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August Chaplain's Reflections

Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire JNGB, S.C., February 1, 2012.
(National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

Lt. Col. Brian Bohlman, 169th Fighter Wing Chaplain at McEntire JNGB, S.C., February 1, 2012. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- "Who are you Leaning on as a Leader?"

Every Swamp Fox is a leader...regardless of their rank and time in service in the SCANG. The most successful leaders are those who learn to lean on other leaders to help them accomplish what they cannot on their own. So I have two questions for every Swamp Fox: 1) Who are you leaning on as a leader? 2) Where do you look for help and support in time of need as a leader?

In the Old Testament we find an interesting story about leadership that describes why it is critically important to lean on others as a leader. In Exodus 17:8-10, we learn that the Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Then Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands." So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

While there are many different takeaways from this ancient story about leadership, allow me to share just three principles and encourage you to reflect on how this story relates to you as a leader.

1. It is normal for a good leader to get physically drained and emotionally tired.
I don't know about you, but how long could your body hold up after a prolonged period of stress and crisis? Being a leader will test the physical and mental core of your soul and it is natural to feel spent after a long day as a leader. This is why it is important to find someone to lean on.

2. It is abnormal for a good leader to dismiss help and support from other leaders.
From day one in our military career, we are taught the importance of functioning as a team and leaving no one behind. However, as we progress in rank and take on more responsibilities, we can easily succumb to the temptation of functioning as a lone ranger in leadership. If this describes you, I would encourage you to take some time to connect with other leaders and ask them for their advice and perspective on a leadership situation you may be facing.

3. It is normal for a drained leader to find a place of rest and to lean on others to help accomplish the mission.
In the leadership story lesson from Exodus 17, we learn that when Moses' hands grew tired, two other leaders (Aaron and Hur) found a stone and had Moses sit down while the battle raged on in the valley below. Then Aaron and Hur came alongside Moses and each held up his hands so that his hands remained steady till sunset. What a picture of synergistic leadership in action!

In closing, I invite each Swamp Fox to think about how they can practically help support SCANG leaders--from the most senior to the newest Airman. We all need each other and helping a leader find a safe place to rest and lean on others for support can make a huge difference in their personal resilience as a leader. Remember that your SCANG Chaplain Corps is always available to help meet any personal or spiritual needs that you have.

I also hope you will take advantage of attending one of the STRONG BONDS Singles, Family or Couples Relationship Skills Training Events being held over the next few months. Call Terry DeLille at 803-647-8089 or Chaplain Pittman at 803-647-8265 for more information.