Sunday, July 27, 2008

Leadership Lessons from George Marshall

I have just read an interesting new book about leadership principles from the pages of history: “Soldier, Statesman, Peacemaker-Leadership Lessons from George C. Marshall” by Jack Uldrich (2005). The author Jack Uldrich spells out 9 leadership principles from George Marshall's life. Below are the first 3 principles:

1. Principle of Integrity-Doing the Right thing

George Marshall always did what was right rather than what was convenient or expedient. Sometime even in the face of his superior and when it would jeopardise his promotion, he would do what was right rather than what was politically expedient. This trait alienated some but at the same time impressed his superior, resulting in his being promoted above other lesser characters.

Christian leaders are similarly called to do what is right, rather than what is expedient or convenient. The right thing is always what will further the Kingdom of God and the purpose of God, not our own perception of what is good.

2. Principle of Action: Mastering the Situation
Marshall focused on getting things done, not just discussing about it. If he thought something should be done, he did it. He expected the same from his subordinates, that they did not just talk but act. Through his action, he mastered new situations quickly.
For Christians, prayer must not be a substitute for obedience. Where the will of God is clear from Scripture, "praying about it" rather than taking action of faith is disobedience to the clear command of Scripture. The Apostle Paul was similarly a man of action; he acted according to the light of God's revelation on a daily basis. Where he might have made a wrong turn, the Holy Spirit stopped him. We can only discern the will of God as we are moving, not when we are stationary.
3. Principle of Selflessness: Serving the Greater Good
Marshall always acted in favour of the good of others, never for himself. Even when he was given the opportunity to make a name for himself by leading the Allied Forces in the Normandy invasion, he deferred it to a more junior general, Eisenhower, because duty required him to be in Washington to oversee the global war.
So it is with Christian leaders: we serve the greater good, never for our own self-promotion or interest. So long as Christ is preached and the kingdom is extended, it doesn't matter who gets the credit. The selfless leader's prayer is always, "Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
I will share the next 3 principles in my next posting.
Chee Min

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