This past week, Paul Basden taught an excellent lesson entitled, “Is my workplace better because I showed up today?” I’m not going to rehash the lesson, but there are several things I appreciated about his teaching. First, Basden affirmed that we are all made in the image of God and wired to create. We were made to work. Second, all of life is sacred and we are all ministers. Our work is ministry. I have only heard 1 or 2 sermons in my life on the vocation of work, yet the majority of our time in a week is devoted to work.
I’ve seen Christians who are lazy, unproductive, and ineffective. I’ve done business with companies that employ Christian symbols in their marketing, but lack integrity in their dealings. Christians are not perfect and statistically are not more lazy, unethical, or unproductive than unbelievers. However, I’m always disappointed when Christians fail in the workplace. So, a lesson on making a difference in the workplace is timely and caused me to ask, “What are some specific things we can do to make our workplaces better?”
1. Be positive, cheerful, upbeat. Smile. Attitude is everything. Eighty-five percent of success is attitude and relationships. Be positive about your organization and passionate about your work. Paul wrote, “Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.” (Phil. 2:14) If you can’t get happy, find another place of employment where you will be happy. Life is too short for negative emotions.
2. Give an honest day’s work. It’s not about busy-ness, but business. The term “business” means work that is socially valuable and rewarding. You can keep busy and yet not produce results. Your work should bring value to others. Don’t share your faith on someone else’s nickel. You’re not paid to proselytize at secular employment. Leave faith discussions to breaks, lunches, and after hours. Solomon wrote, “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.” (Prov 20:4) Be known as a hard worker.
3. Respect coworkers. Value the contributions and skills others bring to your team. Value differences. Don’t gossip. Don’t put down others. Always be looking for ways to say nice things about people. Respect begins in the heart. Extend grace to others. (Romans 13:7)
4. Work as if you own the company. Take initiative. Do more than is expected. Anticipate what is needed. Own the problem and the solution. Don’t blame others for how we got here. Spend company money as if it were your own.
5. Help others with their work. Continually ask yourself, “How can I better serve my coworkers and our customers?” Peter writes, “If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” Serve others as if you are serving God.
6. Pay attention to detail. This demonstrates pride in your work. Learn skills that will make you a better worker.
7. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Keep people informed of your work. Teams function best when they communicate Who, What, Where, Why, How, and When.
8. Be Humble. No one likes to be around a narcissist. Check your EGO at the door. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit. (Prov. 11:2)
9. Keep your promises. There is nothing that breaks trust more than people who don’t keep their word. Meet deadlines. (Jer. 44:25)
10. Contribute to the Mission. At the end of the day ask, “How am I contributing to the mission of the organization?” Do you know why your company exists? Help your organization make a difference in your industry.
Consistently do these 10 behaviors and you will be a valued asset to any organization.