This past Tuesday our homeschooling group had our end of school year presentations. It was great seeing the kids display all they’ve learned this year, but at the same time it was bittersweet.
This closing ceremony marked the end of my wife serving as the director of our homeschooling community. After much prayer and thinking, we decided it’s best for her to step down from this role and get more intentional with our kids’ homeschooling as well as help out with my platform, our web show, and speaking opportunities.
I married a great leader
As I reflected on the four years she served as the director of our community, I was amazed at what she’d done and how well she led. She literally created something from nothing and as she leaves her role, the community is thriving, has well prepared leadership in place, and is positioned for growth.
Through my reflection, I was able to pull some valuable insights about leadership. Which is another reason why I love her so much—I am able to learn amazing things from her, even if her intention is not to teach me.
Here are 7 leadership lessons I learned from my wife
1. Great leaders recognize needs and meet those needs
Four years ago there was no homeschooling community like this in our area. The year before, once per week, we drove an hour to another town to be a part of a homeschooling community. When it came time to plan for the next school year my wife saw an opportunity created by this need and stepped in to meet that need. She started our homeschool community, found a location for us to meet weekly, hired tutors, and filled all the available classrooms the church had with students. This not only met our need, but the needs of several other families.
2. Great leaders step out of their comfort zones
My wife has never been a person who desires to be out front. She’d much rather listen than talk. Serve from the back, rather than serve out front. Yet, she boldly stepped out of her comfort zone and did this. This required her to become a teacher, a marketer, a sales person, and a public speaker. She taught prospective parents the curriculum, she promoted it, she asked parents to enroll their kids, and presented the entire program at open houses, in addition to speaking in front of 40-50 people each week on our community days.
3. Great leaders come to the front while remaining in the back
As I mentioned, she’d much rather contribute and serve from the back without being noticed. Yet somehow she effectively did both while directing our homeschooling community. As director, everything began with her. She hosted and spoke at the info meetings. She spoke each week to the entire community. She purchased supplies, organized field trips, and hired tutors.
But at the same time she made sure others in the community were noticed. She made sure the tutors were recognized and appreciated for their work. She made sure the projects the kids worked on were presented. She knew it wasn’t about her, but the community and the amazing people serving the community.
4. Great leaders surround themselves with great people
In his book, “Good to Great,” Jim Collins says that great organizations and leaders are able to get “the right people on the bus.” This was one of our community’s strengths. The tutors and parents in the community. My wife has great discernment and I often get her thoughts when I make a new connection as to whether this is someone I want to be connected with.
Her insight is usually spot on. It was spot on in selecting tutors who taught the kids on our group days. It was spot on when choosing parents who served in other areas for the community. She knew she couldn’t do it alone and the community needed people who were stronger than her in other areas.
5. Great leaders are faithful and committed
After the first year of our community, we faced a major obstacle. We were meeting at a church that one of the families in the community was a member of. After the first year, that family decided homeschooling wasn’t the best option for them. Without this member of the church in the community, the leaders of the church decided it wasn’t best for our community to meet there.
That summer my wife called probably every church in our city to no avail. Either they already had a school of their own, they wanted thousands of dollars from us, or they didn’t have enough space. It seemed like the community wasn’t going to make it. But she never lost faith that we’d have a location to meet when the first day of school arrived. And it was literally 2-3 weeks prior to the first day of school that she secured a location. It would have been easy for her to say it’s not meant to be, refund the students’ tuition, and move on. Yet, she remained faithful, committed, and never gave up.
6. Great leaders gain the trust of those around them
One thing that resonated with me was how the tutors and the families in the community trusted my wife. They trusted her judgement, they trusted her expertise, and they trusted their kids to her leadership. She gained trust by being trustworthy. By being honest and transparent. On several occasions she had conversations with parents who said if not for her that they may not have come or remained a part of the community. It is vital for a leader to be trustworthy and gain the trust of others.
7. Great leaders are great stewards
The second year when we had to find a new church for our group to meet she found an amazing church who opened their doors wide open to our community. We didn’t have a member at their church, but you would have never known. One of the reasons they did this is because they trusted her. And she was a great steward over the church building they trusted her with.
Now, you can imagine 40 kids in a church that wasn’t meant to be a school can be pretty crazy. But my wife made sure each and every week we left that building as good, if not better, than when we entered it. I remember the time a small glass display was broken by one of the students around Christmas time. She not only found all the broken pieces, but pieced and glued it back together and it looked like it had never been broken. She still let the church know, when she could have been silent.
Great leaders are all around us
Whether you are a CEO, pastor, blogger, stay-at-home mom, or homeschool community director heeding these insights will help you. Or if you are none of the above, these insights can help you realize great leadership in your spouse, as well as others.
I am thankful for the insights and lessons I learned from her, but most of all I’m just proud of my wife. 🙂
[reminder]What is something that you appreciate, or have learned from your wife?[/reminder]
I can answer that question is one word. Patience.
Yes, patience is awesome!
Jackie. I appreciate that my wife believes in me even at times when I can’t find the courage to believe in myself. I also really appreciate that in our 33 years of marriage Jean has respectfully encouraged me to be the leader in our relationship. Although the Lord knows there were lots of times I was in the wrong seat on the wrong bus. She is an amazing woman to stay married to me all these years.
That is a a blessing, she is a blessing, Paul.
Hey Jackie, this is a great article and an awesome way to “brag” on your wife. What a great example! I would like to add, if I may, one more to your list – not necessarily another point, but rather, an overall
observation based on the revelation of your wife’s effort. This post clearly reveals the nature of a
Servant Leader. By the way, servant leaders (I believe) are first developed at home and revealed in public. Thanks for this post. You guys are doing a good thing! I just signed up for your emails so I’m looking forward to hooking up online with you brother.
oops. sorry bout the big pic. put it in the wrong place 🙂
I didn’t see any big pic. So I guess it’s all good. 🙂
Awesome, and thinks for contributing, Alex! I love it.
Hey Jackie! This is a great tribute to your wife. I admire my wife’s courage to do what needs to be done, even when it’s not popular. She has a way of being firm, but kind.
Awesome, Jon! Those are some great character qualities. Thanks for sharing.
Jackie and Stephana-I am a wife 🙂 So excuse me intruding here. After being a single mom for 17 years, I remarried. (NB NB I am NOT an advocate of divorce. That is the main reason i love your objective Jackie, and promote you.) As I read this list, I thought of my husband, and what a fearless, strong, solid leader he is. My absolute favorite ‘thing’ has been praying for him to walk in all that God has called HIM to. He has not even begun yet with all God has-SO exciting to walk with him. And Him! 🙂
You are not intruding at all. Wives are very welcome here!
Thanks for sharing about your husband. That is exciting. And you sound like my wife in that you are both prayer warriors, who enjoy praying for your husbands.
Thanks again for sharing, and you are welcome at any time!
I love you! Thank you, Babe!
I love YOU, and I’m proud of you! 🙂