It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Ngina Otiende, she is a writer who loves helping others take charge of their lives. She’s passionate about intentional growth and marriage and wants to ignite the same passion in others. You can pick up her free eBook when you subscribe to her blog, follow her on Twitter and find her on Facebook.
In his post titled Strong marriage equals strong leader, Dan Black shared “…the true measure of success is determined by your home life.”
Contemporary culture wants us to believe that leaders can separate their home life from their public life.
Truth is, how a leader conducts himself behind closed doors (his marriage) says a great deal about his character and person.
Marriage can be one of our greatest teachers. The things we learn at home can impact and enhance our leadership.
My marriage has taught me these four leadership lessons.
1. A leader needs to be led too
One of the things that drew me to my husband (like a magnet!) was his complete submission to authority – both heavenly (Christ) and earthly (pastors, mentors). As a wife, I trust him deeply because I know that he is modeling and fashioning his life and marriage after Christ.
I have seen leaders, for one reason or another, take the road less traveled, literally. They have no authority over their lives; no counsel, no mentors.
I believe that a leader needs to receive in order to give.
To impart order, they must receive order. To influence others, they must first allow themselves to be influenced. To model relationship, they need to be in relationship. You can’t give (at least not for long anyway) that which you don’t have. To stay strong, fresh and filled with life, you must have an inlet and an outlet.
2. Leaders and followers need each other
As a relationship coach, I tell single ladies to “marry a man who dreams their dream”. Marrying someone who is headed to Timbuktu when you are trying to get to Australia is a recipe for trouble.
This is because once married, individual dreams will either bring two people closer or tear them apart.
Leaders and followers connect for a reason. There has to be a common vision, a goal that they want to accomplish together. As a leader, you must connect to the right people. And the right people need to connect to you.
Leadership is not one-sided- my husband doesn’t force me to follow him and neither do I force my husband to lead me. Our vision and love keeps us moving in an unforced rhythm of grace. Leadership cannot be forced. As leaders we need to aim for influence, not management.
3. Conflict doesn’t mean the end of the world
When I was single, I had no idea what good conflict resolution was. I am last born child and for the longest time, grown-up things like “good conflict resolution” eluded me. When I got married, I was hit right between the eyes, by the magnitude of my deficiencies. Over the years I have learned (and continue to learn) to let go of misconceptions and to develop healthy marital habits.
In leadership, conflicts are given. Not everyone will agree with what you think or say or do (and if they do, I don’t know how transparent you/they are!)
Conflict between the leader and led doesn’t mean the end of the journey. It doesn’t mean that one has failed, but it can be an opportunity to learn and grow. The trick lies in knowing how to communicate and learn so that the conflict spurs growth.
John Maxwell says “With the right attitude, rejection (or any other type of challenge for that matter) can bring positive projection” (brackets mine)
The same way conflict can build a couple is the same way that conflict can bring a team together.
4. Life is in the journey, not the destination
My husband and I are highly task oriented individuals. We have learned to be very intentional about our energies and priorities when we are knee-deep in tasks or projects. Money, recognition, accolades and other successes can never replace the blessing and warmth of a strong marriage.
As leaders, we have to keep reminding ourselves that people are more important than process and destination. Sure there are goals to be accomplished, places to go and decisions to be made. But guess who gets the job done, what oils the journey? Relationship. People.
In the book The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley says “Countless millionaires have told me that the journey to wealth is much more satisfying than the destination”
Many years from now, a person may not remember exactly what you said or what they did as a team. But they will remember how the experience made me feel and how it changed their lives. As leaders, we must remember to keep people first.
Question: What leadership lessons have you gleaned from your marriage?