Employees come in all shapes and sizes. Employees are different. Employees have different expectations. And most importantly, employees have different needs.
Some of the managers I met over the course of my career didn’t seem to have a clue that everyone didn’t think and act the way they did. They were oblivious to the needs of the employees who worked for them.
Sadly, I was one of those kinds of managers early on in my career before I became a Christian. I was focused on what worked for me and didn’t really think too much about the employees who worked for me, or how their needs might be different than my own.
Then I ran into this passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus is teaching the disciples about what will happen in the end times. The Lord will divide nations into two groups that He referred to as goats and sheep. The sheep are referred to as righteous because they cared for the people in different ways (feeding them, giving them something to drink, clothing them, providing hospitality, caring for the sick, and even visiting those in prison (vv. 35-36)). This care for others, Jesus said, is like caring for Him, because these people are part of His family.
Some of you may be thinking, “OK, but what does this have to do with being a leader in the business world?” To that, I say, “Everything!” “Our employees ARE these people.” Yes, Jesus was teaching the disciples about ministry, but that Word today is for all of us who call ourselves children of God. If we claim to believers in Jesus Christ, then we must follow His teaching in all aspects of our lives. There is no secular life separate from our life of service to Christ.
So if you have been given the privilege of leading others, you bear a greater responsibility to also care for them.
Mark 1:31 describes a scene in which Jesus left the synagogue and journeyed to Simon’s house. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed. Jesus went to her, took her by the hand, and helped her up. In this case, Jesus cared, not for one of his followers, but for someone that was important to one of his followers, his mother-in-law.
Jesus didn’t ignore her as though he was too busy and had other things to do. He stopped and helped. Jesus didn’t instruct someone else to help her, he got personally involved by going to her and helping her up.
Jesus modeled how we, as leaders, should respond to and care for our employees.
Be Sensitive to the Need
Jesus didn’t presume to be too busy or too important to help. He was a sensitive leader whose heart recognized someone who needed help.
Be a Role Model
Jesus didn’t delegate this task. He was a role model to the disciples showing them how to care for someone in need.
Be Personally Involved
Jesus personally went to the woman and took her by the hand to help her.
Be Willing to Meet the Need
Jesus was willing to meet the woman’s need. She needed healing and that is what He provided. Jesus didn’t offer her a coat, or some food, but met the need she had.
This last semester, I had a student who was engaging and bright. All of a sudden her countenance was downcast, her work lacked the polish it had previously. After class, I asked her about it, and she confessed to being in the midst of a great personal family trial. I told her to focus on doing what she could to help her family. I also offered to give her more time to redo an assignment and provide some due date grace on others.
She struggled with her family issue for a time, but knowing that I cared about her and her family gave her a peace of mind and a renewed spirit.
Sometimes all we need to do is listen and be the vehicle that provides God’s grace and reassurance. Sometimes the need is simple, sometimes it is not. Regardless, God has called us, as leaders, to care for his children, our employees.
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you had a need met by an employer? As a leader, have you had an opportunity to minister to an employee? What was the result?
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Category: Relationships | Servant Leadership