Is Your Husband Demanding or Commanding Respect?

Every leader wants to be respected. But respect is something that has to be freely given by your followers. You can’t demand it, you can only command it, earn it.
Not getting respect is frustrating, especially by those who may perceive this as an attack on their leadership, a personal affront even. They will often respond by demanding respect, mostly based on the fact that they have a certain position (‘I am the leader of this household so I make the decisions, not you’) REALLY? You call yourself the leader but only by position you think is automatically granted you by the Bible or your church. I think the best way to determine what leadership looks like is by looking at Jesus himself. You see, you husbands that demand respect have in fact shown immature and inadequate leadership! You heard me right! Real leaders don’t have to demand it because they have earned it.

I served under a young lieutenant in the Army who never once told us to do something that he would not or had not done himself. I had a Captain who just could not lead but the young lieutenant made him look better by doing the things the Captain could not or would not do. We would have followed that young lieutenant into hell, and did a few times!

Getting respect from your family takes time and effort, but it’s well worth the investment. Just demanding because of your supposed position will only make you look like the fool you are acting like. Once you’ve gained the trust from your family you made have discovered a secret that allows to lead others.

As I stated above, every leader longs for the respect of his or her followers. But respect has to be commanded, not demanded. You have to earn it. But how to command respect from those you lead? I’ve found acting out this verse day-by-day made a big difference:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:3, 4 NKJV)

Here are five lessons that Jesus taught by his own example and we as husbands would do better to learn from that verse in how we should lead:

1. Be Honest
Don’t use manipulation or conceit to get your way. Be open and honest about where you want to go and try to persuade others to come with you based on vision, not deceit or force. Don’t play out people against each other, make them choose sides or spiritually manipulate people to support you. Be very, very critical of your own ambitions and constantly search your heart to check your motives (Psalm 139:23, 24). Being honest means that you take full responsibility for your failures and admit it! Jesus always told the truth, even if it was painful but never left that person in despair if they would demonstrate a receptive heart.

2. Be humble
Don’t ever forget that you are a leader by the grace of God. It has God who deserves all the glory, you’re just a vessel in His hands. Treat your leadership as a gift, not an entitlement. The minute you feel you deserve certain things because of your leadership role, is the minute you've become too proud to be effective. Jesus was a King in heaven but humbled himself unto death like a pauper to bring eternal salvation to all who would demonstrate a hearing heart.

3. Admit your failures
You may feel this is a sign of weakness, but it’s actually a sign of strength. Having the courage to admit when you have been wrong,honestly, or to say you were wrong and change your mind is a great way of gaining your followers’ trust. They see you’re not pretending to be perfect or better than them, not covering up your mistakes and that will go a long way in making them respect you.

4. Be unfailingly kind
Being a leader doesn't equal being harsh, judgmental or mean. Even when you disagree with people, even when you have to make decisions that don’t have the majority’s support, be kind. You can say no to people without making it personal. You need learn how to give negative feedback mixed with wisdom and hope without being harsh. You can oppose someone and still be cordial. Don’t make fun of people, talk behind their backs to humiliate them in front of others. Respect them and treat them with kindness, even when you disagree or when they’re acting stupid. Show love and grace in all your contact with other people, treat them as Jesus would have treated them. If you wonder why he didn't treat the Sadducees and Pharisees as well, he looked upon their hearts to see the evil intentions within. He called them what they were...”open graves whose mouth leads others to hell!”

5. Put others first
There’s a lot of buzz going around the Internet right now about the shameful actions of the captain of the Costa Concordia, the cruise ship that ran aground in Italy a few days ago. Captain Schettino abandoned ship long before all the passengers were evacuated and refused to re-board even after a direct order from the Coast Guard. He will spend time in prison for his error, but worst of all he will be remember forever as a deserter in time of trouble. People died needlessly under his poor leadership. Husbands! Are you vacant in the position of a spiritual leader in your home, especially when trouble within is present?

Husbands! As a leader, you have to put the interest of others first. Your actions over a period of time show credibility. You’re the captain, you don’t just abandon ship when disaster strikes. Instead, stand in the gap and be willing to take the heat! The safety and well being of your passengers is your first priority. But even when you’re in stormy waters, you protect your crew, your passengers first and foremost. You don’t do anything that could possibly harm them.  You will be remembered for the right things you did even if a wrong decision got you there.

Husbands! In marriage that means making decisions that are beneficial to your family to make them the right kind of leaders for their families in the future. But it also means changing your perspective and your language from ‘I’ to ‘we’. Take a team approach and talk about ‘us’ and ‘we’ instead of just yourself. Invest in great relationships with your team(family), not because that benefits you, but out of genuine interest in who they are. 

"Those who never learned to take orders can never give orders"-George Washington.

“Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.”
– John Maxell

How have you gained the respect of those you lead? Would you add anything to this list?

See you next blog,


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