Leadership is an idea usually applied to business, sports, military strength and political challenges. Often when the word is spoken we think of leadership as bold, strong, sacrificial, also visionary, productive, able to move others.

Some of us are stuck with an ‘old’ definition of leadership under which we suffered. This is “my way or the highway” style of leadership or the “don’t let the door hit you in the butt as you leave” leadership. There are leaders who accomplished much at the cost of many. That paradigm – dominance, inequality, subservience – is not the one we have in mind when we talk about relational leadership.

We don’t often think of leadership in and within relationship. This issue introduces some ideas about leadership in marriage. We’ve come to see that the definition of leadership has evolved and is evolving and can be used to create a very different way of imagining how men and women create a vital marriage – a marriage that sings.

Relational leadership is not hierarchical, not ‘top down,’ not gender based and not authoritarian. Relational leadership requires the competencies of a mature listener, the authority of a well grounded self, the compassion of love actualized, and the skills of shared vision.

It is based on knowing who you are, having real information about the unique gift/s you bring to your loving, also the work of empathy – taking the time to know who your partner really is. It is consensual, honoring, proactive and above all based in deep appreciation and love for the one you love.

Leadership seen in this way has no room for diagnosis, analysis of the other, criticism, distance, competition or cynicism. It rejects fear as a basis for loving.

Leadership in marriage works to identify the issues that can be cooperatively addressed, tunes in to whoever in the family is leading at that moment, honors individual wisdom and insight and strives to hold everyone accountable for their contribution to successful communication.

Remarkably, leadership in the highest levels of corporate functioning follows the same rules - if it is to be effective. If not, every day will look a lot like yesterday.

Stephen Frueh PhD is a leadership coach and mentor, he delivers keynotes, workshops, and seminars on transforming the leadership paradigm.

Author's Bio: 

Leadership for the 21st Century

Stephen Frueh PhD is a careful listener to CEOs and Executive teams in their leadership challenges. He is a consultant, a keynoter, mentor and guide. "My primary focus is to listen in on leadership conversations, create a conceptual framework that re-imagines the challenges and recurring frustrations and offers a pathway that empowers each participant to realize their full potential."

Stephen has consulted with major corporations, small to medium sized businesses as well as organizations.

He hosts two leadership groups for business owners, speaks on leadership related issues around the country, speaks on the challenges of marriage for executive marriages, has written a book on marriage and has a second ready for publication. He offers workshops, seminars, keynotes, consultation and friendship to those who desire to maximize their leadership potential.

Stephen is a father and a grandfather who stays in shape riding road and mountain bikes. He lives in Eastern Ventura County, California with his wife and nine year old daughter