In 1979, Robert Duvall was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Bull Meecham in the movie, The Great Santini. The movie was about a Marine Corps fighter pilot and the problems he faced trying to balance his job and family. Colonel Meecham was a tough leader who was not afraid to make the quick life-or-death decisions that were required of a squadron leader. His nickname was "The Great Santini," and men who reported to him knew that there was no tolerance for failure.
Like many military families, the Meecham family moved frequently between duty stations. While the Colonel was off on missions, his children would readjust to a new town, meet new friends, and wait for their dad to return home. The problem was that, most of the time, dad never showed up, but the hard-charging commander did. This highly trained warrior wreaked havoc on his family as he struggled to separate the way he trained his men from the way that he treated his family. The same skills that made him successful in leading men into battle systematically destroyed his family.
Business leaders today face similar issues. Although those issues might not seem as extreme as the Colonel’s, they still can have the same devastating effects. They spend eight or more hours a day holding people accountable for sales, deadlines, profitability, and efficiency. They then return home and manage their families in a similar fashion. This can cause problems in marriages and child-parent relationships.
The first reaction of most would be to work harder on compartmentalizing–leaving work issues, attitudes, and protocols at work. Why not try a different approach? Instead of striving for separation, look for things that build consistency between the two roles. How about taking the servant’s heart required to build a strong, loving, and trusting family to the workplace? Sound impossible? Let's consider what Jesus had to say about the matter:
Jesus not only taught servant leadership, but also modeled it every day to those who followed Him. In the book Lead Like Jesus, Ken Blanchard says, “For followers of Jesus, servant leadership isn’t an option; it’s a mandate. Servant leadership is to be a living statement of who we are in Christ, how we treat one another, and how we demonstrate the love of Christ to the whole world” (pg. 12).
"Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:25-28
Let’s be honest—as leaders we are accountable for results. In business, when evaluating an employee’s performance, we have to make decisions about everything from compensation and advancement to reprimands and termination. Often, the decisions we make reflect our leadership style. At home, as we lead our families, the strength of our relationships will also be a reflection of our leadership. When it’s all said and done, servant leadership is the only type of leadership that will cross over into all areas of our life and honor God at the same time.
By: John Faulkner
John is a Co-Founder of TwoTen Magazine and is active in his community, currently serving on the board of Digital Lightbridge and Sealund and Associates. He is presently a member/alumnus of The C12 Group, Lifework Leadership and Grace Family Church.
John is a U. S. Marine Corps veteran, author, blogger and frequent speaker on culture, leadership and his personal testimony.
John resides in New Port Richey, Florida. He has been married for over 30 years to his beautiful wife, Julie, and is the proud father of an exceptional son, two beautiful daughters and four way-above-average grandchildren.Read More Articles by John Faulkner