Often, family life and work life are positioned as a never-ending battle for priority. So much has been said, written, researched, and developed around work-life balance. It is real and most leaders struggle with this in their own life. But what can leaders do to support family life without fear that the organization they lead will suffer?
When I was President of B&H Publishing, I was challenged by the reality that I had several young parents on my team that were “A” players and critical to the success of our organization. They were working long and hard and giving so much as we reset our work with a growth strategy for the future. I didn’t want them to lose their families in the process. Here are a few things that I put in place to celebrate dads, moms, and families.
7 Ways Leaders can Honor Dads (and Moms!):
1. We celebrated the birth of children and grandchildren.
Pictures, celebrations, and recognition of children and grandchildren were a normal part of team updates and larger company-wide meetings.
2. An annual picnic with families.
If your organization is large, this may be a challenge for your entire team, but you can still do this for your leadership team and they can model it for the teams they lead. Meeting spouses and their families was a significant part of my own leadership development. It gave me a broader perspective on the team and helped me be more aware of life beyond work.
3. Snow days with children required.
In Nashville, Tennessee where I am from, it rarely snows. But when it does, it is a big deal. One of the informal rules I put in place was if it snows, it was expected you would play in the snow with your children and a snow day picture was requested.
4. Spouse accountability.
I gave my cell phone number to the spouse of all my key leaders and said call me if work becomes a problem for your family. I only had one spouse call me in the five years I lead B&H. I met with that leader and we made some adjustments in his work.
5. Leadership communication honoring the family.
I often challenged leaders to make family a priority. I did this in personal meetings with leaders and in team-wide communication. I reminded leaders that any problem we had in our work could be handled and we would be fine but a problem in the family should be addressed with urgency.
6. Encouraged family vacations.
The first pastor Rodney served under after seminary challenged us to always take a vacation so we started our young marriage off with a commitment to vacation time. We have kept that commitment now for 39 years of marriage and I am so thankful for this pastor’s wise counsel. A time away from work, ministry, and daily responsibilities is refreshing for the heart, mind, body, and spirit. Our adult daughters have shared often that our family vacations were wonderful memories for them and helped create a strong family bond. Encourage your team to take vacation time and honor it by giving them a break from work. A healthy team has others that can step in on work while others are off. Leaders should only interrupt vacation time when it is a crisis of urgency.
7. Pray for the dads and moms on your team.
When you celebrate and honor Dads and Moms, you will also pray for their families. Often leaders would come to me privately and ask for specific prayer for their family. More often, they would ask for prayer in team meetings across our organization. People asked for prayer because they knew family was a priority for our team.
Other Resources for Dads:
- 10 Ways Dads Can Shape Their Daughters to Be Leaders
- Time with Dad
- Raising Daughters in Today’s Culture
As a leader, you have a significant role to play in honoring dads. This Father’s Day, stop and assess how you are supporting dads (and moms) on your team. Are there some new steps you can take that will strengthen families on your team?As a leader, you have a major role in honoring dads. How can you strengthen families on your team? Click To Tweet
“Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one’s youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. Such men will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.” Psalms 127:3-5