In this post, let’s talk about dealing with managers in the workplace as a Christian. For the most part, I’ve been fortunate to have good managers in the workplace. Hands down, the best one I ever had was a lady named Deborah. I worked with her years ago when my now 30-something-old son was about seven or eight years old. What made her a great manager? Well, first of all, she believed in me. She genuinely did. I’m not sure why because her controversial predecessor hired me. As you know, new managers often “clean house” and like to build their own teams. But she kept me on. At the time, I didn’t have an undergraduate degree, and while I was intelligent, I didn’t feel smart enough to earn one. Another thing is she was an atheist. I was an outspoken Christian. Wild, right? You know, as a Christian in the workplace, God’s favor is a powerful thing. It can keep you in places you don’t “belong” and make people bless you even when they, themselves, don’t understand why.
Know Your Worth as a Christian in the Workplace, Christian Woman
It helps to know your strengths as a Christian in the workplace.
Want to know what I brought to the “table” back in those days? It’s simple.
I could think. Logical and cognition come easily to me, as does creativity. I’m able to create solutions to a problem when others aren’t able to do so. That’s a blessing and a gift from the Lord. Maybe that is why she allowed me to remain on her team.
Despite this gift, my confidence level was in the pooper. God used Deborah to help me cultivate it.
Why did I have such a low self-image as a Christian in the workplace?
Do you have a low image of yourself? Do you put limitations on yourself and your abilities? I did, and if I’m honest, I still do from time to time.
I think mine stemmed from low expectations and being a spoiled brat most of my life. I was the youngest child and the only girl in my family. They gave me everything but one thing …the idea I could go to college.
My mom seemed to be more impressed with how I presented to the world than my academics or intellect. As long as I looked good and carried myself well – that was all she seemed to care about.
People in our family didn’t have careers. They had jobs. Sure, they had good jobs with major companies, but not a career track as we know it now. People of color in my youth likely faced unsurmountable discrimination, and that’s likely why. Either way, she just wanted me to get one with a pension and be a good person.
Conversations about college were not something anyone ever talked to me about. I only had one cousin who had earned a degree, which never seemed like something I could accomplish.
Tears are in my eyes as I type this. My upbringing was good, and my parents were great people, but I wish they would have asked more of me.
God can use someone who isn’t a Christian in the workplace to help you see possibilities.
When I met Deborah, I was exposed to a smart, pretty woman who ran one of the most popular, cutting-edge nonprofit organizations in our city.
She somehow saw something in me and regularly pushed me to do things I didn’t think I could do. Because of her, I had to create strategies for projects that were innovative and concepts our city had never explored before.
Hey, I met with mayors, business leaders, funders, and prominent citizens to benefit youth-serving organizations. Even though she asked me to do “hard” stuff, by the grace of God, I ALWAYS delivered, and she was always my biggest cheerleader.
Not having the most basic credential (a bachelor’s degree) meant I worked HARDER than most. While my colleagues occupied their office space with the confidence they deserved every inch of it, I worked my patootie off in mine.
I was consumed with bringing value to make Deborah proud, and when I did, she always applauded me. She celebrated me more than I celebrated myself. In fact, she did that with all of us in the organization.
She was that kind of leader.
God used a non-Christian to change my life.
During a performance evaluation, she said, “You can do anything. You’re smart, and you’re innovative. If you would get your degree, the sky would be the limit.” Somehow, hearing Deborah say that, I believed it.
After that conversation, something clicked inside me.
While I didn’t move quickly, let me tell you, God did.
A friend of mine introduced me to a dean for the University of Missouri. Long story short, God used that man to facilitate my college journey, and I paid nothing for it. All I had to do was get amazing grades, and I did that by God’s grace and ability.
Yep, I earned that degree, and as I type this Christian lifestyle blog post, I’m on the last leg of attaining my master’s degree in education (M.Ed).
Being in my fifties now, I want to see just how far I can go. With that, I’m also flirting with the idea of earning a Ph.D.
A Christian in the workplace shouldn’t make assumptions about an atheist or anyone in power. God establishes all leadership. Whether they know it or not, they work for Him, and He can use them to promote and help you.
A competent manager can make you feel invincible!
Having a good manager can make all the difference in the success of any team. A competent manager is not just someone who has technical knowledge and experience in their field (although Deborah is a superstar) but also someone who possesses outstanding leadership and communication skills.
A great manager serves as a beacon of inspiration, uplifting and empowering you to reach new heights of achievement. They deeply appreciate and acknowledge your contributions, fostering a sense of fulfillment and a harmonious workplace atmosphere. Furthermore, a proficient manager readily provides you with the backing and tools to execute your tasks excellently.
Have you ever had a manager like Deborah or as I am describing? Maybe it was in the workplace, or maybe it was in another setting?
Leaders carry power far beyond a title or any other formality. A good leader can light a fire in you that will follow you for the rest of your life.
It can impact you and even affect your future generations.
Remember, I had no college graduate examples…but now my kids do!
One of the reasons I think my oldest has advanced degrees is that I changed the trajectory of our family by going to college.
Not only did he see me study and earn my degree, but I regularly articulated to him that I wanted him to do the same. Maybe his kids will follow suit, and my entire bloodline will earn degrees, too. Who knows! But, more importantly, I want my kids to be solid Christians in the workplace. I want them to be people of integrity and honor, representing Christ all the way!
Degrees are not a golden ticket.
Wait! Don’t assume anything about what I’m saying!
Don’t get it twisted. I don’t think college is a magical thing that ensures success. Many people go on to be successful and have awesome careers without it. However, it does help you jump through societal hoops and become a critical thinker. I love education for that reason.
No one told me, but God had a plan. He used Deborah, and He opened the door for me.
Let’s get back to my thoughts about my work experiences as a Christian.
On my job now…I am getting a new manager, and what a standard he has to live up to!
It’s only been about eight months since I’ve been at my current job. I love it. It’s a big, shiny pond, and I am proud to work there. Aside from the prestige of the place, I am challenged in ways I need to be.
When we get too comfortable in a job, our faith muscles weaken. For the last ten years, I worked at a place that was like a mental empty bucket for me. The challenge of the position was far in the past, and I had innovated as much as possible there. I was bored. The organizational culture repulsed me.
I needed a change, and I needed it DESPERATELY!
I needed to be in a place that would stretch and force me to call on Jesus for help. Well, I found it.
The last eight months have been a blast, and I liked my manager. She was pretty busy, so I had to navigate my own way around my role. I came up with ideas and innovations as the Lord supplied. She let me soar and try stuff, and I went for the gold every chance I could.
Besides, she was/is a Christ follower like me! When not working, we loved chatting about Him and had some other things in common. As a Christian in the workplace, it is nice to have someone you can talk to about the Lord.
But wait! Last week I was told I’d have a new manager. I was like, UGH!
“Harpo, who dis man?”
A couple of weeks ago, I got word the department was shifting some things around, and I was part of that shift. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by the change. Still, I worked hard to stay positive.
“God, I trust you.”
That is what I had to tell myself. After all, my life is not my own, and my job certainly isn’t either.
I live for Jesus, and He is in charge.
Plus, the heart of the king is in the Lord’s hand, and if God allowed this to happen, He has a plan. I just need to submit and trust Him.
So, when I met my manager virtually, I must say he seemed like a bright light on the other side of the screen. His smile was wide and open, and he seemed just …happy. On the other hand, I maintained a three-quarter smile and a cautious demeanor.
I was “mean-mugging” a little. 😀
That’s just how I am. I gotta feel people out a bit. I shocked myself at how reserved I was.
Anyway, he seemed like a nice person – which is very important in a manager. Do you agree?
Only about a week has passed, but so far so good. I hope he’s the type of manager who is open-minded, as this article, “Great leaders are thoughtful and deliberate…” describes.
A good leader is intentional, understands themselves, and isn’t quick to react based on emotion.
Those management styles get on my nerves. Still, I’ve had to work with people like that. And if it is God’s will for me to experience that sort of leadership again, I’ll trust Him for the strength and wisdom to do it.
As a Christian in the workplace, my job is not to drive how my life flows
as much as it is to follow God’s flow.
Try to trust God, too, as a Christian in your workplace.
Sometimes, changes will happen, and carpets will be pulled out from under you. Instead of panicking, please try to just breathe and ask yourself, “How can I trust God in this situation?”
I must take one day at a time, stay positive, work hard, and go with God’s plan.
In your opinion, what are some best practices for managers?
Of course, I’ll have scriptures for you!
Scriptures for Christians in the workplace who may have challenges with leaders and managers.
God’s Word ALWAYS comforts, counsels, and directs us. Here are a few scriptures I’m reflecting on during my transition and my experience as a Christian in the workplace.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25
“Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5,6
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17: 7,8
“my lips will not say anything wicked,
and my tongue will not utter lies.” Job 27:4
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
I think Deborah had each of one these and more. Hey, ya know, I just saw her about two weeks ago. She’s retired now and living her best life. I know thanks to her and God’s wonderful kindness, so am I.
Did you have a “Deborah” in your life?