Chapter 6 - Leadership Home
Home for the Holidays
I just love this time of year – the beautiful Christmas décor, the smell of Christmas goodies baking in the oven (because my daughter made them, of course, not me). I love the sights and smells and just the overall feeling of Christmas. There’s just something about being home for the holidays and being able to enjoy this time of year with our families that makes it very special.
Of course, for many of us, this can be a really hectic time of year as we try to juggle the demands of an already busy life with the added hustle and bustle of all the holiday preparations, shopping, and winter thrown into the mix. It can get overwhelming.
This is where the principles of leadership in the home come into play. Let’s face it, managing a home (and the schedules of the people in it) can be a real challenge, especially at this time of year. Managing the paperwork can be overwhelming, but especially now as you have the added end-of-the year bills and Christmas cards and letters to boot – not to mention the deluge of junk mail and email. The day-to-day things that have to be done can very quickly get out of hand.
We talk about the DISC profile here a lot. Let’s look at how your personality affects the management of your home.
D-Wired – You do not have time for trivialities such as cleaning and laundry. Your life is so full, you barely have time to eat before heading off to your next meeting, let alone clean the kitchen and bake a fresh batch of cookies for the school party which, oh by the way, you’ve just learned is tomorrow! Your six-year-old swears he told you, but you were on the fly and didn’t hear him. You have 12 days until Christmas and 24 major deadlines to meet before year end. Why did the school and church plan so many activities for your kids at this time of year? Don’t they know you have work to do?
I-Wired – You’re going to have a LOT of people over for the holidays. It’s going to be so much fun to cook and entertain and buy gifts for everyone. This will be the year you create (as in handmade from scratch) the coolest gifts EVER for EVERYONE on your list. So what if it’s mid-December, no problem. And the Christmas decorations are grand! There are so many shiny objects. Oh, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to adopt three families for Christmas this year and volunteer to help at the local animal shelter for a few days and serve as room mother for your child’s class and go visit your mother and sister in Omaha. And of course you can make the costumes for this year’s Christmas program by next week!
S-Wired – Your home is orderly, quiet, and peaceful. You don’t have Christmas decorations up yet, but you’ll get around to it pretty soon. You’re looking forward to some quiet time with your family. Cookies? They want to you to make cookies? A big dinner? That sounds exhausting. Invite a lot of people over? Not so sure – they might mess up the house, and the family members would probably just fight like they did last year. Maybe this year, you’ll just ignore the holiday until it goes away. You’re feeling the winter blues, and really, all you want to do is sleep.
C-Wired – Your home is orderly, too. And your tree is up, precisely in the right place with ornaments and lights aligned in perfect symmetry. You have every detail of every day planned from now through the first of the year – and of course, you have your new year’s resolutions made already. You have lists – and lists of lists. You are so prepared. Of course, your family is hiding from you. Your children now suffer from "post-traumatic putting-up-the-perfect-tree stress syndrome". Company for Christmas? No way. They will come with kids, and pets, and STUFF, tracking in snow and mud and salt from outside onto your meticulously cleaned floors. They will be noisy and happy. How annoying! Who needs it? Why isn’t everyone complying with your plans?
So let’s turn this around a bit.
Let’s create the kind of home your family and friends
will WANT to visit for the holidays.
D-Wired – Your word is DELEGATE. Look at your list, delegate the detailed work to those who are efficient with details, and get those projects out of the way before the holidays. Then, just for a few days, focus on the people in your life. Listen. Laugh. Relax (come on, I know you can do it!) and enjoy just “being” for a change.
I-Wired – STOP. Just STOP. Stop adding, buying, collecting, shopping, thinking, decorating, dreaming up ideas, crafting, volunteering - whatever you’re doing - just stop. Breathe. Then get some help focusing on what has to be done over the next few days – find someone who can help you figure out what you can and can’t reasonably accomplish. Have a celebration, but keep it simple. Do things, but be selective. STOP driving yourself insane trying to be all things to all people. It’s okay, really it is.
S-Wired – To you, I say the opposite. Your word is GO. Go shopping – buy yourself a little something while you’re out. Chances are, you’ve given all year to everyone and have neglected yourself. Go to lunch with a friend. Go bake some cookies, even if you don’t want to. Go to your child’s Christmas program at school. Go find a few simple Christmas decorations and put them up. Invite a few close friends over for the holidays. You’ll be glad you did.
C-Wired – Your word is IMPERFECTION. Yes, that’s right. Let go of perfection just for this year. Have a purposely imperfect holiday. Put up the tree and let the kids decorate it any way they wish. In fact, join in and throw a little tinsel yourself. Don’t worry, you won’t get arrested. See how imperfect you can make it, and take pictures. I guarantee there will smiles in that photo! Then go out and slosh around in the snow and come in for some hot chocolate. Make some cookies – ugly and messy ones, not perfectly formed and decorated ones that look like plastic. Invite people over – yes, happy, talking PEOPLE. Don’t plan a meal – order pizza and serve it on paper plates. Don’t plan activities – just watch a funny Christmas movie. Have them bring “imperfect” white elephant gifts that are imperfectly wrapped. The most imperfect wins an extra ugly cookie. Just have fun and laugh.
If you think about it, really, this is the example of leadership in the home. It is creating a balance of order and spontaneity. It is the balance of managing the activites, the chores, and the paperwork of a home in such a way that the people who live there feel comfortable, peaceful, and inspired. Sometimes that means working in our strengths, and sometimes that means allowing others to exercise theirs.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas season
and the kind of home
that makes everyone feel at home for holidays!