Tag Archives: leadership

Real Men aren’t Like TV Dads—How To Be a Good Family Leader

I recently talked at a men’s group about marriage and family leadership. We discussed the dads we usually see on TV. They’re inept, unorganized, forgetful, immature, and easy to make fun of. The moms are usually in charge of the family and very bright, not to mention gorgeous and well dressed. And the kids are terribly cute and funny and have all the answers before they leave grade school.

Thankfully, most real men aren’t like those we see on TV. Most of the men I know are hard-working, intelligent, and try to get as much time with their families as they can. These real men (sometimes) cook dinner and scrub floors, change diapers and bring home the bacon. And the best of them provide excellent family leadership as well.

During my talk, some of the guys said their wives don’t always give them a voice, let alone allow them to make decisions. This is fairly common in our modern world in which women learn to multitask and make many decisions at work. We may forget that men want to be respected and appreciated. They want to feel like men, not little boys who are told what to do. So if you’re thinking that your husband needs to be a better leader, ask yourself if you have prevented him from taking that role. Do your best to encourage and support him, rather than nagging or complaining.

What does it mean to be a family leader?

Leaders are responsible for the wellbeing of their family/unit/group. Being a good leader means having a servant mentality—being willing to help without being asked and do whatever is needed for the good of the family and its members. Second, it means being aware of the direction the family is taking and being willing and able to redirect course if needed. Third, a leader gets input from everyone involved and is willing to make tough decisions.

A strong leader helps develop a common vision and a plan for achieving that vision. Everyone in the family should participate in this process. Other important skills include budgeting, ability to deal with change, encouraging/supporting everyone in the family, and developing the team (family members). Here’s a list from CNN of 23 traits of good leaders that is a great start if you want to assess your own leadership qualities or develop your leadership skills. It mentions things like having confidence, caring for others, having integrity and humility.

My thinking about family leadership is of course colored by my own experience with my husband who has always had strong leadership skills both at home and at work. He does well to be a consensus builder and seek out input. He researches thoroughly and is not afraid to make a decision. He models service to others and has strong financial leadership. He spends time with other mature men who support him, and vice versa. He is a spiritual leader in our family, leading prayer and character lessons for the kids. (You might think kids would find this dull, but there are so many resources to make it fun. Our kids remind us that it’s time to do another. ) He encourages each family member’s development of skills and hobbies and cheers us on. He always displays honesty and hard work. And one of his more important leadership traits is that he admits when he is wrong. We are much more willing to listen to a leader who admits he has faults and failings, aren’t we?

Delegation is a skill not to be ignored. Being a leader does not mean that person is in charge of everything. A husband who is weak at finances may do much better with the wife at the helm of the family’s pocketbook. A tech-savvy teen may be just the person to make a decision about the family’s computer needs. A loving husband respects his wife as his equal, and a family leader makes the most of each person’s contributions.

Being a leader doesn’t mean ordering other people around or being a control freak. I grew up in a house like that, and it wasn’t fun, nor was it productive.

What does being a family leader mean to you? Husbands, how do you show loving leadership? Wives, how does your husband best display family leadership? Does media’s portrayal of dads/husbands affect your view of how they should act?

Lori Lowe is the founder of Marriage Gems and author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com.

Photo by digitalart courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

How to Get/Be a Real Man in Your Marriage

If you entered your marriage telling your husband what shirt to wear, what job he should apply for and how to spend his free time, you may now be experiencing the down side to that arrangement. I hear mutterings from many wives that their husbands are not leaders in their homes. Some husbands let their wives plan all the events, do all the entertaining and manage the household schedule. Maybe the husband helps with home maintenance, but only when he’s told to. Maybe the husband isn’t good with money, so the wife has taken that on as well, telling her spouse when he can spend money and how much.

Admittedly, the motive is not negative. We want to control our busy lives more efficiently, and we women are good a multitasking and managing our time. But it becomes a trap when we become more like a mother to our husbands than a wife, and we don’t allow them to act or feel like a man.

Someone who is always told what to do will likely stop taking initiative. So he may become stagnant in his life and role as father or husband. He may not even feel very manly in the bedroom. One consequence is he may look to another woman who makes him feel like a man and who looks up to him for the positive qualities he embodies. In fact, the first woman who shows him this kind of attention will probably spark something in him he thought was dead.

Part of the problem is that we as a culture have done a poor job of defining what a real man is, how to be one and how to value one. As parents it is our sacred duty to teach our young boys what it means to be a real man and a good husband and father—a loving protector, a leader who helps guide the family toward a common goal. I’m all for equal rights for women and believe women’s opinions should be equally valued. I also believe that a loving man who is allowed to use his leadership skills will blossom in his family and will be a treasure for his community.

Men are frequently valued for their leadership skills at work. When they are allowed to use these skills in their homes and communities, I believe we will see the family and the community blossoming. Boys need to be taught that leading does not mean controlling. It means sacrificing and loving, showing a positive example, teaching and encouraging, supporting and being physically and emotionally present. These qualities are what every woman wants in a husband. So wives, encourage your husbands in this area, and build them up with positive feedback. When we as wives pretend our husbands can’t take proper care of the children, prepare a meal or handle household tasks, we are devaluing them. Spouses each need to show appreciation for the other’s contributions both inside and outside the home.

Men: Do you feel like you have the skills to be a leader in your home and community? If not, can you spend more time with a man whom you admire for these skills? How do you see your role as a lover, leader and protector of women and children in your life? How do you evaluate and provide for the needs of your family—emotionally, physically and spiritually?

Women: Do you value it and react positively when your man shows initiative and leadership, or do you value control a little too much? Does your husband make any decisions in your home? Is his opinion valued? What qualities do you really admire in your man? Tell him today!