Military spouses are often thought of as some of the most strong, determined, and resilient people.
Military spouses are not recognized enough as the leaders that they are. When one becomes a military spouse they automatically accept a leadership role, whether it may be in their family, community, work, or all three.
Some may serve as silent leaders, who influence through kind words, smiles and behind the scenes tasks. Some may serve as outspoken leaders, rounding up committees and spouse groups or nonprofit organizations. Others may even serve as a leader that is in-between, that is managing their family life while trying to engage in spouse networks, as they are needed.
Military spouses are often reluctant to engage in the political world, while they are already balancing the unique challenges of military life. Right now more than ever, our country needs military spouses in leadership roles, ranging from roles at the school board all the way to the U.S. Senate. Most military spouses are far from the stereotypical “dependa”, the military spouses I know and have met are service-oriented, with problem-solving skills and with the solution always in hand, and have the strong ability to work with diverse groups to accomplish goals. They organize phone trees and meals for new parents, advocate for improvements to Tricare (healthcare for the military and their dependents), fundraise for the unit readiness groups, lead the charge to reduce military spouse unemployment, and crank out care packages, while balancing their family and work duties.
While there are more military veterans running for office today, military spouses are also a critical voice in this conversation. As a military spouse, I understand the direct effect that the government can have in a military families life. Right now congress is controlling; whether a service member goes to war, where in the world a service member and their family will be stationed, what health care coverage will be available for their family, access to childcare on base, availability of resources for military families, how much a service member will be paid, what retirement benefits a service member will receive, and so much more. While congress has so many restrictions and controls, military spouses understand the importance of their network and how to utilize their networks effectively. They know how to open our heart to others, remain confidential and seek support when needed.
Because of this direct impact on a family in the military, military spouses are uniquely positioned to talk about the importance of government decision-making in the lives of American citizens. Many military spouses have also spent significant time working on solutions to these problems and apply those problem-solving skills to serve a larger community. These organizational and leadership skills all translate to the ability to effectuate good government. Peter Northouse explained that the leader competencies at the heart of the skills model are problem-solving skills, social judgment skills, and knowledge. The model postulates that effective problem solving and performance can be explained by the leader’s basic competencies and that these competencies are in turn affected by the leader’s attributes, experience, and environment.
Caruso, K. (n.d.). Looking for a Leader? Look for a Military Spouse. www.Nextgenmilitaryspouse.Com. Retrieved September 14, 2020, from https://nextgenmilspouse.com/are-military-spouses-natural-leaders
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. 7th Edition. Los Angeles: Sage