#256: What to Do When You Have to Say, “You’re Fired!” (Part II)

What to do when you have to say, “You’re Fired!!” Last week we looked at whether a Christian should always forgive and never fire, or if there were circumstances that demand terminating an employee.

Fire, Terimnate

If you missed last week’s discussion, you can read it here.

Before making the termination decision, the Christian manager needs to have taken appropriate measures to bring an underperformer’s results up to acceptable levels. In the case of suspected fraud or other deception, the Christian manager needs to confirm the offense to a certainty.

This week we’ll look at the decision to terminate and how to handle that dreaded discussion that precedes the words, “You’re Fired!”

1) Know the law.

There are federal, state, and often, local statutes governing the dismissal of an employee. A Christian leader respects man’s law (Romans 13:1-5). In the U.S., under “employment at will” statutes, employers have the right to dismiss employees for any reason except when in violation of anti-discrimination or contract law.

2) Fire early.

My preference is to conduct the termination discussion early in the day and early in the week. The reason is simply so the employee can get busy moving on. I know some managers who prefer to fire employees on a Friday, but I think this just gives the employee a whole weekend to stew and stress-out before they can begin to move on with a job search.

3) Fire in private.

Conduct termination meetings in private. There is no need to embarrass an employee with a public dismissal. Jesus told the disciples to deal with people’s sin in private whenever possible (Matthew 18:15-17).

4) Keep it short.

Get all your facts together beforehand and be prepared to deliver a concise description of the issues.  Getting into a long discussion can turn into a debate that ultimately leads to frustration. Solomon said a wise man limits his words and restrains his lips (Proverbs 10:19).

5) Avoid arguing.

Some employees will try to fend off what they know is coming by shifting blame to others, blaming management, or even denying the issues. Avoid arguing with the employee. Arguing only serves to escalate the situation. Remember, Solomon’s advice about a gentle answer turning away wrath (Proverbs 15:1).

6) Offer an option.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to offer an employee the opportunity to resign rather than being fired. The option to resign allows the employee to save face and is most appropriate when the cause of the dismissal is performance related. I am less inclined to make the offer to resign when the termination is “for cause” (theft, falsifying records, etc.).

7) Be prepared.

Know the benefits that are due the employee. Is there accrued vacation time? Carry-over health benefits? Severance pay? Have all the facts and figures readily available to conclude the termination discussion.

8) Be humble and full of grace.

Regardless of the cause of the termination, Christian leaders need to approach an employee termination with humble hearts full of grace. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and need to consider how we would want to be treated if the shoe was ever on the other foot (Luke 6:31).

Every manager with employees will eventually face the decision to fire an employee We are commanded to be good stewards, and that includes our businesses as well as our ministries. We are not being good stewards of people’s God-given talents if we allow them to languish in a position that does not fit them well. We are not being good stewards if we allow a deceitful person to squander the resources of the organization.

Being a good steward requires that we be prepared to terminate employees, but when the need arises, we need to reflect a balance between God’s law and God’s grace.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What experiences good or bad do you have with terminating employees?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Management of Human Resources

 

 

 

#255: What to Do When You Have to Say, “You’re Fired!”

I think any manager with a beating heart will tell you one of the hardest (if not the hardest) things they have ever had to do was to fire an employee. All the HR training in the world doesn’t prepare you for the flood of emotions that come along with the words, “You’re fired!”

Fired
Many thanks to Cody L. for asking this question about the Biblical principles surrounding the termination of employees.

Harold

Just a few days before Christmas I drove to Harold’s house early in the morning. I had to pick up his company car, and all his company supplies and records. Harold had falsified his sales results saying he had been making sales calls when he was relaxing at home. I had fired Harold the day before.

As a young manager, firing Harold was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do. He was married. He had children. It was just before Christmas.  But he admitted falsifying records, so a “for cause” termination was my only course of action.

Kahlani

I picked up my boss long before the sun came up and we drove 150 miles north to meet Kahlani. Kahlani’s previous boss noted her lagging sales performance and tried to get her results up to par. She talked a good game—she said she wanted to do well—but she didn’t improve.

When I took over as her manager, I had no choice but to put her on formal probation. For three months, I worked with her regularly to help improve her sales skills. But she just didn’t improve.

As I drove north with my boss, I knew this would be a tough meeting. I had to tell Kahlani she had not met the requirements of her probation. As a result, I was terminating her employment.

As expected, the meeting with Kahlani was difficult. As my boss and I talked through her history of poor results, she finally confessed she didn’t like sales all that much. As we left her, she thanked us for the opportunity to work for a good company, for the time we had invested in helping her, and mostly, for freeing her to move on. It turns out she had wanted to quit for some time but didn’t have the courage.

Whether it is for cause, as it was with Harold, or because of poor performance, as it was with Kahlani, terminating an employee is tough.

Is There a Biblical Basis for Firing?

Christian leaders seem to have an especially hard time terminating an employee. They wonder, “How can I reconcile terminating an employee with God’s call to forgive?” There are many verses, from both the Old and New Testament, that support the call to forgiveness. Here are two examples:

“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).

So, if we are to forgive, how can we justify terminating an employee?

While the Scripture does not specifically mention terminating an employee, there are a number of verses that speak to the issue of removing certain individuals because of their behavior.

For example,

Proverbs 22:10 tells us to Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.”

And,

Proverbs 25:5 advises we remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.”

Finally, in 1 Corinthians 5, Paul chastises the Corinthians for boasting about allowing a sexually immoral man to remain in the church. He warned them that such immorality could spread and needs to be dealt with immediately.

“Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:6-7).

Resolving the Tension

There is tension between these Biblical teachings. On the one hand, we are called to be forgiving. On the other hand, we also have a responsibility to discipline bad behavior up to and including firing the offender.

How do we resolve the tension between these Biblical teachings?

We must balance law and grace.

We must reflect God’s grace as we help those who are struggling to perform at acceptable levels.

We must also protect the organization by taking immediate action with those whose behavior brings harm to the organization.

Next week we’ll examine more specifics on handling the termination interview in “What to Do When You Have to Say, “You’re Fired!” (Part II)

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What experiences good or bad do you have with terminating employees?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Management of Human Resources

 

 

 

#254: The Most Important Goal You Forgot to Set

Happy New Year! 2017 is in our rear-view mirror. 2018 lies ahead, all shiny and new, ready to be explored.

Goal Rest

It is the time of year when many of us obsessive-compulsives set new goals for ourselves. Our goals have us reaching higher, climbing faster, and going where no man has gone before. We set goals for our careers, our relationships, our physical fitness, and a plethora of other things.

But most of us forget to set one important goal. And this goal is critical. Because failing at this goal almost always causes us to fail at the career goals, the relationship goals, the fitness goals, and all the others.

Here’s How Things Usually Go

We spend a few minutes reflecting on the year just past. We determine to make the next year the best year ever by setting new goals that represent all our dreams and aspirations. Once the goals are memorialized in our new productivity planners, we put our heads down and get to work. We charge ahead. We give every goal 110% effort.

We reach higher. Climb faster. And go where no man has gone before.

And then suddenly, without warning, we’re lost. We’re exhausted and completed stressed out. Amidst a forest of competing demands, we can no longer see the goal off in the distance. We may not even remember why we set the goal in the first place!

We give up and commit to doing better with our goals next year! And all this happens by the end of January!

What happened?

We forgot to set the most important goal!

The Most Important Goal

When God finished the work of creation what did He do? He rested! This theme of rest occurs throughout the Scripture. God ordained special celebrations when His people were to abstain from all work to rest and worship Him. Even the land was allowed to rest a full year every seven years!

As we jump to the New Testament Jesus continues to underscore the importance of rest. Preaching to the crowds, Jesus said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

Who, these days, is not weary and burdened? Jesus invited all us who are weary and burdened to come to Him, and in Him, He promised rest for our souls.

Easy to say, quite a bit harder to live out in our daily lives. We don’t have rest training in school, and our employers certainly don’t offer weekend seminars on resting!

But if we want to be the people God designed us to be, we need to do what He has designed us to do.

I love the way author Gwen Smith defines the acronym R.E.S.T. in her article, “God’s Best Requires Rest.”

  • Reflect
  • Engage
  • Surrender
  • Trust

Reflect

Gwen says, “When you reflect on God, you better reflect God.” The truth of the matter is, most of us are so busy we don’t spend much time outside of church reflecting on the magnificence of our Creator!

Engage

Engage with God on a personal level. Pray. Meditate on God’s Word. Paul said if we tell God about everything, then He will give us peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

Surrender

Surrender your will to God’s will. Remember what Jesus said as He prayed in the Garden of Eden? He said, “…not my will but thy will be done (Luke 22:42)! On His way to the cross, Jesus remained completely surrendered to the Father’s will.

Trust

Trust God. Life can be messy, dangerous, disappointing, and terrifying. But we must trust God’s promise, “…we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Establish Your R.E.S.T. Goal

Get out your planner, or wherever you have your goals written down, and add a R.E.S.T. goal.

And just to get you pointed in the right direction consider the following:

  • Daily: 30 minutes of rest. I know this one is hard. You’re not used to doing it. You tell yourself you don’t have time. But you need to make time! Take 30 minutes every day to rest. Go for a walk in a park or at the beach. Spend some time thinking about God’s grace in your life. Decompress from all the other stress in your life!
  • Weekly: Sabbath of rest. I checked, and Commandment number 4 is still in the Bible (Exodus 20:8). So, take one day a week and rest in the Lord. Keep the day Holy to the Lord. Don’t trade company email, major housework, or remodeling projects for rest. R.E.S.T. one day. It’s part of God’s plan for us.
  • Quarterly: Two days of rest. Plan a weekend away. No work. Shut off all your electronic devices. Take your Bible and maybe a notepad. Or maybe a good Christian book. Practice R.E.S.T.
  • Annually: A full week of rest. Schedule it. Make it happen. Go somewhere. Explore God’s magnificent creation. Go on walks. Get away from work and the stresses that surround you at home. Reflect. Engage. Surrender. Trust.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. How do you practice R.E.S.T.? What ideas can you share that have worked for you?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

 

 

 

 

#253: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Those of you who have been with me for at least a year know I love Christmas hymns. Most years, Christmas music starts being played on the radio and in stores right after Thanksgiving. But this year, I heard my first Christmas music, a hymn no less, right after Halloween (how apropos!).

Angels Sing

One of my favorite hymns is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Charles Wesley wrote this beautiful, theologically rich hymn in 1739. George Whitfield made a change to the opening verse in 1753. Over the years, other changes included shortening the hymn from its original ten stanzas to the three we commonly see today.

Despite the changes, this hymn retains its beautiful, powerful message just as it was when it was proclaimed by Wesley some 278 years ago.

Our Savior is Born

In the first stanza, Wesley begins with a direct reference to the angels of God announcing the birth of our Savior from Luke 2:14 (note the quotation marks in the second and third lines). Our Savior will bring peace on earth and reconcile God and sinful man. All nations should be joyful as they proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Jesus is our Emanuel!

In the second stanza, Wesley proclaims Christ Jesus as our eternal, everlasting Lord. Born of a virgin, He is God incarnate in the flesh of a man.

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Praise the Prince of Peace

In the third stanza, Wesley offers praise for Christ, the righteous Savior of man, who lived and died and rose again. He was born to bring salvation to mankind through the glory of His sinless life.

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Let us be especially mindful of the great sacrifice that our Lord and Savior endured on our behalf so that we might have the assurance of eternal life.

No greater sacrifice has ever been made.

No greater gift has ever been given.

My Christmas prayer for you is that the love of God and His peace will be with you always.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! by the Celtic Women live at the Helix in Dublin

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What is your favorite Christmas hymn and what special meaning does it have for you?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

#252: You Can Run, but You Cannot Really Hide

I was 7 or 8 years old when I was down on the farm for the summer helping my grandfather.

Run Hide

We had to move the cows into the barn to be fed. One of the young calves was being stubborn. Grandpa said to leave her in the pen while he took the rest of the cows up to the barn. But I decided I would be helpful and move the calf for him.

It’s surprising how strong a young calf can be! She got away from me running all over the barnyard. I knew I was in trouble for disobeying grandpa.

I left the calf and ran into the house, past my grandmother cooking dinner, into my bedroom and under the covers I went.

When Grandpa finished his chores, he came inside wondering where I was. I’m pretty sure he could see the lump under the covers and knew where I was.

He never said a word about that calf or my disobeying him.

He loved me, and I suspect he knew I had learned my lesson.

Sometimes we do the same thing with God. We disobey and run away thinking we can hide from God. But can we really?

Adam and Eve Hid

Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Remember the “don’t eat the apple” instruction (Genesis 3)? After they ate the apple, Adam and Eve were ashamed, and they tried to hide in the Garden of Eden. God called out to them, “Where are you.” Just like my Grandpa, God already knew where they were. He knew they were hiding because they were ashamed.

Jonah Hid

Trying to hide didn’t work out well for Jonah either (Jonah 1). God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach a message of repentance to the Ninevites. Jonah didn’t like the Ninevites, so he didn’t want to do what God told him to do. Instead, he ran the opposite direction and jumped on the nearest ship sailing as far away from Nineveh as he could get.

You know what happened to Jonah. Jonah had to spend three days in the belly of a fish before he finally repented and did what God asked him to do.

We Can Run but Can We Really Hide?

I thought I was hiding under the covers. Adam and Eve thought they were hiding in the Garden. Jonah thought he was hiding in the ship.

We think we are hiding but can we really hide from God? God is both omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time).

David wrote about our all-knowing, ever-present God in Psalm 139.

1 LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2  You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.
3  You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways.
4  Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, LORD.
5  You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.
6  ⌊This⌋ extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to ⌊reach⌋ it.
7  Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?
8  If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
9  If I live at the eastern horizon ⌊or⌋ settle at the western limits,
10  even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me.
11  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light around me will be night”—
12  even the darkness is not dark to You. The night shines like the day; darkness and light are alike to You.
13  For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14  I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know ⌊this⌋ very well. Psalm 139:1-14 (HCSB)

God knows where we are. He knows our thoughts. He knows what we are going to say before we even say it. There is nowhere we can go that we can escape the spirit of God. From the heights of heaven to the depths of hell. God is there.

Where Are You Hiding?

You and I are too old to hide under the covers. The forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden is gone. No ships are sailing away from Nineveh.

But, there are still plenty of ways we try to hide from God today.

  • We try to hide at work. We avoid doing what God has called us to do because we are too busy advancing our careers.
  • We try to hide in our families. We use our families as an excuse not to make time for God.
  • We try to hide in our leisure time. We work hard, so we convince ourselves we deserve this extra leisure time. Surely God doesn’t want me to stress out and work ALL the time!
  • We try to hide doing ministry work. Yes, we are super busy doing ministry work, but are we doing the work God has called us to do?

Leaders, let’s examine our lives to ensure we are not hiding from God. God specifically called each and every one of us to do a specific work in the Kingdom. We might try to run, but we cannot really hide from God.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Are you hiding from God in some area of your life?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

#251: Do Real Leaders Emerge in the Midst of a Crisis?

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Do real leaders emerge in the midst of a crisis? Well, if your definition of leadership includes courage and zeal, then yes, many real leaders emerge during a crisis.

Crisis Leader

In this month’s Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known, let’s look at Phinehas (aka Phineas), a leader of courage and zeal who saved the nation of Israel from God’s wrath (Numbers 25).

Israel’s Exodus Fall

During their march to the Promised Land, the Israelites camped at the border of Moab. Eventually, the men of Israel started to have sex with the women of Moab. The Israelite men turned away from God and followed the false gods of the Moabite women.

Not surprisingly, God was furious. He told Moses to have all these men executed to purify the camp. Moses then told the judges to have all the men who had turned away from God killed.

Before the order was carried out, Zimri, a high-ranking Israelite, defied Moses by bringing a Moabite princess into the camp. Zimri brought her right past Moses and the Tent of Meeting (where God met Moses) and into his tent where he planned to have sex with her.

Phinehas Takes Action

Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, the high priest, saw what Zimri had done. Phinehas jumped up, grabbed his spear, followed Zimri into his tent, and killed Zimri and the Moabite woman.

Phinehas’ quick action, courage, and zeal for God appeased God’s wrath. A plague that had settled over the camp of Israel stopped, but not before 24,000 Israelites died.

God made a covenant of peace with Phinehas and Phinehas became the third high priest in Israel, all because he had appeased God’s wrath.

4 Lessons for Leaders in a Crisis

1. Beware the temptation. Israel had camped right on the border with the Moabites who worshipped foreign gods. The Moabites plotted against the Israelites and were able to cause many to turn away from God by appealing to the carnal nature of the men.

The lesson for us. As leaders, we need to be particularly aware of areas of temptation for us and those whom we lead. You can’t expect to live next to temptation and not be tempted.

2. The leaders saw it and did not respond. Moses, Aaron, and the Israelite leaders saw what the men were doing with the Moabite women. They knew the men were turning away from God and worshipping the gods of the Moabites. Yet, they did nothing!

The lesson for us. As leaders when we see folks being tempted we need to take whatever measures are necessary to remove the temptation.

3. There is a time to act! The Bible says after God gave Moses the instructions and as the plague was taking lives, Moses, Aaron, and the Israelite leaders were sitting in an assembly outside the Tent of Meeting crying. Moses delegated the authority to act to the judges, but no one had acted on God’s instructions.

The lesson for us. When God gives us instructions, whether in prayer or through His Word, we need to act. The time for sitting around in a meeting bemoaning our fate is over. As leaders, we are responsible for the people we lead, so act! Now!

4. Be courageous. Leaders do not sit idly by while people turn away from God in sin. Godly leaders move with the courage and zeal of God.

The lesson for us. If the appointed leaders don’t take action, then we must. As leaders, we must take action to save our brothers and sisters from the sin that causes them to turn away from God.

We have the same kinds of temptations surrounding us today as the people of Israel did then. The appeal to our carnal sin nature is just as strong. The temptation to turn away from God and into sin is just as prevalent.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to care for the flocks that God has entrusted to us.  We need to be leaders filled with courage and zeal for the Lord.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What did you take away from the actions of Phinehas in response to this crisis that you can apply to your life?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Obedience to God

#250: Is Mentoring A Rewarding Strategic Choice Today?

Plus Bonus Whitepaper

The idea of mentoring is not new. Mentor was a character in Homer’s Odyssey. As a friend of King Odysseus, Mentor was given the job of teaching and caring for the king’s son, Telemachus.

Mentoring Strategic Choice

Mentor may have provided the name, but the concept had been around for a long time. Examples of mentoring are found throughout the text of the Bible. The first example is in Genesis; God is mentoring Adam. Moses mentored Joshua. Elijah mentored Elisha. Barnabas mentored Mark and Paul. Biblical examples of mentoring are not exclusive to men; Naomi mentored Ruth, and Elizabeth mentored Mary. Jesus mentored the twelve disciples.

Today’s business is in need of a resurgence of strong mentoring systems. Discouraged and disgruntled employees hop from one job to the next looking for work that is intellectually stimulating, fun, and economically rewarding.

Nothing will stop some employees from job-hopping, but a strong mentoring system can reduce turnover by increasing job satisfaction and productivity among current employees.

Mentoring as a Strategic Choice

As a leader, manager, or professional you must understand that mentoring is a strategic choice.

A good mentoring system does not happen by coincidence. You must take care to create a mentoring system, nurture it, and build it into the culture of your organization. Mentoring must become a part of the weave of the fabric of your corporate culture. If you are not willing to do whatever is necessary to create and protect an environment where mentoring can exist, then you would be better off not to start.

The Mentoring Relationship

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines a mentor as, “a trusted counselor or guide, a coach, a tutor.” The phrase “a trusted counselor” is key. It defines the relationship between mentor and mentee as one in which there is a bond of trust. Also, a “counselor’s” role is to provide guidance – not remold the mentee into their likeness.

The relationship between mentor and mentee is similar to that between a teacher and student. A teacher seeks to educate a group of students. A teacher is judged successful if they can impart knowledge to the student. The student “trusts” that they are receiving accurate and timely information.

As a mentee, you should look for a mentor who:

  • Is someone you can admire.
  • Is someone who believes in the importance of people.
  • Is someone who believes in and is committed to the mentoring relationship.
  • Is someone who has a positive outlook.
  • Is someone who can provide experience, perspective, and guidance.

As a mentor, you should look for a mentee who:

  • Is someone who is willing, and teachable.
  • Is someone who can apply what they are learning.
  • Is someone who is committed to the mentoring relationship.
  • Is someone who will respect you as a mentor.
  • Is someone who will be accountable.

These ten points can be summarized as mutual respect, wholehearted commitment to each other, the willingness to teach, the willingness to learn, and accountability.

One Final Thought

Building a mentoring system will not be an easy task. It will require careful thought and delicate nurturing. But if you succeed, you will have happier, more productive employees and managers.

Jesus was a mentor to the disciples. We should be mentors. Encourage someone else to do works greater than yours.

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, Mentoring — A Lifestyle for Growth.”

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of mentoring, including:

  • A broader discussion of the mentoring relationship,
  • The five essential attributes of a mentor,
  • The importance of allowing a mentee to fail, and
  • Six steps to help you start a formal mentoring program.

You can download the whitepaper here: Mentoring — A Lifestyle for Growth.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you participated in a formal or informal mentoring program as a mentor/mentee? How did that relationship help/hurt performance?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Skills | Human Resource Development

#249: Why Do We Pray As A Last Resort?

Your business is crashing. Competitors have stolen your best customers. Your last product launch didn’t deliver. Employees are stealing from you. Creditors are starting to call demanding payments you can’t make.

Pray

Finally, someone close to you says, “Well, all you can do now is pray.”

The world as you know it is coming to an end. You’ve tried everything you can think of. Done everything humanly possible. And now all you can do is pray.

Really? Has it come to that?

Why is it we exhaust ourselves trying to solve worldly problems and only turn to God as a last resort?

I wish I knew! In my case, it’s usually a combination of stubbornness and pride. I just want to fix everything on my own. For some reason, it’s a sign of weakness to admit that I can’t do everything myself and I need God.

But here’s the thing. I know better! I know God stands beside me, ready to help in my moments of my greatest need. He’s just waiting for me to ask!

I did a quick study of the New Testament and found seven instances where Jesus makes a promise to help us when we ask!

  • If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 & Luke 11:13)
  • Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:19)
  • And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (Matthew 21:22)
  • If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14)
  • If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7)
  • In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. (John 16:23)
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given. (James 1:5)

Now let’s be perfectly clear. God is not like a genie in a bottle that you rub and get three wishes.

Notice the qualifiers in these verses.

  • God gives us good things. Not everything we ask for is good. It may seem good to us, but in the grand scheme of eternity, many things we ask for are not good for us. We just don’t realize it!
  • Ask in prayer, receive by faith. Coming to God in prayer is only the first step. We must have faith that God will answer our prayer.
  • Ask in Jesus’ name. Jesus is our mediator representing us to the Father. Jesus is where the power of prayer lies.
  • Abide in me. My words abide in you. Abide is an unusual word in our vocabulary. Its’ use here means to “stay in a given place, state, relation or expectancy.” The sense here is we are staying in Christ and have His words staying in us.

We need to be close to God as we pray expectantly, by faith, in the power of Jesus’ name.

So, don’t wait until a situation becomes dire and someone says, “Well, all we can do now is pray.”

Instead, make sure that as a leader, you have been praying for your work, your business, your ministry all along.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Do you pray as a last resort or are you a leader who comes to the Lord in prayer on a regular basis? Have you committed your work/business/ministry/life to God in prayer?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character

#248: Gratitude is Way More Than an Attitude

It is Thanksgiving week here in America. A week in which many of us take a few days of vacation, come together with family, eat too much turkey and stuffing, and perhaps watch a football game on television.

Gratitude Attitude

But this is not how it always was.

Thanksgiving started back in 1621 when the Pilgrims gathered together to thank God for His provenance and blessing in their lives.

Our focus on Thanksgiving certainly has changed.

When I was younger, we used to celebrate Thanksgiving in schools with children dressed in handmade costumes reenacting that first Thanksgiving (including the prayers).

Television sitcoms portrayed families gathering around the Thanksgiving table and praying as they gave thanks to God.

Not to be left out, Hollywood produced full-length movies celebrating Thanksgiving. There was A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving.

Today, Thanksgiving is just another holiday sandwiched between Halloween and the real main retailer event, Christmas.

But is that all there is to it? Is it just a day where we permit ourselves to grab another helping of mashed potatoes and another piece of pumpkin pie before we curl up on the couch for a food coma nap?

Or is it time to shift our focus once again and spend time thanking God for what He has given us?

And if so, in what way should our gratitude toward God come to life?

I’d like to propose gratitude toward God is way more than an attitude.

Gratitude Is a Decision Coupled to an Action

When Jesus cured ten lepers of their disease, one of them turned back glorifying God (decision) and fell on his face giving thanks (action).

“Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him” (Luke 17:15-16).

Gratitude Draws Us Closer to God

James, writing to the Christians throughout the land admonished them saying God opposed the proud but gives grace to the humble.

“…God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Gratitude Is an Act of Humility

Continuing, James reminds Christians to be humble because God exalts the humble.

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” (James 4:10).

Gratitude is God’s Will for Us

Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul said giving thanks to God is God’s will for us.

“in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Yes, it is vital that we be thankful to God by expressing our gratitude to Him. But our gratitude is far more than an attitude. It is a decision coupled with action. It is an act of humility that draws us closer to God. And most important, gratitude is God’s will.

So, this Thanksgiving let’s celebrate God’s provenance and His blessings. Let’s not forget that our gratitude toward God is way more than an attitude!

Many Thanks to Pastor Chris Brown of North Coast Church in Vista whose sermon, “The Nine Guys Who Missed Thanksgiving” gave me the idea and foundation for this week’s blog.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What does Thanksgiving mean to you and your family? Is your gratitude to God more than an attitude of thanksgiving?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Priorities

#247: Faithless Whiners and Complainers Need Not Apply

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Have you ever experienced times when you felt like you were surrounded by whiners, complainers, and people who had no faith in you or your leadership?

Faithless Whiners

Me too!

I think all of us who have been in positions of leadership for any length of time have experienced the whiners, the complainers, and the faithless.

If you think your situation was bad, imagine what Moses was going through as he led some 4 million people out of Egypt on the way to the Promised Land. They were only gone a few days, and the people started whining about one thing after another.

  • They complained about the taste of the water (Exodus 15:23).
  • They complained about being hungry (Exodus 16:2-3).
  • Then they complained about being thirsty (Exodus 17:1-4).

Despite the miracle of being led through the Red Sea, the water being purified, the mana being provided every day, and the water flowing from the rock, they doubted God and Moses.

But Not Everyone

As leaders, it sometimes seems like we are standing alone, but that is seldom the case. It wasn’t the case for Moses either.

About a year after they left Egypt, God gave Moses detailed instructions for the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 25-30). But who will do all the work? Not these faithless whiners and complainers!

Yet, where God leads He provides, and God knew exactly who He wanted to build the Tabernacle. Enter Bezalel, from the tribe of Judah, whom God personally chose and appointed to supervise the work of building the Tabernacle (Exodus 31:1 & 35:30).

What made Bezalel so special? According to Exodus 35:30-34 Bezalel was:

  • Filled with the Spirit of God,
  • Skilled,
  • Intelligent,
  • Knowledgeable, and
  • Inspired.

When you think about a resume for a great leader, this is about as good as it gets!

How’s My Leadership Scorecard?

When I look in the mirror and honestly assess myself against these leadership qualifications, I feel woefully inadequate.

  • Am I as Spirit-filled as I could be? No. I often feel I should spend more time reading and studying the Scripture. I feel my prayer life is not as strong as it should be.
  • Am I skilled as I could be? Nope. I always feel like there are things I need to do to improve my skillsets.
  • Am I as Intelligent as I could be? Well, this one is out of my control. But the bigger question is, am I using what intelligence the Lord gave me in ways that honor Him?
  • Am I as knowledgeable as I could be? Again, no. As fast as the world is changing there is always something new to learn.
  • Am I inspired? Finally! Something I can say yes to! God called me to this ministry at this time in my life. I feel privileged to get up every day and do what I am doing!

So, here’s the thing. God chooses whom He chooses, but whom the Lord chooses, He qualifies (1 Thessalonians 5:24). God has called each of us to a specific work, and He has equipped us for that work.

In conclusion, the most important thing for us as Christians who are also called to leadership is

1) to be filled with the Spirit of God, and

2) to be skilled, intelligent, knowledgeable, and inspired

as we apply the gifts and talents, God has given us to our daily work and ministry.

Faithless whiners and complainers need not apply!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. How do you rate yourself against each of the leadership characteristics God attributed to Bezalel? Are there some where you have room for improvement?

I’d love your help. This blog is read primarily because people like you share it with friends. Would you share it by pressing one of the share buttons below?

 

Category: Personal Development | Character