Christian Business Consulting - Building Servant Leaders
Christian Business Consulting - Empower Team Members
Each team member in a Christian business must be given the authority and power necessary to succeed in his or her role. For example, when Jesus sent His twelve apostles on their first ministry trip, He "gave them power and authority over all the demons, and to heal diseases. And He sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to perform healing" (Luke 9:1-2). Jesus did not micro-manage His apostles. Instead, He equipped them, then authentically empowered them, and then released them into ministry. So too, a Christ-led executive must not micro-manage, but must authentically empower and then release each team member into his or her role.
One of the most overlooked and underutilized empowerment tools is "accountability" - receiving and seriously considering feedback from those we serve. "Speaking the truth in love" to one another (Ephesians 4:15) includes not only speaking the truth to those we serve (evaluations), but allowing those we serve to speak the truth to us. This includes feedback concerning servant leadership, organizational methods, operational policies, etc.
Fairly Compensate Team Members
A Christian business must fairly compensate its team members -- to do otherwise would be stealing from them. "For the Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain, ' and, 'The laborer is worthy of his wages'" (1 Timothy 5:18). We believe that most Christ-led businesses, due to their desire to bless others, will pay team members at the top end of the relevant pay range.
Have Some Team Fun
In the busyness of doing the business, it is difficult to establish meaningful relationships. Having fun outside of the Christian business -- such as lunches, birthday parties, sporting events, etc. -- can uniquely develop and deepen relationships. During times of fun together, we often learn much about one another and learn to appreciate one another more. This relationship development can lead to increased team oneness.
Lovingly Evaluate Team Members
Athletics is a great model to demonstrate this principle. Great athletes are consumed with a constant quest for improvement. Great coaches provide the athlete with invaluable feedback concerning the athlete's training, technique, mental attitude and results. Likewise, each team member must be committed to a constant quest for improvement, and, thus, needs loving feedback from others. A biblical illustration of this principle is Paul's desire to "press on towards the goal of the prize of the upward call of God and Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Paul never stopped striving to fulfill his call in Christ. Likewise, each member of the Body of Christ is encouraged to continue to move forward until "we all attain...to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13). In order to achieve this, the Body of Christ is encouraged to "speak the truth in love" in order that we may grow up in all aspects into Him (Ephesians 4:15).
How does one lovingly evaluate another? First, loving feedback is not criticism. Loving feedback is given to help the other succeed -- criticism is given to tear the other down. Second, feedback that might bring shame or embarrassment should be given in private (Matthew 18:15). Third, feedback should be timely -- "how delightful is a timely word" (Proverbs 15:23). Fourth, feedback should be objective -- partiality should not be shown to any team member (Romans 2:11). Fifth, feedback must be truthful - "faithful are the wounds of a friend" (Proverbs 27:6) -- withholding or massaging the truth does not help others succeed. Finally, feedback should be given in the right circumstances -- "like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in right circumstances" (Proverbs 25:11).
Regularly Affirm/praise Team Members
Perhaps the greatest tool for building people is affirmation. "Pleasant words are a honeycomb -- sweet to the soul and healing to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24). Why is this? Because, everyone loves to be appreciated for the gifts/talents they possess and the contribution they make. Without affirmation, people feel that their significance is overlooked and their contribution is unappreciated. Simply put, they feel used. Unfortunately, worldly trained executives rarely release the power of affirmation -- they operate from a "management by exception" paradigm, which relies almost exclusively on criticism. Christ-led executives must release the power of affirmation in the lives of their team members. This may not come easily at first -- but with diligence, it will become a practiced discipline yielding delightful rewards for all.
Regularly Encourage Team Members
"Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another" (1 Thessalonians 5:11). "Encourage the fainthearted" (1 Thessalonians 5:12). Encouragement is the medicine for discouragement. Encouragement feeds and strengthens our resolve to move forward. Encouragement releases hope -- knowing that others believe in us. Encouragement releases courage -- believing that the goal can be reached. When a team member encounters discouragement -- it is time to encourage!
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