Help Your Team Thrive
It is no secret that the year 2020 has been hard. In an economy rocked by the pandemic, nearly 40 million Americans were out of work at some point, and almost everyone’s jobs, businesses and traditions have been disrupted in some way.
Given this upheaval, you may be surprised to learn that we are coming off a decade that has been historically good for employer-employee relations. Research by Gallup highlighted in a Feb. 4, 2020 article by Jim Harter, “4 Factors Driving Record-High Employee Engagement in U.S.” has found that employee engagement grew from 28 to 35% since the year 2010. This engagement has had downstream effects in the form of better performance, happier workers and more satisfied (and numerate!) customers.
As with anything, our faith must lead the way.
How did we achieve this growth? What lessons can we draw from it as we prepare for a post-pandemic world?
As with anything, our faith must lead the way.
Our research has found that when organizations are driven by biblical principles, they achieve greater engagement from their employees. In Matthew 28, Jesus described how we are called to make disciples of the kingdom (mathéteuó), and Paul provided a framework by which to do so, through his nurturing of the early Christian communities (sopranizio).
These principles align with expert advice on increasing employee engagement. In fact, when we consider how faith informs our duties as organizational leaders, it becomes clear how engaging the people around us is a key part of our ministry in Christ.
Consider these recommendations based on Gallup’s findings and my own experience, and think about how they can connect to our work in Christ.
- Leaders of great workplaces don’t just tell employees what they want to see, they encourage collaborative engagement with business issues.
Christ chose 70 to carry out his work. Like today’s CEO, he provided insight, clarity and direction to achieve the ultimate objective of salvation. Then, certain of his disciples received deep attention and direction. Similarly, we should identify workers with high levels of potential, and prepare them to take on greater responsibilities both now and in the future. In each case there is a level of discipleship (mathéteuó) required. Discipleship requires that we engage with others face-to-face and be clear about our direction and expectations. Timothy grew as a church leader because he followed and emulated Paul (1 Cor. 4:15-16).
- They educate managers on how to develop highly motivated employees of their own, by encouraging those managers to use their innate strengths and tendencies.
Under Peter and Paul’s lead, the disciples shared what they had learned with the masses. We can read about this in the book of Acts. For each set of followers, Peter and Paul developed their unique, cultural and God-given gifts (sopranizio), which allowed the church to multiply into many distinct congregations. Every follower was trained in the “best practices” of faith, hope and love (1 Cor. 13), but they were also encouraged to be true to themselves, and placed in roles where they could thrive and not burn out (1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, Eph. 4, and 1 Pet. 4).
- They recognize the need to develop and stretch employees to new levels of success with clear expectations, ongoing conversations, and accountability.
When Jesus sent the 70 out, he gave them very specific directions of their role, objectives and a code of conduct (Luke 10:1-11). When they returned, they were debriefed and reminded that they had been empowered and gifted by the Spirit to accomplish their objectives. And even when they didn’t accomplish their jobs (Mark 9) he provided answers but held them accountable also.
As we adapt to the “new normal” of business during the pandemic, and prepare to emerge from it soon, we have a unique opportunity. All of us—from the CEO to the custodian—have been through a common experience, and that bond can help as we shape our organizations in the image of Christ.
As leaders, our edict is to make disciples.
As leaders, our edict is to make disciples. Paul illustrated that we should do that by understanding each person’s behavioral and cultural influences, so we can speak to them (sopranizio), in their language and build strong, trusting relationships.
I encourage you to take advantage of resources like the free behavioral, cultural and spiritual gifting assessments at lifethrive.com that can help you engage and recharge your employees to a new level. As the Scripture says, now is the time to encourage and develop those who work with and for you.
Dr. Chuck Coker brings more than 30 years of experience as a NYSE executive and seven years as department head at Westminster (UK). He consults, trains and licenses members of both secular and faith-based organizations, megachurches, parachurches, denominations, and seminaries in his materials. His website is Lifethrive.com. Phone: (904) 838-8585