The Ultimate Leadership Challenge—it's at home
“A man should never neglect his family for business.” —Walt Disney
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” —Deuteronomy 6:7
The great leadership opportunity
One of the greatest privileges of a father and husband is the opportunity you’ll have in leading your family. At the same time, it’s one of those responsibilities that leaves men feeling inadequate. For many, it’s the fact we lacked a model of leadership in our home of origin or perhaps the fact that the challenges are more complex than we anticipated. In spite of this, there are few things more important than leading your family well. All husbands and fathers are called to lead in both their marriages and family. But what does this mean? And how are we to do it?
And while the media portrays men, fathers, and male leaders as babbling idiots only occasionally stumbling on success.
Three Critical Investments of Family Leadership
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One | Leading yourself is leading your family
Husbands and fathers only lead well when they have paid careful attention to their character. We’re always leading from both our wounds and our wins. Therefore you cannot lead well when you have not addressed both, especially your wounds because they shape who you are and thus impact others in powerful ways. The goal is to address wounds to become a man of virtue and character grounded in and formed by Christ. Your emotional, spiritual, relational and physical well-being determines the force and impact of your leadership. You must learn to lead yourself before you are ever able to influence others, especially your family. Mostly because they know you better than any other person and therefore they make it impossible to hide even small character flaws from. Your life is their model, and they will be following your lead. To lead your family intentionally, you need to have a plan for yourself. Ask yourself the question: “Do I have a plan for my development and growth as a man, husband, and father?” If not, you better get one, because your leadership is only as good as your plan — and subsequently how you work that plan.
Two | A nurturing marriage is leadership
Families are built around relationships, and the most apparent relationship with children is that of their parents. Children pay a great deal of attention to the interactions, emotional connection, and closeness of their mother and father. If you stop to reflect, you know exactly how healthy your parents’ relationship is and how that health, or lack of it, impacted you. Everything you do to nurture your marriage relationship will have an impact on the health of your family as a whole including how you love, honor, respect, listen, and forgive her. So nurture her more than even your children, she is after all your second relationship behind only God, and then watch how this slowly over time impact the force of your leadership.
Three | Investing in your children builds leadership influence
Winston Churchill, the great British leader, had a father who was disconnected from him. In fact, in his father’s dairy had a notation to this effect. “Spent the day fishing with Winston. A day wasted.” I suspect that Winston Churchill spent his life trying to prove his worth to his father.
Never underestimate the power of even simple investments in the life of your kids. While we don’t want to worship our children, we do need to invest in them. Your kids want to know that you love them and investing time in them demonstrates this. We can only lead those with whom we have a relationship, so invested fathers are investing in leadership. And over time the influence of your leadership will grow. This is why Jesus spent so much time with his disciples. Your impact on your children’s’ current and future life will be directly impacted by the investment of your time especially between the ages of 4-16. This short window of time in your life is not something you will ever get back, once the time is spent. Therefore invest it by attending their games, concerts, and events. Be present with them in pursuits that matter to them. Engage casually with them, take them for one-on-one dinners, ask them for prayer requests and pray for them, extend grace to them when needed, show them how to do something new, build something, work on a car with them, or have a significant talk with them on a controversial topic. From time to time ask them their “high and low of the day” and discover their challenges and disappointments. And then finally share your experiences with them, especially your failures. As you do these, you’ll watch as they will catch your values, beliefs, and faith. It may not manifest instantly, but its impact will be felt in the future. All of this translates into leadership in your home.
Vince Miller is a speaker, author, and mentor to men. He is an authentic and transparent leader who loves to communicate to audiences on the topics of mentorship, fathering, leadership and manhood. He has authored 16 books and small group curriculum for men and is the primary content creator of all Resolute materials. Contact Vince Miller here. His newest book is Thirty Virtues That Build A Man.