== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Following the Leader

I was pleasantly surprised this week to find that I had won the "Best Manager" award within the IT department where I work. This had been organised to celebrate the fact that our IT department had been selected as a finalist in the Computer Weekly "Best Place to Work in IT" awards. [Update - we won our category :) ]

What's interesting about this is that I have been making a specific effort over the past year to try to base my management approach on principles that Jesus taught. Thus, for example:
  • I try to remember to start each working day by asking God for guidance for that day (though I far too often get distracted by emails and things and forget!), and I try to remember that I am answerable to God for my performance - not just my "human" manager.
  • I try to see my role as a manager as someone who is there to serve the people in my team - that involves giving overall direction and helping to remove obstacles.
  • I try to see people as people - with hopes, dreams, struggles, emotions, etc. - not as resources to be just used for the company's ends.
  • This doesn't mean, however, that I don't expect people to make an effort or that I just accept any old performance or behaviour - I try to give people challenges and expect them to work well and to deliver - when they don't I try to address the problem in a positive way, understand the reasons, and work with them to resolve the issues.
  • When I give people challenges, I like, as far as possible, to give them the freedom to tackle them in their own way.
  • I try to avoid working excessive hours because I have other responsibilities to God and my family - and I try to encourage my team not to work excessive hours either.
Of course it would be very presumptuous of me to assume that I know how Jesus would act as a manager. However, He has left some clues in the things He did and said, so I have tried to pick up on those and apply them practically in my working life.

What's most interesting about this is that I am far from successful in actually applying these principles all the time. I far too often don't respond in the right way, don't do the right things, fail to solve or avoid problems that I should have, etc. (And I'm not just saying that to sound "humble" or something - I really do fail way to often on these things.) But in spite of those failings I still won that award. To me this just goes to show that even trying to apply the principles of leadership that Jesus taught and demonstrated can make a real difference - even when your application of those principles is far from perfect.

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