A good reputation or a good name is hard to come by but can be very easy to loose. A good name is critical to your success in your work. Spend a moment to think: who is a leader you know that you’d like to emulate? Who is someone you enjoy speaking with? Who is someone that has helped you in your career or trained you in something new? Now ask yourself, have I done any of these things for others? It is difficult for us to know what our own reputation is, at least what people really think. Taking time to reflect on your own reputation and to answer these questions may help you measure how good your name really is. People have placed a lot of emphasis on being successful (riches) and success by today’s standards usually equals wealth. I have a friend who is asking leaders the questions “are you being significant or successful?” He suggests that being significant to someone or others is far more important than any material success you may achieve.
Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
As a Christian, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your faith everyday and be an example of Christian life. To create a good name you can show others your compassion, caring, understanding and patience. Being aggressive in business has been rewarded with bonuses and perks but might be at the cost of your good name. We learn from the message in Proverbs that it is better to be esteemed rather than rich. God will provide you great riches if you live a good life. He will give you the most important good name – Saved One. Leadership is not about getting something; it is about giving yourself to others, to share what you know so that others can become significant. Jesus did it by giving himself for our salvation, how hard can it be for us?
As a leader, one of our responsibilities is to challenge our people to grow. We need to get them to grow personally and professionally which will help improve creativity and morale. It is possible to push them too far; perhaps into a direction that they are not interested in. Another pit fall in pushing people to grow is that you may push them into a position that they are not prepared for or are not prepared to perform. A good leader will find their limits and desires and we can do this through employee coaching. Coaching takes time, especially initially, but once you’re both (the employee and leader) efficient in the process, the results far outweigh the time investment. Good coaches will listen to the employee more than they talk, paraphrasing their desires to ensure that they understand what the employee wants and will set goals with (not for) the employee. This ensures that they are part of their own destiny. Once you know what they want, you can help them reach and achieve more by challenging them to set higher goals.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…”
God will also challenge us and as a good coach, He will also be faithful to us; God keeps His promises to be faithful. The struggle between God and Satan remains strong and the old Adam in us can be tempted quite easily. We know God loves us and that despite our free will to choose, He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear. Our sin and our inability to follow the Ten Commandments is why God had to send His only Son to be our savior; with Jesus Christ we are free from the bondage of our sin. Our faith in Jesus and God’s grace is what allows us to be tempted and fail at times but still have forgiveness of our sins. God is faithful! He kept His promise of salvation for all by sending His son to die for our sins. We all sin and may at times feel unworthy; God’s grace and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross makes us all worthy regardless of our own actions.
Have faith, which to some can mean “trust me” and to others it may mean “believe me”. In today’s world we follow the mantra of “I’ll believe it when I see it”. As leaders, how do we build people’s faith in us? One answer is with a vision. As leaders we need to describe a vision of what we’ll do, how we’ll do it, why we need to do it and how it will look at the end; paint a global picture of that vision. Once it’s created (your small mustard seed), don’t stop caring about it (water and feed it). Share your vision with everyone; keep it in the forefront of all of your discussions by tying all issues back to the vision. Once the vision grows and more people start to have faith, you will be able to move mountains. Resistance is natural but with the right care and feeding, your vision (mustard seed) will become reality. You can overcome challenges with good communication and regularly reminding your staff of the final vision. Nothing is impossible.
Matthew 17:20 “… if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The bible is the playbook for us to use when we look for ways to overcome resistance. It is filled with communication techniques, example of hope to share a vision, and sacrifices that were all made in truth. How is your faith these days? Are you struggling with having regular bible study time or living a Godly life? Remember that it all starts with a mustard seed and nothing will be impossible for you. Nurture that seed and care for it. Spend a little time each day with God in study, prayer or both. Share your day with your Father in heaven, what was great and what wasn’t; the help He can offer might surprise you. God wants to hear from His children. Your faith, even in the worst of times, will get you through and move the mountains of things you thought were impossible. Have Faith!
Middle managers have the hardest job. They are pulled in all directions – from the top, from below, from their peers and from within themselves. If you really think about it, we are all middle managers; we have someone or a group to report to. Who do the middle managers actually serve? If they keep the “company line” from the top, those who report to them will suffer. As employees, we are like plants: what isn’t cared for will dry up and die. We usually spend time taking care of those above us since they are usually the one’s who determine whether we keep working or not. When we focus solely on being a good follower, we neglect those around us: our peers who help us, those who count on us to lead and most importantly, we tend to neglect ourselves. Too many people in “leadership” positions exploit the phrase “a man’s life is not his own.” The truth is: they’re right! But our daily work life is the wrong focus of that phrase.
Jeremiah 10:23 “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own, it is not for a man to direct his steps.”
The truth however, is that as middle managers we need to remember that we do not serve at the will of our bosses but at the will of God. “It is not for man to direct his steps” is the verse that God uses to remind us that He is ordering the events of our lives and not us. When we start thinking that we are in control, is when we start to get lost. Our lives are not our own because we are here to serve each other and give all of the glory to God for His work in and through us. This puts us right in the middle, right where God wants us to be. Focus on serving the Lord and do His will by letting Him direct your steps. Lead others by providing a good example of how to care for each other. As a “middle man” you can care for everyone around you; it’s a test of your faith. Remember, even if they didn’t help you get to where you are, they are helping you stay where you are; all because God is directing the steps.