5 Lies Leaders Believe That Ruins Their Family

Be a Great Leader and a Great Spouse

I read and listen to a lot of leadership material. If I had to guess, I bet you do as well.

And though we read and listen to a lot on being a successful leader, some of the most influential ideas are not heard but observed. We watch the actions of other successful leaders in our companies and organizations, and we start mimicking them.

But we must be careful what we mimic. Not everything we see is good. Family is sometimes sidelined and eventually injured. And often what we were observing was not directly tied to success anyway. The family is hurt for nothing.

Let’s look at five lies leaders believe that ruins their family:

  1. I must put work ahead of family. Certainly, there will be busy times at work. There will be travel. But often leaders feel that sacrificing their family on the altar of work is the only way to get ahead. They seem to ignore the many great leaders who work hard and still find time for their family.
  1. I have to spend a lot of time alone with someone of the opposite sex. If you spend significant time alone with someone of the opposite sex, you are setting yourself up for a temptation to which you may succumb. Personally, I have some pretty strict boundaries I have set up for interacting with someone of the opposite sex at work. Some may have thought those boundaries were a bit odd when I worked at a bank, but they never could deny my commitment to my wife, a trait many found admirable.
  1. I have to party with my peers and team members. Trust me, not going out with them is a much bigger deal in your head than their heads. You have a family. Most understand this. And saying “no thanks” often demonstrates that you are mature, responsible, and trustworthy. More importantly, it communicates to your spouse that you are mature, responsible, and trustworthy.
  1. Because everyone else lies and cheats, I must lie and cheat as well. Wouldn’t it be great if character flaws remain contained to particular areas of our life? But we know that this is not how it works. If you are willing to lie and cheat at work, you are willing to those things in other areas of your life, including your family life.
  1. I cannot slow down. Often, leaders feel that they are on high-speed train with no hope of slowing down. And even if they could, they wouldn’t for fear of getting behind. Let me point out something obvious—Jesus took breaks. Maybe you should consider doing the same. At some point, fast becomes reckless. Don’t simultaneously ruin your and your family’s mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being by not occasionally tapping on the brakes.

You can be a great leader and be a great spouse and parent. So be careful not to believe the lies that can destroy these treasured relationships.

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3 thoughts on “5 Lies Leaders Believe That Ruins Their Family

  1. Sorry, Art, but in my experience #3 is incorrect. It was actually one of the reasons cited for my dismissal from my last church! While for the most part it should be right, in many cases fellowship among colleagues is part of team building. There MUST be balance, though. As a father of 14, I’ve found that balance can sometimes be difficult, but balance is always the key.

    • Adam,

      I am sorry to hear this. Since you have 14 children, I think you may be in a different category than most. Certainly, there is a time for team building. #3 is addressing those that feel pressure to go out on a such a regular basis that it injures the relationship with their spouse and kids. And it is assuming that they do not have 14 kids. In your case, an upfront conversation with your pastor/boss/deacons/elders about what balance looks like for you and your family will always be needed, at least until they get out of the house…


  2. A great leader can be a great family man given the right situation. Many large companies convince their leaders that sacrificing family life will get them ahead; one moment, your time is an investment to your future but it eventually becomes a condition of continued employment. There is the old saying, “the company always comes first.” In order to be good family men, many leaders require their underlings to sacrifice theirs. The five lies are well-stated, but many times, they are realities. Attending company events are a requirement; non-attendance is considered a snub subject to discipline.