3 Keys of Family Leadership
It is a true blessing to play in the NFL; however, one of the hardest parts is traveling away from my family. Several years ago when I was playing for the New Orleans Saints, we went to West Virginia for training camp. We stayed at The Greenbrier resort. During the Cold War, it had an underground bunker for government officials in the event of nuclear war. Above ground, it has hosted 26 Presidents, the PGA Tour, and won multiple awards, including the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award.
The Greenbrier had fallen on hard times, including bankruptcy, until being turned around by billionaire James C. Justice II. Recent success and growth can only be attributed to Justice. His idea to bring an NFL team for training camp was a first for the resort. Mr. Justice is a larger-than-life figure, not only in personality but in physical stature. He is the CEO of over 40 companies. His 6’7”, 350 lbs. frame stood before our Saints team and spoke to us about leadership qualities. He boiled the success and health of any organization down to three essential things. When I think about my role as a husband and father, Mr. Justice’s words (italicized below) give a great foundation for success. Based on his wisdom, here are 3 Keys of Family Leadership.
“The owners have to care for the employees and the employees must know this and in turn care for the owner. Likewise, the employees must care for and love each other.” Employees are more likely to care for one another when management does it. In order to cultivate a family that loves one another, we must set the example first. This starts with loving our wives well. Kids are going to look at that relationship as an example — first and foremost. Let them see your sacrifice, tenderness, and grace towards her. They will see your example and follow suit.
“To get better we must admit when we do wrong and truly own up to it and change our actions. It’s not enough to just say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Trust in the workplace is built when there is change.” One of the things I appreciate about football is the film room. The film doesn’t lie and, when a mistake is made, it is there for everyone to see. Great players and teams are ones that accept responsibility for their mistakes and try to correct them. No one is perfect, particularly me. I have learned that it is better to be honest about my shortcomings than trying to pretend to be perfect or defend at all costs. Correcting our kids while denying our own wrongdoing is inconsistent, hypocritical, and breaks trust. Being honest and confessing when we fall short propels us to improvement. Our kids need to not only see us admit wrong but see change. Lead the way and you will create a house of trust and growth.
“Suppose you are an outfielder. Your team is ahead by one run in the bottom of the 9th. If you are hoping the batter does not hit the ball your way, you will never amount to anything. You MUST WANT the ball.” There are times I read about the amazing things people did in Scripture with God’s power. I have a tendency of elevating them as superheroes when they were actually terrified at the missions they were given. We all have fear and even the most confident people have self-doubt. Sometimes we may doubt we can be faithful husbands, loving fathers, and men of honor. However, I believe God made us to be courageous. With His power and guidance, we can be confident in our abilities as husbands and fathers.
What leadership qualities of a dad do you think benefit a family the most?