Occasionally Margie and I lead a couples’ workshop that lasts a day and a half. It’s really interesting—you might say, “What does leadership training have to do with couples in a marriage relationship?” It is such a powerful thing, we found out, because as a lot of you know, we define leadership as an influence process. Anytime you’re trying to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of another person, you are engaging in leadership. When you ask people about the most influential people in their lives, they don’t normally mention bosses at work. They talk about their mother, father, grandfather, uncle, or a coach or teacher. There is a lot of life role leadership that goes on, informally, in families and in friendships and all. Leadership in the home is life role leadership. It’s probably the most important leadership role you could ever have.
In our work, you know we say that leadership is a transformational journey starting with self leadership, then moving to one-on-one leadership, then to team leadership, and then to organizational leadership. And as we look at families, it becomes really clear that self leadership really starts with just finding out who you are and whose you are, and getting perspective on your life. Then you move to a marriage relationship, and that’s when you’re trying to influence each other, one on one. Then when kids come along—now we’re talking about team leadership. How do you build a community? How do you get people to recognize that none of us is as smart as all of us, and really create that team environment? And then the organizational leadership of a family would be the extended family. What do you do with your in-laws and outlaws and cousins and that whole thing? That’s something most people don’t think about as a leadership position, and yet in a family, it’s a whole different element. So it’s kind of fascinating. Through our training we realize that these concepts apply at home as much as they do in business. So learning how to be a good leader is good for everyone.