Leadership is LOVE

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Christopher Jones
  • 375th Contracting Squadron

I draw much of my inspiration for my life from my faith and one of the key tenets of my belief system is that love is first and foremost the one thing we are called to do at all times.  Love is my leadership philosophy and tempers my approach to every challenge, opportunity or interaction I have as a leader in the Air Force, as a husband and father, and as a citizen of humanity.  As 1 Corinthians 13 illustrates: love is patient, kind, not envious, it does not boast, it is not arrogant, it is not rude, it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, it rejoices in the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  Love requires strength, character, wisdom, and humility to pull off on a daily basis and, unfortunately, is a sorely lacking skillset in our world today.

Love is such a critical component to leadership because it is the bedrock foundation for trust and it gives the leader a credibility and sincerity that is on full display in every interaction the leader has with others.  It shows others that we truly care and that we have, at our core, a strong foundation that can endure and persevere regardless of what may come.  Over the years I have taken these attributes of love and established my baseline leadership model: LOVE

Lead without fear: a leader must be confident to receive higher level direction or Commander’s intent and turn it into action.  As leaders we must move out and “draw fire” without fear of failure and we must allow our subordinates to do the same.  Failure to do so will result in our downfall.

Ownership: a leader must own their “world” and put themselves on the line for their teams and their missions.  At the same time leaders must set the tone for leadership and ownership at all levels within an organization.  An organization with multiple layers of leaders who own their processes is an organization ripe for innovation and efficiency that will only be limited by our imaginations. 

Value everyone: everyone matters and everyone’s contribution is instrumental to our broader success.  Diversity, equality and inclusion are fundamental to our future success and failure to capitalize on our diverse backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge will exponentially limit our success as a military and as a nation.

Emancipation: when used in conjunction with ownership frees our members from the bureaucracy that so heavily burdens the many facets of our operations.  Decision making and execution must exist at the point of relevance both in terms of timing and proximity to the situation. Oftentimes, we use the term empowerment to describe this approach, but it is my belief that empowerment is a term of bureaucracy. It highlights the fact that someone with power is giving someone else power but that power has limits and is subject to the desires and satisfaction of the leader that delegated the power in the first place.  Emancipation on the other hand, looks to change this by having authority and responsibility at the right level at the right time…without oversight.  We have much to do in this area based upon our existing statutory authorities and responsibilities and our legacy traditions, but it does not mean that we should sit idly by and accept these as the ideal state for our future force.

With love as our strong foundation and the leadership model of LOVE as our approach, I believe we can maximize the potential of our people, minimize our bureaucratic processes and set the stage for unstoppable innovation to meet Gen. Brown’s CSAF Action Orders - defending our nation no matter what the future may hold.