Saturday, July 7

Church Planting Lessons from the Marines (Part 2 of 3)

Recognizing Leadership
The Marine Corps also prides itself on developing and recognizing leadership. Some key factors it looks for in leaders and key aspects of leadership which it tries to develop are as follows:

1. Who steps out to take the lead? Taking initiative is a high value.

2. Who asks for input from the others? It is not seeking for lone rangers.

3. Who recognizes when a plan is failing and backs off to try another? This is very important in that constant evaluation is important. Someone who is too proud to admit that an approach is not working or someone who is stubbornly married to his plan is not someone who is considered an effective leader.

4. It also looks for who leads from the front. It doesn't want leaders who are not willing to participate and lead from the front. The ranking officer is generally the first going in to a dangerous situation in the Marine Corps, as opposed to other branches of the service where senior officers are kept in relatively safer and more secure settings.

5. Finally, who takes the initiative? It wants quick decisions and decisive action, people with a style of leadership which relies on input and communication but doesn’t wait for it.

These are all instructive for SCs (Strategy Coordinators) in both how to be a leader and how to develop leaders.
One of the questions people are always asking is, where do you get your leaders from? The answer is, we don't "get" them from anywhere. They emerge on their own. What we do is PRAY the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers. Those he sends our way, we train. The men/women trained will either emerge as a leader or they will fall back into the fold of being a follower.

Those who step out in initiative, who seek input, who are able to recognize their own failures and make needed adjustments, who lead from the front by example, and who don't quit become the leaders.

These are the people we focus on helping, training, teaching, mentoring, praying for, counseling, pouring our lives into. We try to give 80% of our time-effort-energy into the lives of the 20% who are our emerging leaders. The remaining 20% of our time-effort-energy will go into the 80% who are always there wanting our time and attention.

--source "What We Can Learn From The U.S. Marines" by Curtis Sergeant


Geoff Baggett said...

I love the metaphor of comparison ... even if you are using wisdom from the "jar heads." ;)

BTW ... I hope you don't mind, but I "hijacked" your comment lady and copied her into my sidebar. Priceless!

Tim Patterson said...


Excellent insights into leadership. I especially like the way you are applying the principles to your situation.

GuyMuse said...

Geoff, Tim,

Thanks for stopping by. We are at our annual meeting for missionaries and so have limited internet time, but appreciate the comments on what to us is valuable lessons we have learned and trying to apply.