Today’s post is from my friend, Taylor Davis, who works as a Management Consultant. I asked him to share what he has learned over the course of his career about how to live out his faith in the workplace while also staying committed to be a builder of others who may not share his Christian ethic or values.
I was pleased when David asked me to share some thoughts around how to be builder in the work place in part because when I heard him say this weekend, “I recognize that this is harder for you than it is for me,” I found myself thinking, “That is so true.”
In my work as a Management Consultant I have the opportunity to interact with leaders and employees at every level of the corporate world. I have had to coach leaders who openly expressed that there only desire was to make more money. I actually heard this questions last week at an offsite,
“Why would I do anything for an employee that did not benefit the shareholders?”
Work for me is a daily battle just to stay positive, let alone spread the love of Christ. I have no pat answers but I do have a few truths I can share from my 30 years of being an out front Christian in the heart of the corporate world.
The Wristband is Enough
Christians at work do not need to be Christ. I know that may sound a little crazy but I am convinced that to represent God in the workplace the only person you need to be is you. If wearing your God is Big Enough bracelet is all you do, that is enough. What amazing conversations that will start. If being nice to the lonely janitor is what you do, that is great. If praying is your thing, do that. In a world this dark, even the beam of a small LED keychain shines like a concert spotlight.
Just focus on being you.
Don’t Go There
You do not have to fight the bully or confront the boss in order to be the Christian in the room. Instead, you can make a decision to simply not go there with them. Do not laugh at the joke. Do not join in the whining. Do not accept the advances. Courage is the job skill most needed to carry a cross. In my work I have witnessed one man saying,
“No I’m not up for the strip club guys, that place is lame.”
And with that one comment, an entire group of young cohorts chose to do something differently with their night. Without a single word of a sermon or moral judgement. It was just the courage to say, “I will not go there”
When the Moment Comes… Be There & Listen
At every workplace there are people going through terrible circumstances. At some point your peer, employee, assistant, or even customer is going to find that quiet moment to tell you they are in trouble.
Don’t try to solve or dive right down into the despair.
Just stop, be present with them and listen to them.
Without a single verse you may be able to draw them in like Christ did for the Woman at the Well in John chapter 3. When you have that unique opportunity to share grace, don’t miss it.
Israel Grumbled and God did not take it too well
This may be the hardest but it is also the most impactful.
Do not get in the mud.
You know the saying about pigs? When you wrestle with a pig you both get muddy but the pig likes it! If you have ever led anything – a soccer practice, a committee, or a team at work – you know how valuable is to have people who are willing to do whatever it takes to get their work done.
If you are grumbling at work; I have two tough questions for you…
- Are you absolutely sure that you could do it all so much better?
- Is your grumbling adding any value to your life, to the lives of others or the overall work of your organization?
The Wicked do not Win
One of the most frustrating things I have experienced in my career is watching mean and prideful people act in self-serving ways. These are often harmful to others or, at the very least, simply ignorant of the ways those actions or decisions affect others within the organization. It is hard to swallow and anger can easily begin to build.
One of the ways that I have learned to deal with that tension is to think about all the professional athletes who in recent years have chosen to cheat in order to win. It reminds me how easily it would be for me to choose to do the same.
I could choose to cut corners.
I could choose to ignore my principles.
I could also act in selfish or at the very least self-centered ways.
And in the short term I might even be able to convince myself that whatever success came out of that was worth the integrity that I had to sacrifice.
But at the end of the day I really don’t believe that those who act in “wicked” ways win regardless of what worldly success may result from their actions.
I am playing a whole different ball game and in that, there is so much more at stake than what others may be pursuing in the short game.
We play the long game and I promise you with all my heart,