#239: The Woman Who Overcame Evil with Good

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

On more than one occasion during my teenage years my mother, all 100-lbs of her, would have to step between my hot-headed father and me until cooler heads prevailed. Mom was always the level-headed, even-tempered one in our family.

Abigail

My mother’s actions that brought about peace in the family remind me of the Biblical account of Abigail recorded in 1 Samuel 25. There is much we can learn about leadership from mom and Abigail.

A Tense Confrontation

We are introduced to Abigail after a nasty confrontation between David’s men and her foolish husband, Nabal.

David and his army of 600 men had spent the year patrolling the area of Israel around where Nabal lived. They had protected Nabal’s servants, his sheep, and his crops. During harvest time, David sent 10-men off to Nabal to ask for an offering to help feed his men.

Nabal disrespected David’s men and arrogantly questioned their integrity as he refused their request and sent them away empty-handed.

David was furious when he learned of Nabal’s insults. He strapped on his sword, gathered his men, and headed off to kill all of Nabal’s household.

In the meantime, some of Nabal’s servants ran off to tell Abigail how Nabal had mistreated David’s men.

Abigail’s Wise Response

Without telling her husband, Abigail gathered up 200 loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five butchered sheep, a bushel of roasted grain, 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. She headed off with her servants to meet David.

When Abigail saw David, she knelt at his feet and took responsibility for her husband’s foolishness. She asked David to accept her gifts and forgive them for the offense.

Abigail went on to praise David, saying the Lord would give him victory in his battles and he would not have remorse over shedding Nabal’s blood needlessly.

Abigail’s Leadership Lessons

There are many leadership lessons we can take away from Abigail’s interaction with David. Here are my top five:

1) Discernment. Abigail demonstrated discernment. She realized her husband had insulted David’s men and this had the potential to cause a drastic reaction from David.

Leadership Lesson. Effective leaders need a keen sense of discernment. Solomon prayed to God to give him discernment to lead the people (1 Kings 3:9). We should do the same!

2) Immediate Action. Abigail responded immediately when the news reached her. She assembled her offering to David and set out to meet him.

Leadership Lesson. There’s a time for thinking, and there is a time for action. When a crisis looms, leaders need to take immediate action. Many times in the Bible we see leaders praying for God’s guidance then taking action!

3) Humble Nature. When Abigail met David, she got off her donkey and humbled herself by kneeling before him.

Leadership Lesson. People in tense situations tend to go on the offensive to defend their positions. A leader who is humble will diffuse most situations.

4) Soft Answer. Abigail understood the power of Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” She asked David to accept her offering, and took responsibility for her husband’s bad behavior.

Leadership Lesson. The buck stops with you, the leader. Emotional responses are diffused when you take responsibility for the situation.

5) Wise Counsel. Abigail counseled David not to take harsh action against Nabal that he would regret later. She assured him the Lord would give him victory over his enemies and he would do great things for the people of Israel if he did not shed blood needlessly.

Leadership Lesson. Once tempers have cooled, people are more open to accepting wise counsel. Leaders, take this opportunity to give counsel that builds your people and strengthens your organization.

Not every crisis can be averted, but strong leaders practice these five leadership lessons. Rate yourself on your effectiveness in each area and pick one to work on over the next month.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Which of these five leadership lessons is most important to you? Why??

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: Relationships | Healthy Alliances

#238: What Does It Take to be a Godly Leader or Follower?

Every leader I know deals with challenges to their leadership just about every day. These challenges come from the world around us, our own fleshly temptations, and the devil who would love to take us down!

Leader Follower

With so many forces coming against as leaders, it begs the question, “What does it take to be a Godly leader, or for that matter, a Godly follower?

The Apostle Peter warned of these very dangers in 1 Peter 5. Although Peter was addressing his fellow elders in the church, his warnings are equally valid for us as leaders in the workplace.

Be Shepherds

Peter began by admonishing leaders to be like shepherds caring for God’s flock. Being a shepherd doesn’t mean much to most of us in the business world, but it was perfectly clear to the people Peter was addressing. They all knew what the responsibilities of a shepherd entailed.

According to Psalm 23, there are five primary responsibilities of a shepherd,

1) to lead (Psalms 23:2),

2) to provide spiritual guidance and feeding (Psalm 23:3),

3) to offer comfort (Psalm 23:4),

4) to strengthen (Psalm 23:4), and

5) to correct (Psalm 23:5).

Based on the command to be a shepherd, leaders have a lot of big responsibilities! We are to lead, and that means we are out front making decisions based on what is best for the flock. We are to be spiritual leaders that feed the flock. We are to offer comfort when and where needed, and we are to strengthen the flock. And finally, when necessary we to are correct the flock.

Right Attitude

Next, Peter said leaders must have the right attitude about leading. We should lead, he said, not because we have to but because we are eager to serve the flock. We should not seek to lead for money or to have power over others.

Peter’s admonition about Christian leaders having the right attitude stands in stark contrast to the secular worldview in which leaders seek the position for the monetary rewards and for the power that comes with leadership.

Christians are to stand apart as leaders by having the attitude of a shepherd caring for their flock.

Be an Example

Third, Peter said Christian leaders are to be an example to those we lead. The example for a Christian leader is Jesus Christ, the chief shepherd. Just as Jesus is an example for Christian leaders, Christian leaders are to be an example to their flocks.

Advice for Everyone

Peter closed out his letter with instructions for everyone, leaders, and followers.

1) Be submissive to your leaders. Peter’s point about being submissive to leaders is directed to followers, but it’s important to note that everyone follows a leader. Everyone has a boss, and everyone is ultimately accountable to God.

2) Be humble toward one another. Both leaders and followers need to be humble toward one another, because as Peter reminds them, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Proverbs 3:34).

3) Be Self-controlled and alert. Every Christian needs to be self-controlled in their own behavior. We also need to recognize that the devil is real, like a roaring lion seeking to devour those who stand for Christ. Therefore, we must remain on alert and resist the temptations of the devil.

4) Cast your cares on God. Peter reminds both leaders and followers to cast all our cares on God because He cares for us. Whatever trials, tribulations, or suffering we endure in this world are nothing compared to God’s grace and mercy.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled with any of the five elements of being a shepherd leader? Have you been a follower under a leader who was a poor example?

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: Relationships | Servant Leadership

 

#237: If You’re an Ox, Don’t Team Up with A Donkey!

The Danger of Yoked Relationships

The issue of yoked relationships in business is one of those Biblical principles that are easy to comprehend, but difficult to administer in real life.

Yoked Relationships Ox

This is especially true when a sure-fire opportunity to make an enormous amount of money comes via a partnership with a nonbeliever, and you must make a decision in the cold, hard dawn of reality: do you, or don’t you?

The verse that causes all this controversy is 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?”

So, what exactly does the phrase, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” mean? Let’s start back in Deuteronomy 22:10 where Moses instructed Israel, “Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.”

The yoke was a heavy beam that was strapped across the upper shoulders and around the neck of the animals to tie them together. The yoke was then harnessed to a plow or wagon. As the animals walked, the weight of the wagon or plow pulled on the harness through the center of the yoke between the two animals.

The selection of animals to be yoked together was given a great deal of thought. For example, animals of the same type were paired together; oxen with oxen, donkeys with donkeys.

The animals also needed to be about the same size and strength. If one animal were taller than the other, the smaller animal would bear the greater load and soon become tired. If one animal were stronger than the other, it would pull ahead of the weaker animal.

And finally, the animals needed to have a similar temperament. You were asking for trouble if you tied two strong willed animals together. One needed to be a leader, the other needed to be willing to follow.

If all these conditions were not met, the animals would be “unequally” yoked, and would not be able to get as much work done as a better-matched pair of animals.

So, what do Moses’s instructions to farmers and Paul’s to the Corinthians have to do with us in today’s business? Plenty!

What Constitutes a Yoke?

Of the sixty-six times that the Bible refers to a yoke, it is only used eight times in conjunction with animals. The other 58 times the word “yoke” is used it is regarding a burden or relationship with people and God

A yoke then is any relationship that formally ties two people together where the actions of one can directly affect another.

We have three basic legal forms in today’s business; proprietorship, partnership, and corporation. In a proprietorship with employees, there is a relationship between employees and the employer. In the corporation, there are employee/employer relationships, as well as relationships with stockholders. In the partnership, there is a relationship between the partners and the employees.

Is Partnership a Yoke?

There are at least eight legal forms of partnership. Generally speaking, they can be divided into two classifications; general and limited.

In a general partnership, partners are active or have the right to be active in the partnership. In the limited form, a partner only has an investment interest, without any right or say in the operation of the business.

General partnerships, regardless of the legal form, constitute yoked relationships because there is a formal agreement between two or more parties regarding the operation of a business. Clearly then, general partnerships constitute a yoke. Believers should avoid general partnerships with nonbelievers.

Limited partnerships do not usually constitute a yoke because the limited partner has no say in the operation of the partnership.

Is Stock Ownership a Yoke?

For most of us the answer to the question, “Is stock ownership a yoke?” is “No.” A few shares of a company held as an investment do not constitute a yoke. You could, after all, dissolve the relationship with a simple call to your broker.

But what if you hold a majority stock interest in a company and are an employee? What about a closely held corporation where there are few owners who have equal shares?

The guiding principle is this; does the relationship bind you legally to the company or other shareholders? If you have a majority stock interest and are an employee, you probably have a legal fiduciary relationship.

If in a closely held corporation, the intent is to create a relationship between shareholders for the purpose of sharing responsibilities and profits, then you have a partnership whether the word partnership was used or not.

Is the Employee/Employer Relationship a Yoke?

The employee/employer relationship does not constitute a yoke. The employer has authority over the subordinate employee.

As an employee, you need to maintain your integrity in all business relationships. As Colossians 3:23 reminds us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” Your work should be your witness to the world.

The possible exception to the employer/employee relationship as being a yoke might exist when an employee is under a contract to the employer. For example, an actor, model, consultant, etc. If an employment contract is involved, you might find yourself in a yoked relationship. Be very careful with employment contracts, and remember the guiding principle; is the purpose of the relationship a partnership?

What About Existing Relationships?

The advice to not enter into a relationship in the future is easy to take, but what about relationships you’re in already? Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians gives us some insight as he discusses what to do in a marriage relationship (1 Cor. 7:12-13), “…If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.”

The principle is if you are in a relationship with a nonbeliever you should stay in it unless the relationship threatens your spiritual values. Paul goes on to say, “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances…” (1 Cor. 7:15). If a nonbelieving partner wants to leave the partnership, you should let him.

What do you do if the nonbelieving partner is a family member, perhaps a parent, or a child? The same principles apply. If you are in a relationship that does not compromise your spiritual values, you should try to make the relationship work, “…each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him” (1 Cor. 7:18). Perhaps the relationship you’re in is just where the Lord wants you to be to accomplish His work!

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 6-page whitepaper entitled, Yoked Relationships—If You’re an Ox, Don’t Team Up With A Donkey.”

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of yoked relationships and five tips for creating a successful partnership.

You can download the whitepaper here: Yoked Relationships—If You’re an Ox, Don’t Team Up With A Donkey.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you been unequally yoked in a business relationship? If so, what made the relationship successful or what made it difficult 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: Skills |Structure/Organization

#236: Are These Trials at Work Good for Me?

In the margin of my performance review, one boss wrote, “RRK’s sense of integrity sometimes gets in the way of getting things done.” He concluded the review saying if I didn’t quit he would find a way to fire me.

Trials at work

Another boss made grand promises and sweet-talked me into joining his organization, only to renege on all his promises within two years.

Everyone I know whose career has spanned a number of years have some kind of stories of workplace trials like these. Some, sad to say, are much worse.

Can these workplace trials possibly be good for me? For us?

According to James, yes! James says these workplace trials are good for us, and furthermore, he says, we should expect them!

James, writing to the people of Israel, said, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials” (James 1:2).

Was James on some form of ancient happy juice?

He says they should be joyful whenever they experience trials? And what kind of trials is he talking about? James says these are trials that will test our faith.

Well, the Israelites had been kicked out of their land and dispersed throughout the Roman empire. So, they lost all their land, their cities, and their ability to provide for their families. They had to start over with nothing in hostile territories.

Admittedly, the workplace isn’t exactly like what James is talking about when he says we should be joyful when we encounter trials. But some of our workplaces are becoming more and more hostile territories!

What kind of trials can we expect in the workplace that will test our faith?

Types of Workplace Trials

I see three broad categories of trials:

1) People openly hostile to our Christian beliefs. These trials range from simple prejudice to limitations on career growth, or even threats of physical violence.

2) Ethical trials. These trials include our own temptation to abandon our faith and compromise our beliefs to “succeed.” They may also be pressure from outsiders to compromise our beliefs.

3) Faith shaking events. Sometimes the workplace trials we face may come events that shake our faith. Promises made are broken. We are laid off. We question how God could let these events happen to us, His faithful servants.

Each of these types of trials can test our faith and they are the ones James says we should be joyful about enduring!

The Result of Enduring

Why in the world would James say that? Because, says James, of the result. If we can manage to withstand all types of trials and maintain our faith in God, the result is endurance. When we can look back on the trials of life and see that God was always with us, this endurance helps us become spiritually mature, complete children of God (James 1:3-4).

That boss that wrote my integrity got in the way of getting things done? An executive who heard about the situation (I still don’t know how he heard) offered me a better job in a better market.

That led to me living in a neighborhood where my wife and I were led to the Lord. It’s where we met people who helped us adopt our beautiful daughter, Rebekah. That boss may have meant to harm me, but looking back, I see God’s hand directing it all to the benefit of our family.

That boss that made promises and reneged on them led me to start writing this blog reaching out to Christians leaders around the world. It may be years before I see all of God’s plan with this ministry, but one thing is clear, His hand is in it. He is in control!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What workplace trials have you endured? And looking back, do you see God’s hand leading and protecting 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 | Character

 

#235: Will God Still Use Me If I Mess Up?

Have you ever encountered someone doing something dumb during a crisis and you thought to yourself, “What in the World Was He/She Thinking?”

Jonah Mess Up

Sadly, as I look back on my life I can remember too many situations where I didn’t do what I should, and afterward said to myself, “What in the world was I thinking?”

When I became a Christian at 33-years old, these “What in the world was I thinking?” situations took on even more meaning. I thought, “Boy, I really messed up this time! Will God still use me?”

It turns out there are quite a few people whose story of messing up is recorded in the Bible.

One of the big mess up’s is Jonah.

Jonah’s Big Mess Up

Jonah was a prophet of God. His job was to bring God’s messages to whomever God told him. God spoke directly to Jonah and directed him to go to Nineveh to preach a message of repentance to the Ninevites.

God said, “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me” (Jonah 1:2). There is no ambiguity in this command. Jonah, get up and go preach to the Ninevites.

What does Jonah do? He thumbs his nose at God and jumps on the closest ship headed in the opposite direction. Jonah rebelled against God.

How often does God call us and we rebel, and head off in the opposite direction?

God caused a big storm on the sea that threatened to sink the ship. Jonah realized the storm was his fault, so the sailors on the ship ended up throwing Jonah overboard.

How often do storms come into our life after we rebel against God?

But here is the amazing thing. Despite his rebellion against God, God hasn’t abandoned Jonah. God is watching out for him. God has a large fish swallow Jonah, and Jonah has an uncomfortable three days in the belly of the fish to think about what his rebellion has cost him.

Jonah’s Redemption

Jonah finally prays to God asking to be saved and forgiven. He repents of his rebellion.

Immediately God forgives him and has the fish vomit Jonah up on the shore. Hopefully, Jonah grabs a shower somewhere and puts on a clean set of clothes because God is not done with Jonah yet!

God speaks to Jonah a second time saying,Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you” (Jonah 3:2).

With this command, God has restored Jonah to his previous mission, to go and preach to the people of Nineveh.

This time Jonah does what God has told him to do. Jonah puts on his big boy pants and heads off to preach against the dreaded Ninevites.

Jonah rebelled against God. He refused to do the one thing God had called him to do.

Jonah repented of his rebellion against God and prayed for a second chance.

God restored Jonah.

I have rebelled against God. At times, I have refused to do what I feel He has called me to do. But I take comfort knowing that if I repent of my rebellion, like Jonah, God in His mercy will restore me. He will give me a second chance to do His will.

I take great comfort knowing that those future “What in the world was I thinking?” mess ups don’t mean that God is done with me or that He won’t use me. It just means I need to get back to Him as quickly as I can!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you had, “What in the world was I thinking?” mess ups in your life? Have you repented of your rebellion and been restored by God?

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

#234: The Young Leader Who Lived Through Peace, Prosperity, Reformation, and Disaster

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Imagine turning a large company over to an 8-year old to run. A third grader! You wouldn’t do it, would you?!

Josiah Leader

Now, imagine turning a whole nation over to an 8-year old king? Well, that’s exactly what happened to young Josiah. He was made king over Israel when he was 8-years old after his father, Amon, was assassinated.

Fortunately, Josiah had two Godly people who shaped his young life; his mother, Jedidah, and Hilkiah, the high priest.

There’s a lot we can learn from this young king that parallels many of the situations we face as leaders today. His story is recorded in 2 Kings 22-23 and 2 Chronicles 34-35.

Peace & Prosperity

Josiah’s 31-year rule as king occurred during an unusual period. The Assyrian empire was in decline, and the Babylonian empire had not yet become a world power. The ebb and flow of power between the Assyrians and the Babylonians meant the Israelites had a time of relative peace in which they could govern themselves and pursue their trades.

Reformation

When he was 16-years old, Josiah turned away from the evil ways of his father and turned to God. When he was 20-years old, he began a campaign to rid Judah and Jerusalem of foreign idols and altars.

When Josiah was 26-years old, he ordered the cleansing and repair of the Lord’s temple. A copy of the Book of the Law was found in the temple and read to Josiah. He realized how far the people had fallen away from God. Josiah assembled the leaders, and before the people, made a covenant with God to follow all of God’s commands. All the people of Judah entered into the covenant with Josiah to follow God.

Disaster

When Josiah was 39-years old, God instructed Neco, Pharaoh of Egypt, to march to the Euphrates to help the Assyrians in Battle against the Babylonians. Josiah went out with his army to confront Neco. Neco warned Josiah not to oppose God by engaging in a battle with him. Instead of heeding Neco’s warning, Josiah went into battle and was killed. Josiah’s death ended Judah’s 31-year period of peace and self-rule. They were conquered and ruled by the Egyptians, then the Babylonians.

The people of Judah endured four bad kings in a row for nearly 23 years until Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians and the people of Jerusalem were exiled.

Leadership Lessons for Us

Among the many lessons we might learn from the life and reign of King Josiah, here are my top five:

1) Godly Advisors. Josiah was indeed fortunate that he had two Godly advisors who helped shaped his young life. The important thing here is that Josiah listened to them and became a man after God’s own heart.

Leader Lesson. Surround yourself with Godly men and women who can give you sound counsel and listen to them!

2) Seek the Lord. Josiah made a personal decision to follow the Lord.

Leader Lesson. It is not enough to have Godly men and women speak into our lives. We must each make a personal decision to follow God.

3) Courage. Josiah was only a young man, but he had the courage to rid the country of the foreign idols and altars that had been allowed by his father and grandfather.

Leader Lesson. There will be times in each of our lives when we must have the courage to stand against the tide of public opinion when it is contrary to God’s will for us.

4) Humbled Himself. When Josiah heard the words of the Lord read from the Book of the Law, he humbled himself and vowed to follow all the Lord’s decrees.

Leader Lesson. A position of power or prestige often brings out our prideful nature, but true Godly leaders will humble themselves and always be ready to follow as God leads.

5) Keep Seeking the Lord. Josiah’s reforms brought the people of Judah back to the Lord. But at some point, he stopped seeking the Lord in every matter. Ignoring the Lord in the matter of Pharaoh Neco, brought about his death and the enslavement of the people of Judah.

Leader Lesson. There is never a good time in the life of a Christian leader to stop trusting and seeking the Lord.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Which of these leadership lessons do you think is most important in your life right now?

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

#233: Christian Leaders Need to Read Their Bible!

A recent survey by Lifeway Research found a lot of Americans think the Bible is helpful, but they don’t read it much.

Leaders Read Bible

What? Tell me it isn’t so! How can you say a book is helpful if you haven’t read it?

Some Have Read

In this survey of “representative Americans,” Lifeway found only 11% had read the Bible all the way through. Only 9% had read all the Bible more than once. Another 12% said they had read almost all of it, and another 15% stated that they had read at least half.

So, 47% of Americans have read half the Bible or more.

Some Haven’t Read

On the other side of the equation, 10% of Americans have never read any of the Bible, 13% have read a few sentences, and 30% have read a few passages or stories.

So, 53% of Americans haven’t read enough of the Bible to know what it says or doesn’t say.

This doesn’t make sense! Nine out of ten homes in America own a Bible, and the average home has three Bibles! What are we doing with them – using them as paperweights?

Many Think It’s Worthwhile

What is even more confusing is a lot of people seem to think the Bible is worthwhile:

  • 52% said it is a good source of morals.
  • 37% said it is helpful today.
  • 36% said it is true.
  • 35% said it is life-changing.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I bet the people that think the Bible is a good source of morals, is helpful, is true, or is life-changing are the 47% of folks who have actually read a good chunk of it.

Some Don’t Think So

A few people didn’t have a positive view of the Bible: 14% said it is outdated, 8% said it is bigoted, and 7% said it is harmful. Again, I’m going out on a limb here, but I bet these folks are the ones who haven’t read much or any of the Bible.

We Have a Problem

If you claim to be a Christian, a follower of Christ, you need to know who it is you are following! The best way to do that is to read and study His Word.

I am absolutely convinced that many of the political and societal issues we are facing today are the result of two things. First, too many professing Christians don’t know the Word of God. The second reason for our political and societal issues is that we are not doers of the Word (James 1:22).

Christian leaders, we need to step up. We need to take responsibility and be the powerful, inspired leaders God has called us to be. We need to know the Word, and we need to be doers of the Word.

Our example as leaders will be a light that shines before others. They will see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Start Reading and Studying Today!

If you are one of the Christians, who hasn’t read and studied the Bible as much as you would like, then I implore you to start today. Find a Bible reading program and start reading. Get into a good Bible study. Get into a good Bible teaching church.

Do you want to get into a program to help you read and understand the Bible in the course of a year? If so, you are welcome to join with me and people from over 100 countries who are reading and studying the Bible daily.

I’ve developed two reading and studying programs that will get you through the Bible in a year. One is a straightforward Genesis – Revelation study. The other is a Chronological study which presents the Bible in the order events happened in history.

If you are interested, check us out and join us out at Bible Study Daily.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. What do you think of these survey results? Do they surprise you, trouble you, or is it about what you expected?

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 | Commitment

#232: Who Should Climb the Ladder?

How to Determine Who Is a Good Promotion Candidate

It is a rare manager, who, in the span of a career does not wonder how a boss or a peer got their current position.

Woman Ladder

Perhaps that is what led management guru Peter Drucker to say, “The attempt to find “potential” is altogether futile.” In his book, Management Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, Drucker goes on to say that trying to pick out good future managers in a field of candidates is less likely to succeed than just taking every fifth person in the organization.

These situations give us pause to think of Peter’s principle; “Everyone rises to their level of incompetence. The only reason our system does not collapse is that not everyone reaches their level of incompetence at the same time!”

Most managers want supervisors who will get the work done, who will find creative solutions to problems, who will save the company money, and who will develop employees to their fullest potential.

So how do you decide? How do you figure out amongst those fresh, eager faces who will ultimately be the best new supervisor, manager, executive?

While there are no guarantees with anyone, there are ways you can assess individuals to help make your decision of whom to promote the most intelligent one possible.

The assessment process is comprised of three basic steps;

  • Review the candidate’s work record.
  • Interview the candidate.
  • Interview the candidate’s internal and external customers.

This assessment process is complex and will require considerable effort to complete, but will yield supervisors more likely to succeed in their new careers.

Review the Candidate’s Work Record

The place to start evaluating the potential of a candidate is their current work record. The best reflection of what a person will do in the future is what they have done in the past.

Examining the following four areas will help make the first cuts:

1) Attendance record. Review the candidate’s attendance record. Look for consistency.

2) Prior performance reviews. Review the candidate’s prior performance reviews. A strong candidate will show continual improvement.

Look for consistency in their performance over time.

3) Steady growth in job skills. A strong candidate is one who continues to improve in their current job. They ask questions seeking to expand their knowledge of the business. They look for ways to improve that are beyond the scope of their current jobs.

4) Ability to get along with peers. A big part of the new supervisor’s job will be getting work done through others. A good indication of this ability is how they get along with their peers.

Interview the Candidate

If you have the responsibility of promoting someone to the supervisory level you need to make sure that they have the interest and the skills to do the job. The best way to do that, in addition to reviewing their work record, is to interview them for the job. (You wouldn’t offer a job to someone just from reading a resume, would you?)

The promotion interview can take place all at once or over a period of days. If you cover the following six elements, you will increase your chance of selecting the right person the first time.

1) Make sure the person is interested in supervision. It is not true that every individual who does good work in their jobs wants to be promoted. Do not make this assumption!

2) Explain reasons for the promotion. A promotion candidate needs to know why they are being considered for additional responsibility. Don’t assume that they know why. They may, but tell them anyway. In other words, discuss all the success criteria you have established for a supervisor and how this candidate meets those criteria.

3) Outline new responsibilities. To supervise effectively, one must be able to plan, organize, direct, and control work processes. This is significantly different than the worker who is responsible solely for the completion of a task. The candidate needs to understand and accept the responsibility for managing the people involved in the production of the work, as well as the work itself.

4) Determine their views on supervision. Spend some time with the candidate discussing their views about supervision. After all, a worker’s ideas about supervision have been molded mostly by the people that have supervised them. Ask how they view the role of supervisor as different from that of the worker. Ask what they consider as being good and bad characteristics of a supervisor and why.

5) Discuss to whom the new supervisor will report. In these days of matrix management, the question of who you report to is not as simple as it might once have been. The candidate needs to understand who they are accountable to and for what.

6) Discuss the people who will be the new supervisor’s responsibility. Remember, the supervisor is responsible for managing the people doing the work, so they need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of those who report to them.

Interview the Candidate’s Internal and External Customers

The best way to find out how the supervisor candidate works with people is to talk to their internal and external customers. The most obvious group is their peer group.

But many others can provide valuable insight into the potential of an individual. Talk to other people who have contact with the candidate like supervisors or workers in other departments. If your candidate has contact with customers or suppliers, ask for their feedback.

One Final Thought

The job of finding and developing talented supervisors will forever be a difficult task for management. Even the diligent manager who follows each of these guidelines is not guaranteed success. People are not always what they seem. People change. Businesses change. The person who is just right for the job this year may be inadequate in the next decade.

Nonetheless, it is up to you to separate the wheat from the chaff, and in doing so, find the supervisor that may one day become the president of the company.

If you are still having trouble deciding on a candidate, consider Paul’s instruction to Timothy regarding the selection of overseers (1 Timothy 3:2-4). In describing the characteristics of a good overseer, Paul used words like temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, and free from the love of money.

If you think about it, these are traits that should apply to all of us, all the time. Make it a point to review this list every morning. It will help keep you focused in the right direction.

Bonus Whitepaper

This week’s post is excerpted from a 5-page whitepaper entitled, Who Should Climb the Ladder? How to Determine Who is a Good Promotion Candidate.”

This whitepaper includes a broader discussion of how to determine who is a good promotion candidate.

You can download the whitepaper here: Who Should Climb the Ladder? How to Determine Who is a Good Promotion Candidate.”

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled to make decisions about who to promote? What criteria did you find helpful?

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

#231: Is it Wrong to Leave God out of the Workplace?

A recent survey of professing Christians found that 83% were either very careful about how they integrated their faith in the workplace, or rarely if ever, let anyone in the workplace know about their faith.

Workplace

Respondents gave a number of reasons for their reluctance to let others know about their faith, but the root reason was fear. They were afraid of being judged, of being oppressed or persecuted, or of not being able to defend their faith.

If our work is to be in harmony with God’s will then we cannot leave God out of the workplace!

I believe there are three reasons why we should not leave God out of the workplace: 1) work is Godly, and 2) work is our service to Jesus, and 3) work is our evangelism.

Work is Godly

Beginning with the creation account in Genesis, we see God is a worker. At each stage of creation, God paused to review His work and proclaimed that it was good.

In Genesis 2:15 God placed Adam in the garden of Eden to “work” it. Work was commanded by God, before the fall of man, and it was good. In fact, the word translated “work” in Hebrew is abad. The same word is translated elsewhere as “worship.”

Work is Godly. It was ordained by God. Work is a form of worship to God!

Work is our Service

Numerous passages in the New Testament speak of the grandeur and unity of God’s creation.

Paul, writing to his young protégé Timothy, said, “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5).

God created the concept of work, and here Paul says everything God created is good. Everything here includes work!

Paul, this time writing to the Colossians, says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…it is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

Paul makes it very clear that work is one way we serve the Lord. Paul makes no distinction about the type of work that serves the Lord. There is no higher and lower plane. The person in the pulpit serves the Lord in his work just as much as the field worker, the fast food worker, the housekeeper, the office maintenance man, and everyone else does in his/her work.

The relevant question is, “Is this work in harmony with God’s will? Is it of service to Christ?”

Work is our Evangelism

A lot of Christians I know don’t think of themselves as evangelists. But trust me we all are! Whether we like it or not we are in the world, and the world sees Jesus through what they see in us.

Some folks abdicate their responsibility by saying evangelism is the role of the professionals; the pastors, and missionaries.

But that limits our ability to reach the world and does not align with Scripture.

First of all, our pastors have an hour or maybe a bit longer (depending on your denomination) to preach to people, who, for the most part, are already in the boat.

You and I, on the other hand, have 40, 50, or even more hours in the workplace where we have the opportunity to demonstrate the love of Christ to people who, for the most part, are not in the boat.

Secondly, all Christians have been given gifts for the express purpose of ministering to the body. Writing to the Ephesians Paul said the gifts were, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).

Third, Jesus commanded us to be salt and light to the world.

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).

Salt is a preservative, but if it becomes impure, it loses its ability to preserve. We are to be like pure salt that preserves the Lord’s teaching. If we become impure by accepting a secular worldview our teaching is of no value to the Kingdom.

Light provides direction and enables you to walk securely without stumbling. If the light is hidden under a basket, it is of no use. A Christian who hides their faith is of no use in bringing light to others.

Christian leaders, we must be pure salt and a bright light in the workplace. We must use the gifts and opportunities God has given us to build up the Kingdom.

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you struggled to be pure salt and a bright light in the workplace?

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 | Courage/Risk-Taking

 

 

 

#230: How Does the Greek Worldview of Work Compare to the Biblical Worldview?

When I was a young Christian, I struggled with the question of if, or how, I should integrate my faith into the workplace. It turns out a lot of older, more seasoned Christians I turned to for advice had the very same struggles.

Worldview

As I did some research, I found man has been struggling with this question for some time!

Greek Worldview

Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, shunned the God of the Hebrews and instead came up with their own man-centered philosophies to define the world.

Socrates

Socrates developed the “dialectic method” where students came up with their own meaning of justice and goodness. Today, we refer to such constructs as “moral relativism.”

This philosophy claims there are no universal moral truths. In other words, nobody is objectively right or wrong. Moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others. Does that sound familiar?

Plato

Plato developed the concept of “dualism.” Dualism divides man’s experience into two planes; a higher and lower. The higher plane is made up of eternal things, while the lower plane consists of physical and temporal things.  Work was placed in the lower, temporal plane.

Aristotle

A thousand years later, Aristotle merged Plato’s concept of dualism with Christianity. He came up with two planes as well; there was the “contemplative life” and the “active life.” The contemplative life included sacred activities like Bible study, preaching, and evangelism. The active life activities were the secular activities of life. Like Plato, Aristotle placed work in the lower plane.

Thomas Aquinas

Fast forward to the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas furthered the concept of dualism with two planes he called “Grace” and “Nature.” The higher plane of Grace included such things as understanding theology and church matters. The lower plane of Nature included man’s natural intellect (that which did not require revelation from God). Work did not require revelation from God, so it was part of the lower plane of Nature.

Pietist Movement

Philip Jacob Spener founded the Pietist movement of the 17th century. Pietists continued the concept of dualism with even sharper divisions between what they called the spiritual and the material world. The material world, including work, was of no importance. In the pietist’s view, it was impossible to serve God in your work; only when engaged in spiritual pursuits was one serving God.

A graphical view of the Greek dualistic worldview looks like this.

Greek Worldview

 

There are two planes. The upper, or higher, plane is the sacred activities. The bottom, or lower plane, is the secular activities. The sacred activities include things that are spiritual, eternal and the unchanging realm of God in heaven. The secular activities include things that are physical, temporal, and the changing realm of humans on earth.

Fast forward to modern times. Dualism remains with us. Many people, including people of faith, still believe there are higher and lower planes; that some activities related to spiritual things are of the higher plane and they matter to God, while normal activities of life like work are the lower plane and don’t matter to God.

Between moral relativism and dualism, it’s no wonder people are confused about how to integrate their faith in the workplace.

Biblical Worldview

The Biblical view of work stands in stark contrast to the Greek concept of dualism dividing man’s existence into a higher and lower plane.

In the Biblical worldview, the concept of dualism does not exist. Life is not divided into two planes; one higher and one lower. There is no spiritual plane and a secular plane.

Biblical Worldview

Everything including church, school, art, home, music, drama, sports, business, law, labor, agriculture, sex, medicine, and everything else in man’s existence is either in conflict with God’s will or in harmony with God’s will.

That means our work is either in harmony with God’s will or in conflict with God’s will. If our work is to be in harmony with God’s will then we cannot leave God out of the workplace!

Satan would like nothing more than for Christians to remain afraid of sharing the Gospel in the workplace.

Paul, exhorted Timothy, his young protégé not to be afraid of sharing his testimony: “…God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Christian leaders, we must not let the prevalence of moral relativism and dualism in the workplace keep us from our playing our part in accomplishing the Great Commission!

Join the Conversation

As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you seen or experienced the Greek worldview of moral relativism or dualism in the workplace? If so, in what way?

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 | Courage/Risk-Taking