Leadership Development Developing the Leader

Given the extensive demands put upon the military, which is currently fighting two wars on two different fronts, prioritization of resources, even regarding recreational services, is essential.

The men and women served must believe that the organization has a strong sense of integrity, and truly believes that it has their best interests at heart: this is true of the military in terms of how it secures the safety of personnel, but also on a much smaller level in terms of the comforts enjoyed by them on base. When people trust their leaders, they are more apt to accept changes (Maxwell 2000, p.67). Being flexible to the ever-shifting social needs of the armed services is demanded in a world characterized by change. AAFES has begun offering discounts on laptops, for example, and other electronic services that are needed when members of the military take classes or use computers to stay in touch electronically with friends at home. AAFES offers earth-friendly and Energy Star products, which also shows its response to changing greener attitudes.

Maxwell stresses the service-based nature of leadership, and the fact that leaders must use their influence to make people want to follow them. Although the military tends to emphasize the command-based style of leadership in the field, within an organization that is designed to be responsive to human needs, a different approach is required. “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership” is Maxwells philosophy (Maxwell 2000, p.179). The very existence of AAFES highlights how the military is honoring the commitment of servicemen and women: it honors their need for entertainment and recreation under stressful circumstances. Incorporating them into the planning process of events on posts and making their input part of the decision-making of the organization will bring them more satisfaction, improve the revenue of AAFES and allow AAFES to have more funds to reinvest in its essential services.


AAFES. (2010). Army and Air Force Exchange Service. Retrieved July 14, 2010 at

Maxwell, John C. (2000). Developing the leader within.

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