Question: I was recently promoted to a managerial position that I’d had my sights on for a long time, but now I’m not sure I’m cut out for this job. It seems that everything I say or do results in a misunderstanding between my fellow managers and me. Any advice?
There are two opposite attitudes in life. Some people’s motivational attitude inspires them to work harder and be better. They also have a knack for inspiring others to be the same. Not so the people that I’ll call “de-motivators”: they have the opposite effect. You may end up feeling inept and negative about yourself when around them, and perhaps their “lectures” and “helpful” advice intimidate rather than inspire.
No, I’m not talking about coffee break romances, but rather about whether it’s possible to run a successful business with love. An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that it is.1 It uses the analogy of the computer. Love should be the operating system (OS), and the other business strategies—sales, marketing, distribution, etc.—the apps. The apps are the most visible working part of the computer, but they’re only stable if there’s a strong OS.
A good executive is not a boss—he is a servant! Jesus wasn’t just trying to teach His disciples humility when He said, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.”1 A good executive simply is not a dictator. He listens to his employees. When the top people don’t communicate with those under them, then of course they don’t understand them or their problems. When that happens, they’re headed for trouble!
For nearly 20 years, I’ve been with the same team running an NGO in the former Yugoslavia. “A marriage!” some people have commented. Yes, in a way it is. It has required many of the attributes and choices that a marriage calls for.
We build our work with our attitudes and actions day by day. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind if we want to excel in our jobs.
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
—Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NLT
Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.
—John 15:15 CEV
On a recent day off, I spent the better part of the day at the zoo. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone to a zoo. Animals are fascinating and a lot of fun to observe, and I learned some interesting information. What I noticed, too, which I don’t recall feeling as much when I was younger, was sadness because of the animals’ lack of freedom. I’m confident they are being well cared for at this particular zoo; but can any cage, however spacious, ever measure up to the wide-open spaces of their native habitats?
Be a people-builder by supporting others. These tips can help.
1. Build up excellence: Think of at least one thing that you find outstanding in someone, and then let them know how excellent they are in that specific way.
Appreciation is a human need. It’s not just something that’s nice to have when possible, but something that each person needs in order to be happy and to thrive. That’s true in every setting, but it’s perhaps nowhere more evident than in the workplace. When people feel genuinely appreciated by those they work for and with, they’re much more likely to be excellent contributors and “team players.”