I have two questions for you.
First question — What comes to mind when you think of leadership?
Second question — Who comes to mind when you think of a great leader?
Take a moment to give those two questions some serious thought. When you really take the time to think about them, they’re not so simple to answer, are they?
They’re not easy to answer because being a great leader is hard.
It’s hard to lead a family, or, on a larger scale, an entire group of people. It takes a special person with special qualities to be a great leader.
You may have had a few people come to mind when thinking about great leaders. Perhaps your father was/is a great leader. Or maybe you think of someone famous like a politician, social activist, or celebrity. Maybe you think of your church pastor. Maybe an uber successful businessman comes to mind. Maybe a teacher, counselor, supervisor, police officer, athlete, coach, scientist, musician, philosopher, doctor, inventor…
Whomever it may be, when you think about that person, what qualities do they have (or did they have) that make them a great leader? Why do you appreciate them so much?
Before I inflate this balloon to an unrealistic size, let’s remain on point here. We’re talking about leading your family and marriage. We’re not talking about you becoming the next president/prime minister, the next national hero, the next Nobel Peace Prize winner, or the next man to be added on to the Forbes world billionaire list due to your ultra successful Fortune 500 company (although that sure would be nice, wouldn’t it?
Let’s not get carried away. Hey, if you want to shoot for the stars, go for it. I’m not here to discourage you. But, more realistically speaking, above all things is your family and being the leader of your family (and marriage) is a critical part of the HoH job description.
So what does it mean to be a good leader?
What does it take to be a good leader? What qualities does a good leader have?
In my opinion, leadership starts with a plan. You can’t lead your family if you don’t know where it is you’re going or what it is you want. You need a plan. From there, your family needs your direction and your guidance toward reaching various goals within that plan. You work with your wife to create a “master plan”, if you will, that will ultimately result in what you both believe will be ideal for your family. As HoH and the leader of your family, it’s your job to keep things in line with that plan and to keep things moving toward those ultimate goals. Your family’s future depends on you.
To achieve those goals, you need initiative. Your plan isn’t going to execute itself. You need to be the driving force behind it, and you need to take the initiative to make it happen. You need to motivate yourself and your family members without micro-managing them. It’s a delicate balance at times, but when you do that, you’re doing what you need to in order to lead them. Once you hit various goals/milestones, everyone will appreciate you pushing so hard to make it happen.
Setting the right example is important to leadership as well. I’ve talked about this a lot in past blog articles. Life will really push your buttons sometimes. You’ll encounter situations that make you extremely frustrated, very angry, and incredibly hurt both emotionally and physically. As HoH and leader of your family, it’s important you remain calm in these situations and set the right example. How would you want your wife to handle herself? How would you advise your kids to handle the situation? Whatever your answers are to those two questions is exactly how you need to conduct yourself when things don’t go your way (and they won’t). That’s not always easy. Anyone can set a good example when life is going smoothly. It’s in those tough moments when your loved ones are watching you most attentively, and it’s important you show them how to conduct themselves. That’s how you lead them and shape their character. You don’t want them picking up any of your bad habits.
Do what you say and say what you mean. It’s a cliche phrase, perhaps, but it applies well when talking about leadership. Do you know any good leaders that consistently failed to follow through on what they said they were going to do? Me neither. Following through is very important. In fact, it’s so important that I wrote a whole article about it.
When it comes to saying what you mean, choose your words carefully. Everyone is listening. They’re listening more attentively than you realize, too. Don’t make empty promises. Be kind, encouraging and supportive. Keep thoughts and words positive. Again, this isn’t always easy in frustrating situations, but thinking before you speak and saying what you mean goes a long way when talking about leading your family. Take a few seconds to think before you speak because saying something impulsively — that you’ll regret — can, and will, really hurt your loved ones.
The qualities I’ve touched on are just a few that I feel are important when talking about leadership. There are several others, of course, and each of us will value certain qualities more than others. Once again, I ask you to think about those you consider to be great leaders and think about what it is about them you admire. Why do you feel those people are great leaders? Take those qualities you find in them and do your best to emulate them. Learn from them, just as your wife and children learn from you.
I’ll leave you with an article I found by doing a Google search. It’s very simple and short, but I think it touches on a lot of good points that will give us all a few things to think about. Click here to check it out.
Strive every day to be better and work hard every day to improve. If you do that, you’ll have success in the domestic discipline lifestyle.