Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Leading by doing nothing?
Is it possible to lead by doing nothing? I think it is. Here is one example. The other day we invited several people join us for dinner. The day before, Katie told me what we would be serving and had me create a list of what needed to be gathered. When that was done she sent me to see which of the items we already had and what needed to be purchased. Later that day we went shopping but of course, I needed to go out the following day to get one food item I thought we had but as it turned out, needed more.
That evening Katie asked how long it would take me to get everything ready. Informing me she wanted to eat at 6 I decided 5PM would be a good starting point to begin making final preparations. So on the following day at 5 I headed to the kitchen and as planned had it ready by 6. Guests started arriving a little before 5 with the last showing up right before the meal was set out. During my hour of craziness Katie pretty much remained out of sight, letting me do the cooking while she spent time with our guests. We all enjoyed the time hanging out and eating and after eating I began gathering the dirty plates and utensils. While I cleaned the group mostly hung out in the kitchen area talking. I listened but remained busy restoring the room to its pre ‘non-messy state’.
I know I was being watched while I cooked and set out the food. I knew others noticed that I was the one doing all of the cleanup. No one sad a thing and Katie pretty much let me take care of most everything. There was the recognition that I was alone at getting everything ready and cleaning it all after. When everyone was through, I was paid the best of compliments. They thanked ME for dinner – not Katie. And I loved it.
So did Katie lead while together with friends? It was pretty clear to me she did. Other than tell me in front of a few guests “OK you can start getting things ready,” no other remark was made to indicate she was in charge. She didn’t come to check on me to see how I was coming with the meal prep; she didn’t tell me to clean up; she didn’t tell me to put things away. It all just happened. I simply followed the same routine I usually do after dinner – clean. Yet by spending, what?, a few minutes telling me what we would be serving and going over things with me for a short time, and later making sure we had everything needed and making certain she understood how long it would take me to put it all together, she effectively led. In doing so she asserted herself as the dominant partner and allowed her submissive to make her life a little easier and a whole lot less stressful. (She hates hosting.) Like I commented in the previous post, leaders think and plan, followers execute. She did that to a T this time and I did likewise, following her directives.
I wanted to write about this little event in our life to illustrate that leadership sometimes doesn’t require lots of time and effort on the part of the wife. However it needs to be intentional. Katie needed to make the decision that I’d be doing the work. She needed to place her trust in me to make it all happen. However she felt it necessary to go over things with me to insure I wouldn’t mess up or forget things. She wanted the time with friends to go off as if she had done the work – meaning, she wanted it done her way. Once she set things in motion, she pretty much stepped back and let me run with it as her submissive.
Leading takes practice. Leading needs to be a part of who the woman in charge is. I understand it’s not something that comes easily for most women. I wish it did. But with practice, that which was at one time foreign becomes familiar and given time and repetition eventually becomes natural. Katie has become a natural leader in many aspects of our marriage – not all, but increasingly more. And as she does, my love for her grows ever deeper. I admire her more. I see in her a confident woman. I see someone who has the strength to make things happen by telling me what to do. I see a woman that understands my need for leadership and is willing to give that gift of direction to me. For that I am thankful.