If you’ve been with us the last few weeks, you know we’ve been looking at the 11 leadership principles the US Army employs to best lead their people. We have been dissecting these to see how they could be best used within our families – without coming across like a Drill Sergeant.
During the first week, we covered:
- Set the example
- Know yourself and seek self-improvement
- Be technically and tactically proficient
and the second week, we looked at:
- Keep your people informed
- Develop a sense of responsibility among your people
- Make sound and timely decisions
- Employ your work unit in accordance with its capabilities
That leaves 4 more, by my calculations, as long as we’re not using some “new math”. That being said, let’s get right into the final 4 and see how they can help us lead our families.
- Know your people and look out for their welfare – In a survey I read several years ago, the number one thing most wives wanted from their husbands was security. No, not a personal bodyguard to follow them around all over the place, but just to know that someone was watching out for them and they were being provided for. Only when we actively demonstrate we are truly interested in, and concerned about, our families will we truly have their respect. Respect, contrary to popular belief, can not be demanded. I recently read:
- Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned as a father is that eating a “big piece of humble pie” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m not perfect and sometimes I react to situations first and think second. However, when I take a look at the situation in hindsight and figure out things could have been handled better – AND ADMIT THAT, it usually works out better. Our kids aren’t just going to learn how to react from us – they’re going to look for someone like us when they go off and get married someday. Let’s set them up for success by trying to think first and act second. However, when we don’t (and we won’t always), then let’s be prepared to admit it so they can learn from our actions of humility.
- Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished – I’m a little A.D.D. (A LOT if you ask my wife) which leads to a bit of O.C.D. in order to try and overcome my search for the missing shiny squirrel. This is not easily done and many times, it leads to one of two outcomes. The first is ending up feeling like nobody can achieve the results I’m looking for, so I do certain tasks all by myself and grumble the whole time because I don’t think my 11 year old can do it as good as I could. If it’s not that outcome, then it’s usually just telling them to do the task without ever checking back on them until after everyone’s gone to bed at which point I discover, it really wasn’t done the way I was hoping. HOWEVER – it never fails – when I sit down with them and show them exactly what needs to be done, demonstrate what I’m hoping will get accomplished in the end, and checking in on them once in a while, during the task to see if everything’s going ok, things usually get done as I had hoped and they feel a sense of accomplishment once it’s done. When we trust to our kids to get things accomplished and verify they understand the outcome we’re hoping for and the bar we’ll going to hold them against when they’re done, we may be pleasantly surprised what they can do.
- Train your people as a team – The final principle for this series is also one of the most easiest to apply to the family, but can be the hardest to implement. Train our family as a team? How can that be possible? What sort of team is this referring to? The family unit, when working together, can accomplish huge things. For that reason, my recommendation for achieving this is easy – SPEND TIME TOGETHER! What professional sports team has ever won the Super Bowl, the World Series, or held the Stanley Cup over their heads, by having the head coach allow the team to work out on their own without ever setting foot on the field or ice before game time. The answer is NONE! A winning team has to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They have to realize when one of the team is having an off-day. One way to do this with the family – and I know it seems like it’s in every book or blog about families – sit down and eat dinner together. Talk with one another and ask each other questions. If you don’t know what questions to ask – keep an eye out for the next post – Dinner Time Conversation Starters.
We hope you enjoyed this series and are able to apply some of these principles to your family. If you do, we’d love to hear from you either through a comment below or on the Contact page.