Timeless Management Advice for the Christian Leader
By Adrian Jones, Thomas Petty, William Jones (TNU 2005)
provides basic advice for succeeding in the workplace and uses various
management theories and stories from the Christian Bible as a foundation.
Although the principles are old, it does not mean that they are out of date.
In fact, these principles are more relevant in the current business
environment than they ever have been.
The Importance of
wild when they do not accept divine guidance (New Living Translation,
Proverbs 29:18). Successful leaders have a vision. Those leaders who do not
have a vision are destined to fail. Their followers are also likely to
suffer the consequences of poor leadership. In the words of Jesus, “They
are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another,
they will both fall into a ditch” (New Living Translation, Matthew
15:14). Jesus was directly addressing the spiritual leaders at that time,
but this principle is equally applicable in today’s business environment.
Kenneth H. Blanchard, and Dewey E. Johnson describe leadership in
Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources as people
who can develop and communicate a vision. Creating a vision for the future
is a fundamental part of leading an organization (79). In other words,
organizational leaders are responsible for pointing their organizations in
the right directions. This is an important job. If leadership fails to
define a direction for the organization, the workforce is likely to devote
resources to ventures that do not contribute to the success of the
Motivating Your People
motivating people are the world’s most difficult jobs. Human needs are
hierarchical according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. Specifically,
Maslow proposed that the most basic need that a person has is the need for
physiological well-being. That is, people need food, clothing, and shelter.
A person’s needs for safety, social fulfillment, and self-esteem needs
follow physiological needs. Then there the need to self-actualization, which
is “the need to maximize one’s potential” (Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson
Managers help an
employee to meet his or her need for food, clothing, and shelter by paying
him or her to do a job. Safety needs can also met through employment by
money that pays for shelter. A person can fulfill his or her need for social
fulfillment in a work setting if a manager can produce and maintain an
environment in which teamwork thrives. Additionally, managers may be able to
use their positions of influence and authority to help build the self-esteem
of their staff members. Finally, managers can help their employees fulfill
their needs for self-actualization by helping them develop, learn and
Conflict of the Generations
Sounds a bit like a
war between different worlds. Well, in a sense, intergenerational conflicts
are wars between different worlds. The challenges of
intergenerational communication are similar to the ongoing communication
difficulties between men and women. People from different age groups see
issues from different perspectives. These differences are normal, so we must
learn to deal with them and accept and appreciate the differences that exist
between people. In fact, according to Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson, in
order to be “effective in the long run, organizations need an open dialogue
in which there is a certain amount of conflict, confrontation, and differing
points of view to encourage new ideas and patterns of behavior” (160).
If you feel
that you are facing too much conflict, it may help you to view life as a
cycle. Consider the following thoughts. Older workers will make comments
about the inexperience of younger workers. You may have heard some of these
statements. “She is just a baby.” “He is the same age as my son.” “Does he
need a ride home?” Younger workers, on the other hand, often make
unproductive comments about older workers. The negative comments that people
make may be the result of fear. That is, older workers are often afraid that
younger workers who have more energy and will work for lower wages will
replace them. Older workers often realize that they have less energy than
they once did. They no longer rely upon their stamina to carry them.
Instead, they rely upon their years of experience. Younger workers are
usually trying to establish the foundations of their future careers. They
are often willing to work long hours for relatively low wages in order to
prove themselves. Further, younger workers often feel that people higher in
the hierarchy hold them back. This, of course, results in feelings of
frustration and animosity.
It is helpful
to realize that the conflicts that exist between workers from different
generations are normal. In fact, they are not necessarily bad in some cases.
It should come as no surprise that older workers are usually more
experienced than younger workers are. Younger workers need to accept and
appreciate this fact. In addition, they need to value and draw from the
knowledge of more experienced workers. Similarly, older workers should
recognize the value of the energy that younger workers bring to the
workforce. Additionally, they need to realize that the health of society and
the economy depends upon the entrance of young adults into the workforce.
provides a perfect model for structuring the workforce in a way that takes
advantage of diverse age groups. Proverbs 20:29 states, “The glory of the
young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the
old” (New Living Translation). In other words, young people have the
gift of energy, and older people have the blessing of wisdom and experience.
A story in
Second Chronicles 10 points out the dangers of rejecting this model. In this
story, a king named Rehoboam needed to make a decision that was critical to
the success of his kingdom. He was a young king who inherited the throne
from his father. He also inherited his father’s wise men, who, of course,
were old and experienced men. King Rehoboam consulted these old men about a
decision that he needed to make. They gave him good advice. Rather than heed
the advice of the experienced men, he turned to the young men he grew up
with for advice. They offered him very poor advice. Being young and foolish,
King Rehoboam accepted the advice of the inexperienced young men. King
Rehoboam’s decision caused him to lose power over the majority of the
kingdom he would have otherwise ruled.
Office Politics: Are they
One of the
most frustrating issues to deal with in the workplace is what many people
call “office politics.” The concept of office politics is hardly new.
Rather, these problems have always existed in one form or another. The story
of Joseph in the book Genesis is one of the most famous cases of “politics
gone bad.” Joseph was one of twelve brothers. Joseph’s father favored him
over his eleven brothers. Normally, having the favor of the boss is a good
thing. In this case, however, it got Joseph in trouble. Joseph’s eleven
brothers were jealous of him, so they conspired against him and sold him
into slavery. People throughout history have experienced their own versions
of Joseph’s story. More than likely, you, too, have experienced something
like this. If you have spent much time in the business world, people have
conspired against you. People will become jealous of you. People will see
you as an obstacle. People will even dislike you for no apparent reason.
Expect it and do not let it come as a surprise. Even more importantly, do
not let it become an obstacle that hinders your success. Here are some
helpful hints for dealing with office politics.
Follow the pattern
of David the King of Israel, when people engage in office politics to
conspire against you. In King David’s situation, people were pursuing him in
order to kill him. Your situation is probably not that serious, but you may
relate to King David’s feelings. He said, “They repay me with evil for the
good I do” (New Living Translation, Psalms 35:12). “They don’t talk
of peace; they plot against innocent people who are minding their own
business” (New Living Translation, Psalms 35:20). Rather than
reacting defensively to attacks, put your trust in God as King David did. He
recorded his response to his situation in Psalms. “The LORD hears his people
when they call to him for help” (New Living Translation, Psalms
34:17). “Don’t be impatient for the LORD to act! Travel steadily along his
path. He will honor you, giving you the land. You will see the wicked
destroyed” (New Living Translation, Psalms 37:34). King David’s
advice, in other words, is to ask God for help. King David acknowledges an
important fact: unethical people will be prosperous at times. He is quick to
note, however, that their prosperity is only temporary. He further notes
that people who trust in the Lord will be the ones who truly prosper. “Take
delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (New
Living Translation, Psalms 37:4).
Bible and management theorists have developed principles that can help you
understand and deal effectively with virtually any circumstance. The article
provided a few examples of these principles to peak your interest and to
encourage you to find more .
Hershey, Paul, Kenneth H.
Blanchard, and Dewey E. Johnson. Management of Organizational Behavior:
Leading Human Resources. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, Inc. 2001.
Different versions of the Holy