I believe it is critical for Christian business owners and leaders to live out their leadership differently than those who do not claim the Christian faith. We are called to die to self and should, therefore, look different than the rest. One way we do this is to focus on others – our employees or team members – and their needs before our own.
Of course, even if we understand this and make every effort to live it out, it is easy sometimes to drift. An example of this occurs when we get to the point where we are out of touch with our employees or team members. It doesn’t have to be intentional to happen. Business can come at us at light speed and it is easy to return our focus to the urgent rather than the important.
It Can Happen To Anyone
You really don’t even have to forget this truth to get into trouble here. It may be very clear to you that your team is the most important aspect of your company or department mission. The problem simply may be your circumstances for a season.
When this happens, regardless of the reasons or intent, unrest is often quick to appear. Depending on the culture you have built over time, this unrest may not be a huge factor. A stronger culture can handle a season like this. A weaker culture, however, could quickly deteriorate.
Do Your Employees Say This?
In an effort to encourage you to take a look at this issue before it becomes a problem, I have compiled a list of five things your employees (or coworkers) may be saying about you. I hope you will take the time to assess your current situation and determine corrective action if necessary. I know I am!
1.) “All he seems to care about is _____.”
What is it that you talk about all the time? What do you spend the majority of your time focused on? What upsets you the quickest? The answers to these questions may give you a clue to what your employees think is most important to you.
If the answers you gave relate more to business metrics or results than to the people producing them, then you may be out of balance. Sure the metrics are important, but the people producing them are more so.
Check yourself and see if maybe you have forgotten about the individuals on your team. Begin thinking about and focusing on how to engage them and their passions and you might find out that the metrics take care of themselves.
2.) “He doesn’t know what I go through.”
This is a tough one for most because it is true. You and I do not really KNOW what it is that others are going through. However, that does not mean we cannot attempt to learn and understand it.
Intentionally making yourself available to have seemingly random conversations with your team members about what they are experiencing – at work AND outside of work – can give you incredible insights into their needs and desires.
Just showing an ounce of understanding will give you the connection with them that both of you need. This is the stuff that relationships are built on, leading to opportunities to influence them for eternal impact!
3.) “He’s too busy to talk to me.”
For some crazy reason, we have been taught to believe that moving quickly and with purpose will convince those around us that we are getting things done. We think they will see our hustle and be in awe!
I am sorry, but that is hogwash. People are not enamored with leaders that rush around all the time. People want and need connections. That is simply not possible if we are always moving so quickly that we are not approachable.
Some of you are thinking that you can’t help it – you are that busy!
If so, there is a problem.
Maybe this is true in extreme situations and for short seasons. For all other times, it simply shows you are not building enough margin into your schedule. Take a couple of responsibilities off of your plate and create margin for yourself and those around you.
4.) “He would be mad if I asked for help with ____.”
There could be multiple reasons for this statement. Maybe you have a problem with #3 above and they don’t want to try to slow you down. Maybe you are impatient and they feel they would frustrate you by asking for help. It could even be something they should already know but were not properly trained to do.
Whatever the reason, they likely see you as somewhat of an expert and would love to be coached by you in one way or another. For you to give the impression that you are not available for help like this only eliminates another opportunity to influence someone.
Work at making yourself more approachable and available. Even in small increments, you may be surprised at the impact that comes out of it! Try it and see!
5.) “He doesn’t care about me.”
Assuming you are a Christian in business with an eternal perspective, this could be the worst of the five. Unlike #1, this statement reflects how they think you feel about them as an individual. This is personal to them.
There are many ways you could cause them to feel this way. In fact, this could be an accumulation of the four issues listed above. Whatever the case, you need to recognize (1) that this can happen and (2) that it is critical for you to address.
The first step – actually care about them! Make sure you are praying for them daily. Pray that God would reveal to you ways you can show them that you care. Think about them as individuals more than you do now.
The amazing thing – they will begin to realize the truth that you DO care about them if you will just start doing it! Be intentional. And get honest feedback about your progress from those you trust the most.
Have you ever been one of the employees making these statements?
Do you think you are guilty of any of these?
What are you going to do next?
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