Let’s be frank. No one wants to work for a bad boss. Certainly not me. Once was enough. Sam, my first boss, made my first job miserable. I got a firsthand taste of what Archibald Hart described when he said in his book The Crazy-Making Workplace, “A lousy boss can kill your happiness, destroy your self-esteem, suffocate your individuality, poison your mind, threaten your sanity, and dead-end your ambitions.”
That’s not the kind of boss I want to work for. Or the kind of boss I want to be.
It was a happy day when I said good-bye to Sam and hello to Mark, my new boss at Mark Hall’s Chevron. I didn’t know it at the time, but Mark was the kind of boss Paul wrote about in Colossians when he said,
“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.”
That’s Paul’s mandate for masters. Obviously in the context of that day, he was talking to slave owners. Back then they had masters and slaves. We now have bosses and employees. His words have application to anyone who has authority over and responsibility for others.
If you want to be a great boss, the kind of boss everyone wants to work for, here are three things the Bible says you should do.
1. Do What’s Right
My second boss, Mark, did what was right. He cared about his employees. He didn’t see us as slaves. We weren’t people to use and abuse. He saw us as human beings, made in the image of God.
Earlier this week I read a blog post of a friend who works in one of the tech companies here in the Silicon Valley. In speaking about the team members he oversees, he said:
“My style is based solely on the true desire to not just build a relationship or connection based on a common interest or passion in something that they like, but I also genuinely care about other people’s lives and perspectives and what journeys they have been on to get them where they are today.”
Genuinely caring about others’ welfare is what’s right. After all, they are human beings not human doers.
2. Do What’s Fair
We’ve been hearing a lot in the news lately about wages. Equal pay for men and women? $15 minimum wage? That’s a primary matter Paul has in mind in his “fair” directive. A boss should pay fair wages.
When I worked for Sam, my wages were unfair. They were below minimum wage. Had it not been for my desperate need for a job, I would have quit. But I couldn’t. I needed the money. So I toughed it out until I landed a new job at a service station. (Yes, that was back in the day when teenage guys could get jobs pumping gas, cleaning windshields, and checking oil!)
Mark was different. He not only paid a fair wage, he paid more. He went above and beyond fair in money, appreciation, kindness, holiday paid time off, and more.
Our country still struggles with fair wages. Equitable pay for all. If a man and a woman are doing the same job, and they are both doing their jobs well, shouldn’t they get the same pay? You think?! God was the first to push for equitable pay. We should seek the same for all.
3. Emulate The Lord
Ultimately, earthly bosses will be accountable to their heavenly boss – God himself. He is the master in heaven who is keeping an eye on how bosses manage and supervise their employees. His plan is that we copy His character and actions.
When it comes to doing what is right and fair, both are true of God, and important to Him. David described God this way in the book of Psalms:
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. Psalm 145:7
Love to you, Lord God! You pay a fair wage for a good day’s work! Psalm 62:12 (MSG)
Righteous, loving, pays a fair wage. That sounds like the boss I want to work for. You too? Our world needs more bosses like that. And we could be among those who are, if we make it our goal to emulate the boss of bosses. Knowing how God leads and manages, we should seek to follow His example.
Mark was the kind of boss God wants us to be. Imperfect but nonetheless seeking to be like the Lord he loved. That made working for Mark a lot of fun. I stayed at that job for the rest of my high school years.
Now as a boss I’m trying to do what is right and fair. I know that’s what the Lord wants of me. And it’s also what those who are under my leadership want from me!
If you are a boss, I encourage you to take Paul’s instructions to heart and put them into practice. Your workplace will be better for it, and you could become the type of boss everyone wants to work for.
Related Post: Four Ways to Wow Your Employers With Your Work
This blog is based on the second message in a 2-part Wow@Work series which can be found here.
by Dave Gudgel