Archive for July, 2012

I was speaking with a good friend of mine recently who has a son in the military and he told me of an encounter his son had with one of his superior officers at their base. He told him about how this officer was “talking him up” on the phone to another high-ranking officer in the army who was looking for quality men for his Army Ranger unit. (You see, my friend’s son is one of those young men who will ultimately be the man in charge of whatever he undertakes, no matter what level.) So as he entered the office of his commander, he called my friend’s son over to speak with this man on the phone. What I found interesting was this military officer’s line of questioning…He asked him only 2 questions…


1. Have you ever cheated on your wife?


2. Have you ever been too drunk to go on a mission?

This man had never met my friend’s son but these questions were the reasons why this Ranger Commander had fired previous leaders and he wanted to gain a quick glance of the kind of man he was speaking with. As a result, rather than ask him questions like ” what are your personal goals” or “how long have you been in the army” he chose a direct approach, or as I call it, “the integrity approach”. You see, as I further spoke with my friend, he explained to me that time has proven to the men in the higher ranks of the military that real leadership starts with integrity and commitment, character traits that reside inside the man. Men that are honest, driven, hard-working, and possess the “never quit” and “never say die” attitude and yet still come home to the same wife do make better leaders in combat than ones who don’t take those characteristics seriously. Please don’t get me wrong, the military has a very comprehensive scoring system that measures many things such as how well you can shoot, how fast you run, how smart you are and even predict how you might act in a particular situation…but how do you measure integrity or honor or virtue? You really can’t, so you have to try to understand what is at the core of a person, what they believe in, are they faithful to their wife or do they cheat on her and do they have sense enough to stay sober and NOT miss an important mission…all of which live inside a man…

As I shared with my friend, I think all of us could have predicted that fact about military leadership because even in our regular, “non-military” lives, integrity, loyalty, honor and commitment are also critical and frankly, are the traits that founded this country from the beginning. Moreover, these character traits are Bible based, since the dawn of creation, men that followed their internal moral compass were more successful in more phases of life that those who went their own way. J. Oswald Sanders said ” Leadership is influence” and if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you recognize that you are called to influence others. What I find interesting is that it took this particular set of military leaders this long to understand that men who posses these influential qualities and have a “Christ centered core” inside of them make better leaders on the battle field or for that matter, anywhere else than ones who do not.

I have never served in the military but I have been in situations where I was required to follow both great as well as poor leadership over the years. John Maxwell, an expert on leadership, said that “the measure of a man is how he handles power” and I can say that if my life was on the line, God forbid that I had to follow someone I didn’t respect. Most assuredly, I would want to follow someone I trusted because of their core principles, who they were and what they stood for…because all of those virtues frankly, would matter the most on the battlefield …because that is leadership that can be measured when it counts the most…what do you when your life, along with the lives of your men, are in harm’s way? You trust in God, because through Him, you and me, understand who we are, what got us here and what will get us out…

Guys…it is encouraging to see our military leaders look at what’s inside the heart along with their score before they make up their minds as to who is in positions of leadership in our country’s military…

Until next time guys…

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