Friday, February 8, 2013

The Husband As Boss

Lori sometimes refers to the husband as “the Boss” in her posts to make the point the husband should be respected as the leader of his home. Her idea comes from the clear teachings of scripture which repeatedly say that wives are to “submit” to their husbands, respect their husbands, and “be subject to” or obey their husbands. The husband is given by God the role of the head of the family.

I decided to do a brief comparison as to how I am “the boss” at work and how I am “the boss” at home. I run a large orthodontic practice with 23 team members and two doctors.

As a boss at work I ~

*Set the vision, goals and standards for the business and for each job.
*Establish specific roles of each team member with appropriate leadership positions.
*Review each team member and make suggestions for areas of improvement.
*Give out praise and appreciation, especially recognizing
extra efforts and contributions to the team.
*Whenever I hear of or see of a problem I jump in with a “fix it” attitude,
not playing “the blame game.”
*When the first conversation does not fix it, my team members know
they will hear it again from me.
*When a consistent pattern of misbehavior or substandard performance is
identified I have a special conference with the deficient team member
and ask her how I can help change the behavior.
*I have never yelled at any employee or belittled them or shown disgust. No matter what they do, my job is to create a harmonious, well-functioning team where each team member feels a part of the team and wants to contribute their very best to please the boss and to participate in the rewards of a well run enterprise that serves the needs of the community.
*I try to make my team members feel as if I am one of them... equal as persons, but still their leader on the job.

My main method of leadership is talking things out.
Talking and communicating are not the most efficient ways to lead, but they ultimately are the most effective. The boss that barks out commands leads by fear, whereas the leader who communicates goals and standards effectively is growing his team by teaching them not so much what they should be doing, but what they should be thinking. It is thinking right that leads to right behavior, so the leader must find the lies that the employee is telling themselves and help them replace the lie with the truth. 

Being a great leader takes time to understand each employee, their needs, their desires, their dreams and goals. The more that the leader can match up the likes and dislikes of the employee with the job, and with their individual goals, the more the team member will willingly follow to get their perceived needs met within the job.

My employees are my equal in every way, except that I am their leader. My leadership style is to serve them in such a way that we can run a highly successful business where we can all be proud of the work we do, be a part of a work family.

I am not above allowing my team members to tell me when I am wrong, and sometimes I agree with them, and apologize for something I said or did, perhaps a misunderstanding. I know that keeping the peace and a great relationship with each team member is the only way that we can all be happy and successful.

I doubt that there needs to be much translation for the reader to understand what it means to be a great husband/leader. Two bosses are impossible in that at some point one has to make a final decision or the family gets paralyzed. Interestingly, one of the first decisions I made was to appoint an Operations Manager who would function in the day to day decisions as the “on-site boss.” Most decisions made in the office are her idea, or the idea of a team member, but I always get the final say on management issues.

Lori is free to run all of the day to day operations and even set most of the standards and goals to create a healthy, happy family.  I express my desires from time to time and expect that she will want to please me and follow through on them. If she does not agree, or wants something different, I invite her to communicate clearly with me what she feels is best. Ultimately, I as the leader of the family want very little control and much less to be controlling, but I do desire to be respected as the leader of our home.

Here is what I think lies at the heart of the successful marriage, that no matter what the disagreement, no matter how much something is communicated, there will be times that husband and wife disagree. It is at those few points of disagreement that God votes with the husband, whether he is right or wrong, and says that the wife is to submit. Yes, the husband is to be a loving team player who does not make his wife feel like he is “the boss,” and the idea of being the boss should be so far from being bossy, but instead loving Christlike servant leadership.

What most godly Christian men crave from their wives is respect and their willingness that when there is a disagreement that cannot be resolved with good communications, she allow her man to have the final say, to let him lead, to let him be the leader.

I know Lori’s concern in posting will be with the wife who says, “But my husband is not a benevolent leader, he is a bad boss. How can I follow him or allow him to have the final say?”

The beauty of God’s design is that just like a great leader develops those under him/her into being great team players, so too can the loving submissive wife gently lead her husband by her "chaste and godly behavior" and her "quiet and gentle spirit." This respect allows the Spirit to move within him to show Christlike love and servant leadership. 

Actually, women seem to have more of an ability to help make their husbands great leaders than a man has of turning his difficult wife into a respectful, submissive wife. 

The best discovery a Christian man can find to unlock his disagreeable wife is the ability to smile at his wife, give her a big hug, and as he holds her tight he whispers in her ear, “I love you. But we are going to do it my way. I hope you understand that although we significantly disagree on this important issue,  God wants me to lead. I will continue to think about what you want, and I may change my mind, but for now, I know you want me to be the leader of our family and our relationship, so please, let me be right on this.”

It is remarkable to watch a godly wife, and often a not so godly wife, respond properly when a husband takes leadership without fighting about it.  Even though many wives want their own way to insure that their perceived needs are met, they also secretly crave the idea of their man gently, yet firmly, standing up for what he believes is the right thing.

Even if her husband may be wrong, God cannot work effectively to make him into a great family leader if his co-leader is not supportive of his position with the respect and following that his role demands to get the job done well.  There can be no leader without someone who follows.

Husbands, listen to your wife and try to give them everything that makes no difference, but on things you feel strongly about, step up and lead for the good of the family and health of your marriage. There is no bigger turn on for most men than to know their ideas and desires are respected and honored by their wife. Love and respect really do work to build a successful marriage that is pleasing to God, and submission gets to the heart of trust and intimacy in a marriage, just as it does in our relationship with God.

by Ken