Footsteps in Faith: Intrusive leadership can be a good thing

| April 7, 2017 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan D. Todd
325 Brigade Support Battalion
3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — “For the Lord’s portion is his people.” This passage from Deuteronomy, chapter 32, verse 9, in the Bible, reflects the importance God places on his most critical asset – his people.

This teaching and many others like it are mirrored within our Army lineage and culture. It is a foundational truth that our most critical asset will always be our people.

Our Army today continues in its persistent evolution to remain modern, mobile and lethal. In pursuit of this goal, over the last several years, we have embraced the mantra “back to the basics,” a return to what we once were, only much better.

Helping Soldiers
As an Army chaplain, I am blessed with the sacred privilege of helping Soldiers with their lives. It is in these precious moments that I am consistently made proud as I witness them willingly embrace the cost of being a Soldier and freely surrendering themselves unto their military duties. It is clear just how dedicated, sacrificial and loyal our Soldiers truly are.

Equally true is the fact that every Soldier faces personal problems, and at times, it may seem these life challenges are a distraction for our leaders – a detraction that turns a leader’s attention away from accomplishing the mission in order to help a Soldier in need. Such eventualities, however, are also powerful opportunities within leader-led relationships.

Our call to get “back to the basics” required a baselining of our warfighting skills and resulted in our Army becoming more cohesive, better trained and more lethal. Our equipment is surging to the edge of modernization, and our senior leaders continue to refine their strategic planning skills.

Back to the basics also means a return to leading our Soldiers as we once did. Intentionally, passionately and with an ever-present investment into teaching and developing our most critical asset, our Soldiers, is being made.

The challenge we face is how. How does this generation of leaders return to the sacred place of truly leading our Soldiers? A place where leaders tap into and focus the dedication, sacrificial attitude and loyalty our Soldiers already possess?

The answer was in part given voice from a staff sergeant I highly respect. She said to effectively lead our Soldiers, as we once did, we must embrace “intrusive leadership.”

Footsteps in FaithToday’s leaders must evolve, as our culture has evolved, to meet our Soldiers where they are. We must choose to be involved in our Soldiers lives especially when it is uncomfortable. We must do more than give a safety brief, hand out an alert roster and walk through the barracks once a week.

To reach our Soldiers at their core, we must engage them where they are in their lives. We must intentionally separate ourselves from the busyness and entanglements of our mission sets and connect with our Soldiers in ways that matter to them.

We must learn what challenges they face, professionally and personally, and choose to intentionally help them through them.

To be connected, enmeshed and engaged with our Soldiers, we must embrace intrusive leadership. What form this takes is up to you.

I challenge each of us to examine our leader-led relationships. Consider how we might engage with each other and how such connections will offer opportunities to grow through shared experiences. Consider how we might embrace intrusive leadership and how such leadership could benefit our sacred responsibility to genuinely lead our Soldiers.

Above all, I challenge each of us to consider this, are our Soldiers our most critical asset? Are we prioritizing them above all else? I for one truly hope we are.


Category: Standing Columns

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