I had the privilege the last few weeks to have former Marine Corps Infantry Officer Jeremy Stalnecker on my podcast as well as getting invited to be on his. There are not many people who understand leadership to the degree that Jeremy Stalnecker does, which shows from his time as an Infantry Officer, a Pastor and currently a CEO.
Before I get into the main takeaway from what I learned from him, the first thing I actually noticed was his ability to communicate. His ability is at a level that I have only seen from a handful of people in my life. I have observed his communication while listening to him preach, reading one of his books, along with being on each other’s podcast. Everything he says is clear, concise and in digestible form for every one listening to be able to understand. He is one of those people that makes the listener feel like an expert on whatever subject he is talking about. All due to his ability to communicate effectively. This is something I am going to strive for as I grow Mission Driven Made.
As he told his story of leading his platoon during Operation Iraqi Freedom to eventually secure Baghdad and the Presidential Palace, I actually felt like I was by his side. The story came to life for me as I tried to picture the difficult task he was given as a leader which consisted of many unknown challenges that he and his troops were faced with. Gunfire, Rocket-Propelled Grenades, Mortars along with IED’s was a reality for all of them as they moved the front lines closer to the Presidential Palace, while the enemy insurgents were everywhere.
Although I had a multitude of questions that I wanted to ask him, I tried to narrow it down to just a few. The overachieving theme of the podcast and the most important question was…what is it that makes a good leader?
For years and especially in my early 20’s, I thought a leader was a personality type. I thought a leader was someone that is considered “Type A” and enjoys yelling at people. I viewed leadership from the wrong lens, or at least a lens that hadn’t been adjusted correctly yet.
From listening to Jeremy for a few years, from reading his Leadership By Design book and having the chance to chat with him, here is what I learned..
A leader is someone who takes a person from where they are to where they need to be.
A lightbulb went off when I first heard this. It was so simple yet so profound. Another term for this definition could be “servant leadership.”
Going into this next week, let’s think how we can be better leaders. Or better servant leaders. This doesn’t matter whether you are an Infantry Officer who is leading your troops into battle, or if you are an entry level employee at a corporate job who isn’t in charge of other people.
We are all at minimum leading ourselves.