Wholehearted Leadership

Last week, I attended the Global Leadership Summit at a satellite location near me. I couldn’t help but notice that all of the presenters talked about some aspect of the relationship side of leadership. Maybe that was the “filter” I was listening through since that’s my focus, but even so, it doesn’t negate the importance of a leader having relational strength. 

Bill Hybels closed his opening talk with a challenge for leaders to lead well, love well, and lead wholeheartedly. (Not too different from our goal through Abundant Life Coaching to help leaders “lead greatly, love deeply, and live freely.”) He asked if we are leading on the home front, as well as at work, which I took as his way of characterizing “wholeheartedly.” It seems like it should be simple for a leader to lead in the same way at home and at work, right? Simple to say, but not always easy to do.

What stands in the way of leading effectively in both places? Here’s a clue. In the past when I worked as a marketing consultant, Julaine (my wife) would often say that she wished I would treat her as well as I treated one of my clients. (For you, it might be people you work for or with.) You see, I paid attention to my clients and looked for how I could serve them and meet their needs. I asked questions and listened, engaging in two-way communication with them. I checked in with them regularly. I asked for feedback so that I could do a better job for them. I spent time with them. I cared about the outcome of our relationship and wanted it to grow. I didn’t always agree with them, but respected their position and took an interest in them, wanting to know about more than the work at hand. 

I think you get the point. I invested in the client relationship, but I wasn’t making a comparable level of investment in my marriage relationship. I was closer to wholehearted at work, but was more half-hearted at home. I wasn’t aware of how I was showing up at home until Julaine pointed it out, although if I was completely honest with myself, I knew. There was no reason I couldn’t have been wholehearted at home as well. I simply needed to choose to put the effort, time, and energy into my marriage. It’s a simple choice, but requires daily focus, intentionality, and doing the work. Let’s rise to Bill Hybel’s challenge and lead wholeheartedly at work and at home!