.
Reflect: How are you demonstrating love to those God has placed in your life to mentor and lead?
Respond: Get to know those you lead. Grab coffee together or get lunch.
Lord, thank you for the example of leadership throughout your Word. Give us the strength and courage to become the great leaders and mentors you have created us to be. Help us build others up so they can become great leaders as well. For in Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
Developing the Leaders Around You by John Maxwell
Youthful Hearts Teach blog post by Jennifer Wake
The Importance of Just Showing Up blog post by Rachelle Whitfield
The Power of Showing Up blog post by Kori Yates
The Remarkable Truth about Age and Wisdom blog post by Muriel Gregory