Is Christianity good for business?
We asked David, who has headed up a Lloyd’s of London syndicate, and Alexis, who has been a director at a City asset management firm, for their thoughts on how being Christians shapes their approach to leadership and management.
You want success, money and power. So for many, being ‘the Boss’ is the ultimate objective.
Jesus Christ set the ultimate standard in leadership and told his followers they must be different to the leaders of their day. Jesus said, ‘Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be a slave of all.’ So Christianity has a very different ideal to what is normally expected or sought by those with ambitions for the top.
It means ‘the Boss’ should be fair and honest with staff and clients, work hard, set high standards of speech and integrity and will ultimately seek to serve others before their own self-interest.
Effective leadership is challenging. But I enjoyed my time leading a syndicate at Lloyd’s of London for eight years. I was constantly reminded that it was hard, in fact impossible, to attain to the standard of excellence set by Christ. But, I also recognised that His model was the best to follow and best for all concerned.
Jesus also went on to say, ‘For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ Jesus ultimately came to serve our greatest need arising from our rebellious, self-centred lives. Jesus ‘gave his life as a ransom’ by dying for us so that we all can be forgiven and have an amazing new life with our Creator now and forever.
So, most of all, the good ‘Boss’ will want to serve their team, company and other stakeholders by pointing to, and acknowledging, the ultimate leader: Jesus Christ.
Every Christian manager is also a sinner who’s been saved by the undeserved kindness of Jesus who died for our sins.
As managers and sinners, we are bound to get things wrong as we manage other people and make decisions, and should be quick to acknowledge this when we do. And as Christians who have been forgiven by God we should also be quick to forgive the people who work for us when they make mistakes.
When tough decisions are required, with staff or projects where we don’t know what is best, it is great to know that God helps us fulfil our responsibilities in the best way we can. And there is huge freedom in knowing that the person in charge of my life, Jesus Christ, is the best and most perfect manager anyone can have, and he is genuinely concerned for my good in a way no human manager could be.
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