The need for leadership in the ministry of a church requires that a pastor must become a student of leadership. I am fascinated by the different styles and approaches to leadership that have succeeded through the years. We see it in the Bible in men like Joshua, and we see it in the secular world.
Nowhere has American had a greater history of leadership than in the military. Our military leadership in the 1940s took young men – in their teens and early 20s – and within weeks turned them into a military force which defeated the two greatest war machines in history. Those generals and admirals have something to teach us about leadership!
General Douglas MacArthur, who had an “air” of leadership and authority about him, set an example by not hesitating to put himself in harm’s way. President Roosevelt had to command him to leave the Philippines at one point, and when he returned he went right to the front within distance of enemy shooting. His men never forgot that.
Admiral “Bull” Halsey’s air of leadership stemmed not from a commanding air but from the fact he maintained a calm authority. He was friendly and down-to-earth.
However, while some officers at war were cautious and predictable, Halsey was unpredictable in strategy and kept the enemy off-balance.
Like other leaders, Halsey was very positive – always maintaining a “can-do” attitude. He would demand that subordinate officers bring solutions to meetings – not excuses as to why something could not be accomplished.
General Dwight Eisenhower recognized that “optimism and pessimism are infectious and spread more rapidly from the head (leadership) downward than in another direction.” Consequently, he sought always to be positive. “I did my best to meet everyone from general to private with a smile, a pat on the back and a definite interest in his problems,” said Eisenhower.
Eisenhower exhibited a self-confidence that inspired confidence in him. He was not egotistical or arrogant. People trusted his leadership because of his thorough preparation and confidence.