Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Leadership Lessons from George Marshall (Part 2)

Apologies for the long break from writing. We had a 9-day regional training conference from 1-9 July followed by a training at Medan from 16-19 July.

Anyway, to continue on the
leadership lessons from General George Marshall...

4. Principle of Candor: Speaking Your mind
George Marshall was always ready to speak up for the truth even when it was not politically expedient to do so. True leadership is not self-serving, but rather stands up for what is true. Sometime, our superiors need to know the truth about a particular situation even though it may be unpleasant for them to hear about it. This is in line with what Scripture says about love: that it "rejoices in the truth."

5. Principle of Preparation: Laying the Groundwork
George Marshall believed in being prepared. Long before the US decided to enter the war with Germany and Japan, George Marshall had already build up the army for the day it would be called to duty. From less than 200,000 men before he took over, George Marshall built up the army to more than a million men fully equipped and ready to go to war when the call came.

Some Christian leaders substituted prayer for preparations. Whether we are involved in spiritual or non-spiritual work, there is always a need for thorough preparation. Things do not just fall into place. When Nehemiah decided that God wanted him to rebuild the broken walls of Jerusalem, he went about getting the logistics and supplies ready for the work. When he arrived at Jerusalem, he spent the first few days surveying the broken walls in order to understand the situation and make plans to rebuild the walls. After he had surveyed the ground, he mobilised the Jews in Jerusalem to do the work. He organised them into workgroups and distributed the tasks accordingly. He not only prayed, but he also planned. Praying is not a substitute for planning. After praying, we must plan.

I was reading Bill Hybels' Courageous Leadership, where he shared how he realized the need for strategic planning when the church grew very large. When a church is small, informal style of leadership will do. But when the church starts to grow, we have to give up the "small church" mentality otherwise it will prevent the church from growing further.

6. Principle of Learning and Teaching: Sharing Knowledge

George Marshall was a great teacher. He not only taught in formal classrooms but also informally to his troops. He was not only a great leader but also a great teacher. All great leaders must be great teachers. Look at Jesus Himself. He spent much time in teaching, not just leading or praying. Our followers need to be taught in order to prepare them for the what, why and how of a course of action to take in a particular situation. Leaders must take time to teach: this is the principle of discipleship and mentorship. Only as we teach can we raise up a new crop of leaders to succeed us.

Chee Min

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