The Dangers of Meddling

“I can do whatever I want- I’m the boss!”

Have you heard this before?  This is a true statement for the most part.  If you are the boss you can do whatever you want.  But is it healthy?  Is it the right thing to do?  Will it do more harm than good?

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Meddle: 1. to become involved in the activities and concerns of other people when your involvement is not wanted.  

               2.  to change or handle something in a way that is unwanted or harmful

When you think of meddling you probably think of a mother-in-law giving advice on child rearing or your father lecturing you about your personal finances.  Meddling is not a typical way to describe a management and leadership problem, but I believe that meddling is much more common in business than you might think.  And- I believe that it can be very damaging.

When I typically visit one of our construction sites I will call ahead and talk to the Project Superintendent and give him a heads up that I am on my way to the site.  This is a call out of courtesy and respect.  I am not really obligated to call them- I out rank them.  Others like to show up unannounced to do a “stealth” visit.  I really fail to see a good reason to come unannounced.

The reason I call is that I believe that I am going out on their project site.  Yes- I outrank them, but we have put them in charge of the site.  It’s their domain.  Their responsibility.  Even though I am a company executive, out of respect and to align with responsibilities, I feel that I need to notify them and ask to be out on “their site”.

I believe this theory holds true with most areas of management.  If you put someone in charge of a particular area, then you need to respect their authority and stay out of the day-to-day operation.  You hired this person for a reason and you have given them specific duties.  There is a chain of command for a reason.  If you fail to respect the responsibilities and you drift in and out of issues as the wind blows it can be very damaging.  Here are a few of the problems that can develop:

  1. Undermining Authority: By getting involved in the day-to-day activities, you are blurring the lines of authority.  This adds a layer of confusion to who is really in charge.  The employee will be able to take the path of least resistance.  If you are trying to discipline an employee or work out a particular strategy, your efforts can be completely destroyed by a meddler.
  2. Mixed Messages: By getting involved, you will invariably be sending a different message to the employee.  It is extremely unlikely that your message will be identical to the manager who is their direct report.  If you follow the chain of command, the employee will hear only one voice and this will eliminate confusion.
  3. If Dad Says No- Go Ask Mom: We all know this tactic used by children to get what they want.  This also occurs in management.  If you meddle, you are setting yourself or your manager up to be manipulated.  By getting involved, you have added an additional person to the equation and you may be used to wiggle out of a responsibility.
  4. Nice Guy: If you are the big boss and you want everyone to like you, it will be very difficult for your manager to keep the employee focused on areas of improvement.
  5. Turns Down The Volume: If you are meddling and constantly giving direction instead of following the chain of command then the voice of the manager becomes secondary.  Due to your position, the meddler’s message will always drown out the voice of the manager.  Their voice becomes secondary.
  6. Mr/Ms Everything: You have now set yourself up to be involved in everything.  You will now field questions and problems that you really don’t want to deal with.  You can’t get away.  You can’t take a vacation without anxiety.  You loose your trust in your managers.

These are just a few examples of the damage that can occur when you neglect to follow the lines of authority.

You believe that you are better.

You just can’t stay out of things.

You can’t trust anyone to get it right.

You have to get involved in everything.

You want everyone to rely on you.

You have no real confidence in your managers.

Your opinion is the only one that really counts.

You may be telling yourself that you are just “helping out”.  Well, if that’s the case, then ask them if they really want your help.  Remember, if you truly want to help and be productive, then you need to take complete control of the issue and follow it through to the end.  You can’t have one foot in and one foot out.  You can’t bail out when it’s not fun anymore.

Be very careful.  Being a meddler is addictive. When you are involved in everything and you drift in and out of things responsibility suffers.  Who really has the ball?  Should you really carry everything?  Push everything back through the chain of command.  It’s there for a reason.

Empower your managers.  Support them.  And, most importantly, stay out of their business!

So what do you think?  Have you witnessed this behavior before?  Do you believe that you are entitled to do whatever you want when you are the boss?  Click on “Leave A Comment” and tell me what you think! 

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6 Ways to Build a Culture of Hard Work

I was picking up mulch that was on sale at Home Depot last weekend and a gray haired man approached my truck for my order.  I told him forty bags and I asked him, “So where are the youngsters?”  He was obviously older and generally they have a cadre of young men who load mulch during these sale events.  He responded, “They don’t know how to work.  They are around here somewhere.  You get me instead.”  I got out of my truck and helped him load my truck.

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As I considered his comments, I thought about our current societal view of work.  Unfortunately, I truly believe we no longer honor hard work.

We celebrate the folks who game the system.

We most admire those who work less and get paid more.

We look at those who work hard as weak or stupid.

My work experience started on the construction site.  It was hard work- hot, dirty, and physically demanding.  I worked around other guys that were much older than me and had been in the trades for many years.  There were always personalities and characters on the crews.  Lots of laughter, stories and practical jokes.  These guys knew how to do a tough job and still have fun.  And the fun made the time go quickly.  They also cared about me.  They took me under their wing and taught me how to do the work with quality and efficiency.

As years went by I began to supervise the new generation of workers.  Much of the laughter went away.  They questioned everything.  They did not want to learn or share their experience.  They saw the work as temporary.  They were on their way to something more important, this was just for now.  Clock watchers were everywhere, counting down the time to go home.  Work was not really fun working with these guys.

So how do we bring the fun back?  How can we bring honor back for hard work?  Here are some ideas:

Teach your kids how to work!  The worst thing you can do for your kids is to do everything for them.  Teach them to work.  My father taught me about work at a very young age.  I am so grateful for this lesson.  I learned how to push my body and how to accomplish something that looks impossible.  The worst thing you can do for your kids is to put them on a pedestal.  Make them work.  Give them responsibilities.  Hold them accountable.  If you model laziness for them, whining, and complaining, well, you know what you will get!

Recognize hard work!  When you see someone who is working exceptionally hard and doing a great job, make sure that you thank them for their efforts.  Nothing is more deflating then to bust your butt and not feel appreciated.  Take the time to thank or recognition someone for doing a quality job. Send them note of appreciation.  Comment about their hard work in front of their friends, family or coworkers.

Reward the extra effort!  Give the person who works hard an extra reward.  This is crucial in creating an environment that promotes hard work.  Give them a bonus, special privileges, award, or extra status.  Unfortunately, we often fail to provide incentives, which, has the effect of lowering output to the minimum requirement.  What you are doing is racing downward to the lowest common denominator.  Don’t be afraid to single someone out as a superior worker.  We have become a society that is obsessed with fairness.  I welcome the opportunity to tell anyone why I singled out a particularly great worker.  Don’t fear the conflict.  Celebrate the extra effort!

Compensate based on production!  Base pay on output whenever it is possible.  Any time you can get away from basing payment on time you will benefit.  Clearly making time the measure for compensation, automatically, creates a clock watcher.  Add incentives for production.  Let top producers leave early or have added flexibility so they rewarded for extra effort.

Dump the dead wood!  If you have workers who are skating along, have a bad attitude and putting forth a poor effort, send them home.  They are a cancer to a hard working crew.  They will pull everyone down.  You may be fooling yourself thinking that they will get better.  You cannot risk damaging your entire group due to one person’s lack of work ethic.

Have fun!  Work does not have to be a bad thing.  Seek out creative ways to have fun at work or ways to bind your team closer together.  Small things can have a big impact.  I get reminded of fun, team building  things that we have done at work years later that I have long since forgotten.  Foster an environment of fun at work.  We get too serious sometimes.  Break up the monotony with fun activities.

We need to honor hard work and model it for those around us.  Hard work is what  built this country and will continue to elevate our standard of living.  Celebrate the hard workers and the craftsmen that make things made in this country the best in the world.

Coming home dirty and tired is not being stupid.  You are honoring your work.  You are a producer and contributor.  You are my hero!

So what do you think?  Are you fostering an environment of hard work or just struggling with minimum standards.  Are you honoring hard work?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

The Love Affair

Oh, how I love you… 

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The way you make me feel good when I feel like I’m all alone. 

You tell me little things that build me up.

The way you always warm my heart.

You are so charming, so witty, so amazing!

Sometimes you bring three people in, all at the same time.

With all of them at once telling me, in their own way, just how special I am.

I take you wherever I go.  I feel naked when you are not there.

Anytime I can steal a minute, I go for you. I can be very sneaky, because you make me feel so good. 

I find myself staring at you, waiting for the reply.  The reply that makes my heart jump.

You go wherever I go.  You never fail to keep me locked in our love affair.

I even take you to bed with me.  My spouse lying next to me, but my focus is on you.

When I hear you call me, I always respond.  You are on top even when I’m busy doing something else.

All day long, morning to night I go for you, even when I’m driving.

I can’t stay away.  I’ve tried many times to break way, but I always come back to you. 

You have a hold on me.

I don’t know what I would do if you were gone.  I would be such a mess.

You touch me like no one else.  You fill my insecurity.  You make me feel needed and loved.

I will always love you…

OK- so who is the object of the love affair here?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and give me your answer!

Rich or Poor?

I just returned from a mission trip to Costa Rica.  This was my fifth trip to Costa Rica.  The country is full of breathtaking natural beauty.  Most folks visit Costa Rica to enjoy this beauty.  Many head to the Pacific coast to a resort, maybe surf, or enjoy the excellent offshore fishing.

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On our trip, we went to the very poor barrios surrounding San Jose in the central valley.  These areas are filled with tin covered shacks packed together on the hillside.  VERY, VERY, tough living conditions.  Most of these neighborhoods are squatter communities.  Very little in sanitation and services that we have come to expect here in the States.  It is a bit of a sensory overload visiting these barrios- lots or colors, sounds, smells and movement.  Children and dogs everywhere.  Sounds of life.  Colors cobbled together in scraps of tin and salvaged doors and building materials.

The thing that has always amazed me about Costa Rica is that the Costa Rican’s are generally very happy people.  Yes, there is strife and hardship in the poor barrios, yet even there, you will see smiles, laughter and life.  If we subjected the average American to the conditions in Costa Rica they would be miserable.

Complaining, heads down, depression.

So who is really poor?  We seem to equate the word “poor” to money.  We think that money will solve our problems.  Money can make us happy.  Right?

Well, I got news for you.  I have seen the Costa Rican’s lifestyle first hand and I believe they may actually be the rich ones.  In the US, we are slaves to our lifestyle.  We struggle to gather and save.  We strive to buy the best things.  We work ourselves to death- really– in order to sustain our wealthy lifestyle.

Results: pain, suffering, disease- AND- complaining, heads down, depression.

So how are the Costa Rican’s rich?  What makes them rich without the money. Here are a few observations:

They value their families!  We talk about having close family relationships but the Costa Rican’s do it on steroids.  Most live in the same areas their whole life.  In the US, we are transient.  We move away from our families, often, again to make more money.  Costa Rican’s care for each other when times are tough.  In the US, we often let the government take care of our families.  In Costa Rica it is common to have extended families living in the same household.  They understand what it means to be a family and to take care of our own.

They live slower!  In Costa Rica things get done when they get done.  If it takes longer they are OK with it.  This has been frustrating for me in the past working on construction project in Costa.  They don’t fret over the time.  We struggle so hard to pack it all in.  In Costa Rica, there is alway mañana (tomorrow).

They have strong community!  In even the poorest areas, the Costa Rican’s know their neighbors and understand the power of living in community together.  They take the time to stop and greet their neighbors.  They watch out for their neighbors children.  They help each other when they are sick.  In the US, most folks don’t even know their neighbors!

They let you in!  We are so guarded.  We are cautious to let anyone into our lives.  Costa Rican’s invite you into their house.  They want you to sit down and they will often bring you a drink or some food.  They are not worried about whether their house is messy or if they have something really impressive to share.  They share what they have.  They welcome in strangers.  They want you to sit down and relax.

They walk!  The streets are filled with life with sidewalks filled with people walking.  Walking leads to interaction with others.  In the ten years or so that I have been visiting Costa Rica, car ownership has grown significantly, yet walking remains a way of life.  Walking up and down mountainous steep paths and walking to shopping and visiting friends is the natural order of things.  I am sure that this exercise contributes to the longevity that Costa Rican’s enjoy.  Living a life that extends well into their 90s is not uncommon.

So my question again- are we really rich?  Seems like the things that we gather and our lifestyle may be more of a hindrance than a benefit.

Can we slow down?  

Can we dump the stuff that we end up serving?  

Can we take the time to develop community?

I’m not sure that we can go back-completely.  The genie is out of the bottle.  I can even see Costa Rica changing as we bring them added wealth and raise the expectations.  I pray that they can hold on to riches that they have!

So who is really living the rich life?  Seems like we have a lot to learn from our friends in Costa Rica!

So what do you think?  Are we as rich as we think we are?  Have you noticed the difference when you visit other cultures?  Click on “Leave a Comment” and tell me what you think!

 

Can Your Weakness Be Your Strength?

This past year we engaged a behavioral consultant (Dr. Charles Coker- link to his website HERE) at our office to develop personality profiles to help us understand each other better.  This process has been a real eye opener and has resulted in significant self-realization for our team and has helped us to really know each other and how we are wired differently.  I have been amazed at how this process has helped unify our group.  It’s like advancing the clock ahead several years!  What I’ve realized is that we often misread each other.  The reality is that we all see the world through a different lens.  It’s really fascinating stuff!

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My personality profile was no a big surprise for me.  I have a strong desire to be organized, orderly, successful, follow the rules, and put others first.  I have very strong empathy for others.  Dr. Coker called it a servant leader profile (again no real surprise to me).  However, Dr. Coker cautioned me that my profile makes me susceptible to being taken advantage of, and not holding others accountable.

I think the classic leader profile is a driver.  A leader is perceived as “strong” when they push hard and take no prisoners.  They know what they want and they figure out a way to get it.  They focus only on results.  They may leave wreckage in the road, but they get there.  The ends justify the means.

I also believe that the typical servant leader profile may be viewed as weak leader.  A person who cares about others first and may take an entirely different route to get to the finish line.  A person who may motivate and finesse instead of confront and order.  A person who is concerned about collateral damage.  A person who knows that life continues after the goal is reached.  Is this really a weak leader?

How can you put others first and still be an effective leader?  Is this leading from behind?  Are you weak when you care about others?  Can your perceived weakness actually be your strength?

I think it can.  Remember, life is not a single battle or accomplishment.  You may make it to the finish line using the whip, but they will remember how they were treated, and next time they may not respond.  Eventually, the horse may throw you off!  If your team trusts you and you can help them visualize the goal, they will march with you to the ends of the earth.  They will accomplish the extraordinary.  I’ve experienced this first hand!

So if I’m seen as weak or soft, I am OK with it.  I still believe in myself, but I truly believe in my team.  I care for each of them.  They will always come first.  I cannot separate the goal from the team.  They will always be my focus.  They will always be my strength!

So what do you think?  Do you believe that caring about others is a weakness?  Can it hinder your progress?  Click on “comments” and let me know what you think!

5 Ways That Processes Protect You from Losing!

Years ago, I coached boys and girls middle school basketball.  We would run structured offenses and defenses and set plays that we practiced for hours over and over again.  Girls, for the most part, ran the offenses with surgical precision.  Boys, on the other hand, typically were sloppier.   It took time for me to get “buy in” from them- to see that the plays really worked and the power in following the rules of the offense.  See, most of the boys felt they were already basketball stars, so when they had an open shot, they took it.  Three point line, even further!  We worked hard to get them to make the extra pass and get the lay-up or easy inside shot instead of taking the long shot from the outside hoping that it goes in.

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I remember calling for time out during the games when the boys would get out of the offense over and over again.  I would tell them if they continued to freelance outside of the offense and play “streetball” that I could not help them win the game.  They were on their own.  I couldn’t tell what the defense was doing or how to attack the other team’s weakness when they were out of the order of the offense.  They might win or they might not.  The only thing I knew was that I couldn’t help them. 

I became a spectator, instead of a coach.

Anything could happen and all I could do is watch.

The same is true with business processes.  As you may have guessed, I am a big believer in solid business processes.  Following a structured process will keep you out of trouble and give you dependable results.  In the construction business, we follow strict processes in most areas.  We have written processes and procedures to guide our projects and what we do as a company.  Processes provide the following advantages and protections:

Filters out Most Common Pitfalls:  A good set of processes and procedures will help to avoid most common problems and issues.  The design of the process forces you to think through the needed steps and formulate a plan that addresses all of the common problems.

Plug and Play:  Solid processes allow you to easily switch up personnel.  If all of your work is accomplished in the same manner, you can move personnel from one project to another and they can pick up the work without loosing a beat.  You can use your bench!

You Can Watch The Weak Areas:  Strong processes will identify areas of weakness where you need to place your focus and resources.  Instead of watching everything, you can concentrate on the areas of weakness and let the process do the work on the majority of the work.

They Give You Power:  If you follow the prescribed process then you have the power of the entire company behind you.  You are not on your own.  If the process does not provide an acceptable result then the issue is the process, not you or your efforts.  Failing to use the process puts you on your own, without support.  You are playing streetball!

Provide Expected Steps and Results:  With structured processes you never have to question what is next.  You follow the plan to the finish.  At every step you know where you are and where you are going.  The process is familiar.  You do it over and over again.  You notice problems.  You make changes.  You are a coach not a spectator!

Don’t overlook structured processes as a method for improving your business.  Every part of your business process should be examined and documented.  I have had great results through the years making the effort to solidify our construction and management processes.  If we make a mistake it costs us big!  We rely on systems and processes to protect us. 

Standardizing processes and procedures will make a powerful impact on your business.  Get in the game!  Guide your team and stop being a spectator.  You will see that, with strong processes, everyone is a winner!

So what do you think?  Do you have a time when processes protected you?  Press “leave a comment” and let me know what you think!

 

The Shifting Keys

Funny how things change. You can be so sure of something, and over time, your views can be changed to something vastly different. It’s crazy. Like shifting sand.

 

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When I was young and just entering college, I was convinced that the secret to success was knowledge. If I could just absorb a vast amount of information, I would be valuable and successful. Smart people will always be in the lead, right?

I was sure that the key was- What you know!

So I studied hard, made good grades, and soaked up as much information as possible. You see, I wanted to know everything. I wanted to be equipped to join every conversation and have the ability to contribute a practical solution to any problem. I wanted to be the man with the answers! This would be my path the success.

As I progressed in my career, I watched others in my field advance due to networking and through connecting with groups and organizations. I observed that if you knew the right person, it would be a huge career accelerator. Just knowing that person was a door opener.

I was sure that the key was- Who you know!

So I worked hard to join groups and organizations in my industry. If my name is plastered everywhere, then I will have a great chance to be included in a new project or opportunity. I increased my address book to several thousand persons. I wanted to be a person that was known. I was sure that this was the key to being successful.

As I have gained years, I have realized that, while both of these items are very important, I believe there is something that is even more critical. And this truth cuts through everything we do in life. It is the connector. The glue that makes things work.  It holds everything together.

The key is- How you know someone!

This may sound a bit awkward, but here is the truth: Your relationships will be your mark of success. How you have connected with people on a deeper level. How you have loved and how you are loved. How you are able to meet someone where they are. How you can communicate how you feel about what you are trying to accomplish. How you make the other person feel.

I have watched and admired people through the years that truly get this. They have a way to quickly engage. You want to be around them. They may not have the knowledge or the network, yet they touch you in a deep way. They inspire. They lift you up. They make you feel valuable.

So how do you get there?  Some ways to strengthen these skills:

Be Positive- Always, always, always stay positive. If life is beating you up, find your strength to get through it. Showing you pain and frustration will not help the situation.  Dwell in the positive!  Find the silver lining, there is always something good if you look hard enough.

Smile- Use your greatest tool to engage with others, your smile. Smile often and to everyone. A sincere smile melts away insecurities and breaks down barriers.

Serve- Serve others. Put others first. Be sensitive to what is going on around you and take advantage of opportunities to help others.  Get your focus off of yourself.

Communication Skills- Take every opportunity to increase your skills as a speaker, writer, and instructor. Life is about getting your point across to others. In order to engage and inspire, you must have the skills to present your idea in a clear and compelling way.

Eye Contact- Make sure that your eyes connect in conversation. If you have a habit of looking away practice until this habit goes away. Looking away makes the other person feel like you are not being genuine and honest.

Ask Questions- Ask questions to show interest in the other person’s life. Questions are the secret to unlocking someone’s true identity. Through questions, you will find out what they are really about and you will be able to connect with them in a deeper way. This is also a skill that needs to be practiced and learned.

So graduate, if you are thinking that the general education classes are a waste, I am telling you that you are dead wrong. The liberal arts, communication, and writing classes are essential. Don’t take them lightly. Learn and practice these skills! Learn to really connect with others. Learn to be persuasive and inspiring. This is where you will find success. This will make all the difference.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

So what to do you think? What is you definition of success? What would you add #ifIWere22 again? Click on “comments” and let me know what you think!

Smile Power

My daughter was born with a smile on her face.  She was, and still is, always smiling.  When she was a baby we would get comments about what a happy little girl she was.  Her smile was contagious and helped her make friends quickly.  When our kids were young we would frequently go camping and, before I could get the camper set up, she would be asking me to unload her bike as she already had found a friend.  In like five minutes.  Her smile continues to be big part of who she is.

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I tend to go in the other direction.  My natural look is to sport a serious face.  This may sound weird to some, but I actually have to remind myself to smile, especially when I meet new people.  My wife has had to field comments like “Is he angry.”  And, “I don’t think he likes me very much.”  Comments that are not at all flattering.

I used to think that it was OK.  I am who I am, right?  I’m just focused.  They just need to get over it.  But I have come to realize that it’s not right.  I shouldn’t make people feel uncomfortable when all I need to do is smile more and be a bit more engaging.  Smile.  Seems simple right?

I have come to realize that there is real power in a smile.  Last week I was at the airport toting my bag and backpack and surveying the perfect spacing of seating in the boarding area.  As I walked down an aisle, a woman looked up from her phone and eyes meeting gave me a big smile.  A simple, friendly, warm smile.  The airport is not always a very “smiley” place so it really caught me off guard a bit.  I smiled back and continued my search for a seat.  Her smile was a little “pick me up” and a moment to refocus.  Or maybe even unfocus?

Smiling has power.  Scientists have concluded that smiling people actually live longer, have better marriages, are more successful in business, win elections, and have greater influence than the general population.

Smiling works.  It has a way of disengaging tense circumstances.  It is a powerful, yet silent, introduction.  It builds trust.  It communicates peace and contentment.  Are you using your smile?  Unlike other leadership tools, it’s always ready and available.

My father always had a smile on his face.  I don’t know anyone that didn’t like my Dad.  He was always lighthearted and positive.  How do you want to be remembered?  Serious and focused?  Or smiling?  I know which one I would choose!

So what do you think?  Click “Like” if you agree!  Do you have a “smiler” in your life?  Click “Leave A Comment” and let us hear your story! 

 

Wounded Warriors

Life is full of pain.  As leaders, wherever we are, we must learn to help those that are hurting.  A lost loved one, a break-up, financial loss, tough diagnosis.  We will all face some really bad news and we will also be in a position to help someone who is suffering.  So what do you do when you are hit with helping someone who is hurting?  I think you can look at it a bit like triage for a battlefield wound.

Africa 2009- Sunset on the Zambezi River

Africa 2009- Sunset on the Zambezi River

Assess the wound:  The depth of the situation and the condition of the person that is suffering needs to be considered carefully.  Is this something that I can help with?  Sometimes the best way to help is to simply listen.  Fight the urge to have all the answers or give advice until you are sure they are ready and you really know the facts.  Job’s friends sat with him for seven days and seven nights before saying even  one word to him.  Merely being present and providing comfort is often all you need to do.

Stop the bleeding:  If you have the ability to intercede in a practical way in the situation, then block off the thing that is causing the immediate pain.  This may be offering help to get out of the situation that they are in.  This might be a medical reference, financial help, a friend who has walked the same path before.  Sometimes the wound will not be immediately repairable and it will continue to bleed.  Be encouraged that just being there provides wound dressing and provides your friend with strength to continue.

Move them:  Getting a new perspective or location can help in getting away from a bad situation.  Think of ways you can improve their perspective.  Get them involved in new activities.  Help them change their daily rituals and habits.  Find something new that will open their eyes to other things so they will stop focusing on the past and the pain.

Operating Room:  If the situation is truly serious, get them to the experts.  Don’t attempt to fix deeply rooted or potentially dangerous problems on your own.   Realize and admit that you are over your head.  Giving bad advice can actually be more damaging than the original wound.  Hand it off to an expert.

Most importantly pray!  Pray that the Lord would bring healing and restoration.  Pray with them.  Regardless of their level of faith, the vast majority of people will accept prayer and the act of prayer will help to build their faith in times when things seem to be falling apart.  The reassurance that the Lord is always there and loves them completely is an amazing comfort in a tough situation.

Pain will always be a part of life.  We must be ready to serve those who are hurting.  You don’t always need the answers.  Realize that being in a painful situation is often a very lonely place.  People will naturally avoid getting involved in painful situations, sometimes out of fear.  Just providing an ear to listen and companionship is often enough.  Comfort them.  Let them know that they are not alone.  Reach out- they need you!

Why is it so lonely when you are hurting?  Have you had circumstances where you wish you would have become involved?  Click on Comments and tell me your story!

Sour Cream

Bill is driving home from work when he gets a text from his wife Karen.  The text says- “Pick me up some sour cream on your way home- making Mom’s frosting for our dinner party tonight”.  Bill stops at the grocery store and hits the dairy aisle.  He reaches the sour cream and reviews things.  Humm…Regular, low fat or fat-free?  He knows that all they have is fat-free dressing in the house as Karen is dieting.  So he grabs the fat-free sour cream and heads home.  Bill feels good- he saved Karen a trip to the store.  Bill gets home and delivers the sour cream to Karen.   What happens next?  Karen looks at the package and says, “You idiot!  Why would you get fat-free sour cream?  Bill says sheepishly,” Well honey, everything we buy is fat-free.  Remember you are dieting.”  Karen fires back, “Not for frosting, what’s wrong with you?”  Bill is propelled back to feeling like a 10 year old boy being scolded by his mother.  He tried.  Yes, probably not well thought out as he looks back.  He should have called.  However, he was doing a good deed and his response was- you idiot!  Karen thinks, “How can this man lead his team at work?”  He can’t even accomplish simple tasks that I give him!  It’s a good thing that I am here or this whole family would fall apart.  Karen wishes she had a “good husband” so she wouldn’t have to do everything.

Morning 001

So what’s going on here?  Is Bill really an idiot?  Is Bill really a poor husband and family leader?  The reality is that Bill leads a multi-million dollar division at work.  Bill is a leader at church.  Bill also leads a large charity organization.

This scenario is pretty common in the marriage relationship today.  Women feel that they have no choice but to lead their household as they see their husbands as weak, passive and poor leaders.  Men live in fear of their wives, who dominate the marriage relationship and to keep the peace, they slip securely into the second place position behind their wives.  But the most damaging aspect of this is the message that is sent to the children.

We are raising our boys to think that Mom is the boss.  They are not being trained to be leaders in the family.  They see Dad as a doormat.

We are raising our girls to be independent and dominant which will perpetuate this friction in the marriage relationship.  I think we also do this as a means to protect our girls.  Make them stronger.  Make them be able to take care of themselves.

What we are doing is setting them up to make them miserable.

Dependency is not always a bad thing.  In the marriage relationship, you have to rely on your spouse to take care of things for you.  By taking responsibilities from your husband you are taking away a part of the core of what it is to be a man.  He needs to protect, guide and provide for his family.  He needs to lead his family.  It is in his DNA.  It’s by design.

Ladies- Take your hands off the wheel and trust that things will work out.  Relieve yourself of the pressure to control and plan everything.  Realize that chasing perfection and putting pressure on everyone around you is not healthy.

If you want a leader in your house, it may be time to step back and let him lead.  Your husband is not an idiot- you are likely legitimizing your poor behavior and your desire for control.  Realize that he may be so unaccustomed to leading, that it will likely take some time for him to properly step into the role.  You will be tempted to jump back in.  But just wait.  Give him time and encourage him to lead.  What you will gain will be the peace that comes from the surrender of the burden of trying to do it all yourself.  Your life will be better- I promise!

If you would like more help in this area please visit the website http://www.peacefulwife.com.  This site averages about 5,000 views every day from women all over the world seeking to let go!

I am an equal opportunity offender! A follow up to this focusing on men’s marital relationship issues will follow in a few weeks.  Stay tuned!

So what do you think?  Are we reversing roles in the marriage relationship?  Are you struggling to do everything yourself?  Please click on “leave a comment” and let me know what you think!

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