Growing into Christian leadership, whether at our first job or while climbing the corporate ladder, can be tough. But developing our leadership skills will help us be effective in our jobs, and be strong witnesses to those around us for Christ. After all, don’t our actions illustrate what we believe in? Being godly leaders shines our light into the world around us.
That said, here are five practical tips women can use in the workplace, whether working in fast food, business, non-profits, or anything in between.
1. We treat everyone like they are valuable
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” (James 2:8-9)
Do unto others are you would have them do unto you—this rule for all of living applies to the workplace as well. It’s easy to get irritated by our coworkers or our boss, but we can instead strive to treat them as we want them to treat us. We’ll be careful how we talk about others. We’ll be honest. We will aim to act with integrity, because being true to what we believe affects how we treat others, and affects whether we are the kind of people who can be depended on.
This also applies to the way we approach all the people we interact with—all of them are equal because human beings have value to God. We won’t treat our underlings with less respect than we treat our boss. We won’t show favouritism to the rich. We know God created all of us, and we treat them that way.
2. We know where our authority comes from
“So God created mankind in his own image… God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” (Genesis 1:27-28)
Women can be hesitant about how to manage being in authority positions. We’re nervous about looking overbearing or aggressive. We might feel like we don’t belong in positions that give us authority over others, and worse, that everyone else can tell we feel this way. But we should hang on to this truth, that we are children of the king. God has given his children gifts of authority in the world. We don’t have to be afraid of using authority, only about how to use our authority appropriately and well.
Secondly, God defines us. This means that however successful or unsuccessful we are in the workplace, we know we have ultimate value. This doesn’t free us up to be careless. But it frees us from fear of failure. It gives us the confidence to take risks, because our failures will not define us.
3. Learn to ask for help
“At that time I said to you, “You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. The LORD your God has increased your numbers so that today you are as numerous as the stars in the sky… But how can I bear your problems and your burdens and your disputes all by myself? Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you.” (Deuteronomy 1:9-13)
No one can do everything on their own. Christians recognize this in the church, where we celebrate all the benefits the different parts of the ‘body of Christ’ bring. But sometimes when it comes to our work, we hesitate to ask for help. In leadership positions, we may waste time on minor duties that could be delegated to others. This is something Moses faced in his ministry, when all his time was taken up by judging issues between the people he was leading. His father-in-law wisely advised him to delegate some of this work to other people, so he would not neglect the main task he was supposed to be doing. This is a lesson we all can benefit from. It’s okay to ask for help.
4. Reward good results
“The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” (2 Timothy 2:6)
Good leaders recognize their followers’ strengths as well as their weaknesses. Sometimes the weaknesses are what are most noticeable to us, but we know God has blessed everyone with different gifts. Strive to notice the gifts God has given to others. Acknowledging people’s strengths builds their confidence, and reassures them that their contributions are noticed. Good work should be rewarded.
5. Continue to develop your gifts
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Lastly, we’ll continue to develop ourselves. God gave us all gifts, and not only spiritual gifts, but also gifts of ‘administration,’ ‘teaching,’ and so on. In the parable of the talents, the servants were praised for taking what they’d been given and developing it into something more. When we strive to improve our communication skills, our knowledge of computer software, etc., we are developing the raw material God gave us to work with into something more.
This includes honestly assessing our faults, and working to correct them. We’ve all worked for a boss who had glaring faults, and we know how much impact those faults had on the workplace. We want to discover and correct our faults before we are completely blinded to them.
So there you have it. Five ways to practice Christian leadership in the workplace: Love others, be defined by God, delegate to others, reward good results, and self-develop your gifts.
May these tips enable you to be effective at your job and be a witness for Christ! Go forward and shine like a light in whatever job God has placed you in.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
By Harma-Mae Smit: Writer. Theology lover. Seeker of information. I freelance, create, blog, and write stories.