Leading Happy

Where Leadership and Happiness Collide

Category: Productivity (page 3 of 6)

Sharing Your Faith at W.O.R.K.

Note: This post originally appeared at Empty Church

Typically, sharing faith at work has been seen in two diametric opposites. Either it’s the incredibly passionate religious zealot others run and hide from or the lazy, religious hipster who finds anything other than prayer and contemplation beneath him. I am pretty sure through my journey as a Christian I have been in both groups. Obviously, this is a gross exaggeration because there are so many nuances in-between. But you get the point.

For us, we want to look at productive and healthy ways to share faith at work – that place we spend 40 plus hours a week or more. Many separate out their life as work, family, and recreation. Yet, when added up, we spend a huge amount of time at work around the same people for months and years on end. When I realized this, I found that my work relationships and contacts were much deeper than I first realized. There was time created influence there that I had not tapped into for the kingdom of God.

So I came up with the acronym W.O.R.K. to help me and later others become more gospel-oriented at work.

W – Work Diligently  

I recall my first job as a young teen. I was 13 years old and volunteering for a local hospital. I remember setting back and reading or goofing off with other volunteers while the “paid guys” did the work. I will never forget what my direct report said to me.

“David, I know your parents, and I know you are a Christian. You setting around being lazy makes you look bad. It makes us Christians look bad. We should be the hardest workers. We serve longer and with more care than others should!”

Rudy, the chief of security at the hospital, knew my parents well as he and my dad worked around each other for over 20 years. His words affected me. That summer ended up being awarded the hardest worker merit for us “candy striper volunteers.” When I gave the thank you speech, I was able to thank Rudy, and I was also able to speak about my faith in Christ to the hospital employees present.

The writer of Proverbs provides us some insight into the value of hard work:

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.” (Proverbs 12:11)*

“Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.” (Proverbs 12:24)

In other words, hard work is what leads to promotion, to more freedom in your work-life balance. Working hard allows you to move up the ladder and the further up you go the more platform and influence you hold.  Work hard, gain respect, and become the leader God desires you to become.

O – Opportunity Wise

As I moved up the leadership ladder, I found I had more time and space to influence people. So I began to pray that God would open my eyes to opportunities to share my faith.

“Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” (Colossians 4:2)

I wanted my mind to alert to when those I worker for, alongside of, and especially above to know I was here for them. Not just as a colleague but as a caring friend. I prayed I would not be opportunity blind, an idea I first heard of from pastor and author, Mark Batterson. I was willing and I was ready!

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15)

Be ready to answer those who need hope. I knew I needed to focus on making Jesus real to people with real work, family, and life issues. I was learning to be a pastor in a company, which can be trickier than in a church. New mission; new methods!

R – Reinforce Values

Every work culture has values. Most of the time, they are plastered all over walls, business cards, and their webpage. Nevertheless, having values printed doesn’t mean the values are imbedded and lived out.

One thing I have done for years is to learn the values of the company or church I was working with and then to fold those values into how I worked and lived. This has never let me down.

Plus, values are something that Christians are taught to take to heart, think on, and live out. Values shape and mold us. As above, Rudy instilled in me the Christian value of hard work and servanthood. Further, Paul teaches that they are worthy of praise!

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8)

For example, the current company I am with values health, wellness, and vitality. Many of the employees can be seen multiple times a day walking around the property. They walk for health benefits, but walking with others builds comradery. I’ve been able to share my faith at various times walking around with co-workers. Embracing the values of the company may allow you unique ways to share with others.

K – Kindness Matters

Finally, kindness matter isn’t simply a nicety, but the way we should approach anything we value. When you value someone you care for them. You are willing to put up with some junk to stay in relationship with them. You correct them when they are off the path.

The author of Ephesians explains, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)

The same is true for us. We must first show we care for others before we can hope to share Christ with them. Think of it like this. If I am a jerk for a boss or a really incompetent leader, and then I go to others and share my faith, how much credit would I hold? Sure, the gospel has intrinsic value and worth in and of itself, but in today’s culture, the messenger matters. If you desire to carry the message of Jesus in the workplace, kindness must come naturally.

So to conclude, sharing the gospel at W.O.R.K. can be a stressful endeavor only because we try to do so in ways that don’t feel natural. Applying what we have discussed here can help you find a more natural fit to sharing with those you work with and lead.

Go ahead. Try it. You won’t regret it!

*All verses are from the New Living Translation.

Dealing with a Micro Manager

Whether you work in a large business, small church, or medium sized nonprofit, no one is safe from working for or alongside of a micro manager.

To make sure we are all on the same page, let me define “micro manager” for our discussion.

“A micro manager is a boss or manager who gives excessive supervision to employees. A micro manager, rather than telling an employee what task needs to be accomplished and by when, will watch the employee’s actions closely and provide rapid criticism if the manager thinks it’s necessary.” (link)

Pause for a moment, because I am not saying that all bosses are micro managers or that all micro managers are evil and out to crush our very souls. Everyone one with deal with at heart is a human, fallible, fearful, and forgetful. Because we all struggle with insecurity, these struggles translate into certain parts of our personality we hate or have to see in others. So let us give the others we work alongside of or with the benefit of the doubt from the start.

With that out of the way, let’s focus on dealing with someone who is a micro manager.

First, reflect on whether you are being too sensitive, before you cast the micro manager label on another.

We are often too quick to throw around the almost over used idea of being micromanaged. Your supervisor could come to you once a month to check on progress of projects and you could head right over to the water cooler and be like, “Man, what a jerk. He never trusts me!”

We all can be highly sensitive at times, especially when we know we are behind or close to failure, so we move that frustration and label others. I am not saying that to shame you or others, I say it because we are all victim to this and we have all done it before.

Therefore, take a breath and reflect for a moment and blame yourself if needed. If you come to find that you are doing well then perhaps you are dealing with a micro manager.

Second, take some time to figure out why your supervisor is micro managing you.

This does not mean go around talking about him or her in the office. Yet, it is healthy to listen to what others are saying. Look behind the words you are hearing from others, from your supervisor, from emails, and texts. Often what is not said is more vital than what is spoken.

You may be surprised what you can discern when you truly listen. For example, you may learn that your supervisor is being micromanaged, thus they have been trained and are regularly micromanaged and so do likewise to you. Another example may come from the knowledge that your supervisor (like you) is dealing with fear and insecurity and this fear translates into your bane.

The simple knowledge of knowing your supervisor isn’t Superman can go along way into having more compassion.

On another note, your boss may be cruel and take out their cruelty on the employees they manage. Although, I do not think this is as common as some suggest, I do believe it happens.

So now what?

Third, ask for a meeting with your supervisor where you can provide some two-way feedback.

Way too often, meetings are a one way street. The supervisor dictates and the employee takes notes and does as directed. Nothing inherently wrong with that unless it is done with little to no tact from the supervisor. Once orders and directives have been sent to the employee, the manager checks up multiple times in a day (say once an hour) on the progress you are making. This is a bit extreme. Add to this, that with the update checks, the manager is also changing directions or adding to what you are doing each hour, thus stymieing your progress and momentum.

This is when you should ask for a meeting with your supervisor to share concerns and to have a two-way dialog. If you are fearful of what a supervisor may say or do when trying to set this meeting, many larger companies have HR departments that can help with this process. If you are in a smaller organization or in a church setting, just be careful not to do this in the wrong manner and offend your boss. Nevertheless, this may happen, and at this point you know for sure you need to move on to other vocational opportunities.

Now, maybe your supervisor accepts the meeting, and the meeting goes well. Know this, one meeting with not fix everything. Make sure to schedule a few other two-way meetings over the next few months to allow your supervisor to discuss progress from their view and then allow you to express progress from your vantage point.

Fourth, once things are moving in a healthy direction, stay positive and proactive.

It may feel good to know things are moving in a healthy direction (and truly it is), but it can also lead to further frustration. Every coin has two sides. When things seem to be going so well, and you have a minor set back in the process, you can feel more hurt because you have been so transparent and open. This can cause you to retreat and keep your feedback to yourself. The same goes for your supervisor.

Both of you must agree to be vigilant. Keep the good two-way communication going. Eventually, it could mean leaving the organization to go to another, but you are now at the point to have a healthy, productive exit. This makes you and your supervisor look like good examples in the eyes of the other employees and the company.

People are entering and exiting employment all of the time, but we tend to only have healthy entry points, not exit points. When a company can boast about their excellence whether you are coming or going as a healthy experience is absolutely unique in our business culture today. This is also highly attractive to millennial workers who tend to change jobs frequently, but have horrible experiences exiting companies.

So focus as much on being authentic in staying or leaving and work through them both with excellence, authenticity, and candor. 

There are my four thoughts on dealing with a micro manager. Obviously there are many more, so what would you add from your experience or from what you have read over the years?

Great Gift for that Leader in Your Life

 

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Maxwell, John. Leadership Promises for Every Day: A Daily Devotional. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2016. 390pp. $19.99.

So I will confess I am a John Maxwell junkie. I have encountered his teachings at so many conferences, DVDs, podcasts, and round tables, not to mention my entire shelf of Maxwell books. I have even been talking with a rep with his consulting certification as a Maxwell Team Coach. I like to admit my biases up front. It’s a fault, but people love me for it. Yet, I will also admit up front, I am not a fan of devotionals. I am that guy that tends to smile when a devotional if given to me, and then uses it for a paperweight the rest if the year.

(If you have given me a devotional, I am sorry.)

Nevertheless, when I was sent this copy of Leadership Promises for Everyday by Maxwell, I was incredibly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I found myself wanting to read 10 or 12 in one setting. The Scripture references with a pithy leadership or ministry ideas for the leader at any level was addicting. Possibly needless to say, I read most of the devotional in about two weeks time. (Like I said, devotionals and I are either in love or we hate each other.)

Why I believe this devotional is worth it is because of John Maxwell himself. His decades of credibility, his endless writing career, and his passion for Christian leadership grants him a place at the head of the table in a leader’s development. Honestly, even if you have never read a Maxwell book, you still glean from his other writings as the devotional takes advantage of his previous books. In other words, you can read a dozen, 300 page books or you can get daily doses to advantageously apply to your life and leadership.

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Why I mention it as a great gift idea for that leader in your life is because of the size, cover, and price. Its cover is made of imitation leather with embossed lettering and a creatively designed, embossed compass. The size is perfect to set on a desk or to carry along in a bag or with one’s Bible as a companion. Many of the pages, even with the smaller size, has room enough to write a leadership idea that comes up and you don’t want to forget. The pages are coated so great for underlining and highlighting without bleed through. Two of my pet peeves with thin pages in books made for note taking and idea generation. Don’t judge, you know it bugs you too!

Plus, the price is a perfect price point for a gift. At under $20, you cannot beat the look and content you get. I worked in retail in my younger years, and we always had people coming in looking for a good gifts for their boss, pastor, or leader in their life. Hey, all you have to do it click on the link above and BOOM Amazon delivers the gift right to you (or even them). I know, but no thanks necessary. I am there for you!

Now if you are really an over-planner (it’s okay, this is a safe place to share), this is a great idea for that graduation you know is coming in May 2017! Mind Blown?!?! I know, but stay calm. *Digital Hi-Five*

So do yourself a favor or get that leader in your life a worthy gift. I have yet to go wrong with a Maxwell book to my leader friendships and now they have one that’s just perfect for gifting.

So lead on and lead happy!

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