I'm a manager. I manage my time, my finances, and my work and play. I manage to screw things up, and I manage to get things done. I'm a husband and a father, so I manage my family. I'm a boss, so I manage my employees. One thing I've learned, managing other people is difficult.
Don't avoid the difficult task of informing people when their work isn't good enough.
In Luke 6:31, it says to do to others as you would have them do to you. As a boss who tries to create a positive, enjoyable work environment where people enjoy their work and one another, this is a handy spiritual truth to remember.
One key to managing successfully that I've learned is to not sidestep the difficult task of informing people when their work is not good enough. This will unlock the door to successful management. You don't want to hurt people's feeling, but you owe it to them to tell them what is actually going on. Just as a manager relies on indicators of success, those who work for you also deserve honest feedback on their work.
If you care about the people that you manage, you tell them. Tell them what's up, how things are going (personally and work-related), and what can be done better to get things right. Praise when it's due. Provide honest discussion when their work is not providing what is needed. A lack of praise and criticism can be disastrous. As a manager, you need to be a guide. And guides communicate.
White Water Rafting Guide
I took a white-water rafting trip with my daughters 7th grade class. The guide in our raft was providing very clear and direct communication, signaling us to paddle in certain directions and with particular effort or speed. "Paddle." "Left turn." "Right turn." "Hold." "Paddle strong." Without communication from our guide, our time on the water would have been haphazard, frustrating and unenjoyable. Guides provide direct communication and feedback.
It's impossible to guide and manage others well without communicating. Managers communicate. They provide very direct, productive feedback. The encourage open and honest discussion. They help create an enjoyable work environment. And they also listen. I enjoy achieving results by listening and seeking to understand rather than telling people what do to.
Communicating involves listening to others. Feedback. Conversation rather than dictating. Debating before directing. Encouraging people to make decisions rather than deciding everything for them. Advising people instead of order them what to do. Managers are into learning as much as they're into knowing. There's a proverb (Proverb 18:15) that says an intelligent heart (your mind) is always acquiring knowledge, and the ear of the wise always seeks it out. You should listen with as much effort as put into learning.
In conclusion, enjoy managing. Manage yourself well. If you're a boss, treat others well by communicating with them. Managing others can be difficult, but not impossible. Be a guide. Be sure to listen as you learn. Others deserve to know how they're doing by you providing them with direct, productive discussion.
If you enjoyed reading that article, you may be interested in how communication relates to "Consciousness."
Friday night, my daughters were very busy with activities. My oldest had a sleepover with her good friend. My middle child had a basketball game and her team won. My youngest went dancing with her friends at a barn dance Friday night. I thought about what fine young women they were becoming. And how well they make friends and get along with others. Because they have that Word within them that makes them shine as bright lights. And they’re approachable and friendly. And they are willing to share themselves with others.
That made me think of a story about two men who lived a couple thousand years ago. They had a goal to meet others, share what they knew, speak God’s Word and to bring others to knowing that an abundant life is available to them. They each had the mindset of an ambassador for Christ. Please turn to the Book of Acts, Chapter 13.
What’s an ambassador? An ambassador is a diplomatic official of the highest rank, sent by a one country to another as its resident representative. An authorized messenger or representative.
To me, there is no greater goal one might have in life than to be the best ambassador of the more than abundant life, an ambassador for Christ, an authorized messenger of God’s Word, a representative of living with the unconditional love of God in a renewed mind in manifestation.
Barnabas and Paul
These two men who lived 2,000 years ago were Barnabas and Paul. They helped each other live the Word, and they both loved to speak the Word. In fact, they spoke the Word together for a whole year to many people in one city (Acts 11:26). After that, God wanted them to preach the Word in some new places (Acts 13:2,3). One day they were in a city called Antioch with the goal of telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s plan of salvation for them.
When they got to the city, they went to the synagogue, a place where they knew that many people of Judean background who had an interest in God would be gathered together. They attended the service there; and when it was done, the speaker asked them if they had anything to say.
Acts 13: 15: And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
They were given an invitation to speak, given an audience, and a wide open door to walk through and speak about the Lord Jesus Christ. But you know what? They didn’t start right off with waving a finger, yelling about getting saved, or condemnation. Nope. Paul was the one who did the speaking on this occasion, and he began to gain the attention of the Judeans in the synagogue by showing great respect and by finding common ground concerning what people believed in. Respect and common ground. This is a helpful key to beginning a conversation—just simple respect, easy talking, and finding common ground.
Acts 13: 16,17: 16: Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear [respect] God, give audience [pay attention]. 17: The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
Here, Paul reminded them of a very important event in their history as believers—when God delivered Israel out of Egypt. Then he went on to remind them of more that God had done for them, speaking of Samuel the prophet, King Saul, and King David.
After covering these familiar records of believers from the Old Testament, whom they respected, he introduced them to Jesus, explaining that this descendant of King David was a savior.
Acts 13: 23,26: 23: Of this man’s [David’s] seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus. 26: Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth [respects] God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
Paul then told them that Jesus had been slain but that God raised him from the dead.
Acts 13: 28-30: 28: And though they [the Judeans at Jerusalem] found no cause of death in him [Jesus], yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29: And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 30: But God raised him from the dead.
Paul then told the members of the synagogue in Antioch that they could not be made righteous through Moses and the law — but only through Jesus who had been crucified and whom God raised from the dead.
Acts 13: 38,39: 38: Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness [remission] of sins. 39: And by him [Jesus] all that believe are justified [legally made righteous] from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
It was important for them to know that Jesus died for them and that God raised him from the dead, because a person gets born again by confessing Jesus as their lord and believing that God raised him from the dead. They also needed to know that through Jesus Christ they could be made legally righteous before God and enjoy God’s grace to them.
Not everyone believed Paul on that day, but some did. And many came back to hear more. The next Sabbath day, almost the whole city came together to hear the Word of God, and as a result, the God was talked about throughout all the region (Acts 13:44,49).
God’s Word was made known throughout all of that area, because each of these two men went into the city of Antioch with the mindset of an ambassador for Christ. Their mindset sounds a lot like the one we have. You and I. And this gives me an idea for something we all can do. How about we get up each day this week — with the goal of bringing the spiritual truths that we know — into our conversations — as we speak to others? Yes? Some people don’t know about God; others know him only a little bit. I encourage you to reach for that goal in life of being a good ambassador for Christ by reaching out to others with God’s Word.
For more articles for men about God, please read "The Goal in the Game of Life."