How to Make These Most Difficult Decisions

During any given day in the course of business, we may face dozens of decisions.  Some are easy and others are more difficult.  While many of the decisions that we face might be categorized as multiple choice, I think the more difficult ones are those that fall under the True/False or Yes/No category.  If you are not careful with these decisions, you can get into trouble.  How are we supposed to make these decisions?

Employee decisions: Rigorous or Ruthless?

As Christian business owners and leaders, we are usually very involved in employee decisions on a consistent basis. In fact, that part of our job can absorb a majority of our time. Our ability to handle these employee decisions well can also be one of the biggest influences on the success of our company, as well as the ministry we desire.

employee decisions

Ruthless vs. Rigorous Employee Decisions

Assuming this is true, then it is clear that we must devote time to learning how to best handle these employee decisions. While we all agree that issues concerning people often account for the majority of the time and energy we spend in our jobs, many Christian business owners fail to spend much time thinking about their approach to this important subject.

Employee decisions: Rigorous or Ruthless?

Employee Decisions

As Christian business owners and leaders, we are usually very involved in employee decisions on a consistent basis. In fact, that part of our job can absorb a majority of our time. Our ability to handle these employee decisions well can also be one of the biggest influences on the success of our company, as well as the ministry we desire.

employee decisions

Assuming this is true, then it is clear that we must devote time to learning how to best handle these employee decisions. While we all agree that issues concerning people often account for the majority of the time and energy we spend in our jobs, many Christian business owners fail to spend much time thinking about their approach to this important subject.

Ruthless vs. Rigorous

As I have said before, I love to hear great quotes and can often have a hard time getting them out of my head. Last fall at Catalyst, Jim Collins had several meaningful quotes over the course of his presentation. Anyone who has read his books or heard him speak can likely attest to his ability to do this.

One of Collins’ quotes actually applies to employee decisions and can be supported with Scripture. Here it is…

There is a big difference between being rigorous and being ruthless in making and carrying out people decisions.

First, let’s look at the definitions of the two words.

    Rigorous: extremely thorough, exhaustive or accurate

    Ruthless: having or showing no pity or compassion for others

What Does Scripture Say?

While there are likely some business schools that teach the necessity of being ruthless, I think it is clear from the definition above that this is not a behavior that matches well with a Christian business – especially when applied to employee decisions. Just in case you are not certain, let’s look at some Scripture to back up that assertion.

Read Matthew 18:21-35. This quote captures the essence of the parable:

Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?” And his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed.

On the other hand, I think we can make a great argument for being rigorous. Let’s take a look at some Scripture that can give us some clarity here.

The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.Proverbs 21:5

Finalize plans with counsel, and wage war with sound guidance.
Proverbs 20:18

Differing weights and varying measures – both are detestable to the Lord.
Proverbs 20:10

So what exactly do these two ideas look like in action?

The Ruthless Leader

A ruthless manager or leader can face tough employee decisions just like anyone else, but the way they may approach these decisions is what sets them apart. A ruthless leader looks only to the bottom line and sees nothing else. Nothing gets in his way.

If someone makes a mistake, there is no second chance with the ruthless leader. If someone is not performing to standard, he cuts them from the team without mercy. If an employee needs time off for emergency family issues, this ruthless leader refuses the request. When goals are not met, heads roll.

The Rigorous Manager

On the other hand, the rigorous manager is different. Though she may also face difficult employee decisions, her approach is easily recognized to be different. Her view of the circumstances is not limited to the bottom line, but includes other factors.

A rigorous manager sees that an employee’s mistake may indicate poor working conditions or fatigue due to unusually long hours. She recognizes that substandard performance may show the need for more thorough training or upgraded tools. She is willing to consider a family emergency as a legitimate exception to the rule. She also looks further than the simple missed goals to determine if she has the right people in place.

Don’t misunderstand. The rigorous manager is anything but a pushover! She still sets clear expectations and holds her people accountable to those standards. She expects her people to stretch themselves to meet their targets. She does not tolerate patterns of variance from the standards. This manager can cut someone from the team just as quickly as the ruthless one, but she requires more information in order to make that decision.

Bible Calls For Excellence

Nowhere does the Bible tell us to be weak and spineless in our employee decisions. Instead, we are called to excellence and should not settle for less. The excuse that we should not push as hard for excellence because we are a Christian company is absolutely ridiculous!

However, pushing for excellence does not require ruthless behavior. It does require rigorous behavior.

We are called to serve Jesus. He is the King of kings and is not satisfied with our second best. We need to maintain our eternal perspective and do everything in our power to represent Him with our best!

Do you see any ruthless behavior in your employee decisions?

What would your employees say?

What steps can you take to become more rigorous?

4 Key Disciplines To Create The Right Culture

Have you ever been totally caught off guard by a speaker before?  Have you held certain expectations of their message, only to be shocked by their completely uncharacteristic approach?  This happened to me recently when our pastor addressed our church about our culture.  I have never been so fired up while at the same time being so convicted!

Proverbs 31 Advice For Men!

Rule #1 in writing a blog is to stay on topic. I am supposed to pick a category or fairly specific area and focus on it, not straying far from it much (if ever). Today, I am going to break Rule #1 (a little). With Mother’s Day just ahead of us, I want to take another look at Proverbs 31 [READ HERE].

Two Words That Will Change The Trajectory Of Your Life!

I should have your attention based on the title of this post. For some of you, my claim is not believable, and so you are reading just out of curiosity. Others of you are willing to consider the fact that two simple words can make a huge difference in your life. You are reading with genuine interest, but likely with some hesitation until you see how I plan to back up my claim.

Why Should You Stand Out?

We probably all know someone that dresses in a way to stand out from the crowd. Whether it is a wacky looking tie or a dress that is so bright it looks like it runs on batteries, we have all seen examples of people wearing clothes that stand out. Why do you think they do this? What is their purpose?

How To Prepare To Die For Jesus

Are you prepared to make the decision to die for Jesus daily?  Have you thought about the kind of gun-to-the-head situation that many Christians discuss as a way to test your true faith?  Have you really prepared yourself for that possibility?

Most of us have not thought in depth about this.  Maybe we have talked in one of our small group meetings about the future possibility of facing death for our faith.  The truth is that most of us have no immediate threat of this facing us now or in the foreseeable future.  Without an immediate threat, we really have no idea how we would react.

Are You Truly Willing to Die for Jesus?

How would you respond if someone placed a gun to your head and asked, “Are you willing to die for Jesus?”  If you are like most believers in Jesus, you want to say that you would remain faithful to Him to the end, regardless of the threat.  The truth is that you probably do not know the answer.  Until we are actually IN that position, it is next to impossible to know how we would respond.

For most Christians reading this article, the threat I just described is not one we will likely face in the near future, if at all.  It is almost a worthless discussion since the threat is so removed from our current situations that we cannot know our heart on the matter.