Management style from Jesus

If you ever want to know how to deal with people at work, you can’t go wrong with seeing what Jesus has to say about it.

Matthew 18:15-17 (ASV)
15 And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established.
17 And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican.

Let’s translate this for the workplace. If your employee is doing something wrong, talk to him privately. Tell him in person what the issue is so that he can fix it.

Don’t send him an email. Don’t chastise him in front of coworkers or customers. Don’t start off by calling a meeting with him, you, and upper management. Do it privately.

Don’t threaten to fire him or write him up or any other form of punishment at this time. This is a time to let him know that his actions are not in line with what is expected by company policy.

Then wait. See how he responds.

If he fails to comply and put his actions in line with company policy, then it is time to call for a meeting with him, you, and upper management.

If that still doesn’t work, get your Human Resources department in, or even hire a professional non-violent conflict resolution expert.

If that still doesn’t achieve the desired result, then take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including firing him.

The worst thing you can do is have issue with an employee’s behavior or actions and start talking to upper management first, skipping the employee in the discussion, and documenting his actions. The employee does not know that he is doing anything wrong, so he does not have any awareness that he needs to correct it. Meanwhile, he is silently being punished and tracked for his every action. This is unfair, unkind, and unwise. It is, simply, a sign of bad management, but worse, it is the sign of a bad human being on the part of management.

This also works for interoffice conflicts. If you have issue with a coworker, tell them privately. Don’t get your boss involved. Talk to your coworker privately about how their actions affect the workflow. Tell them how you feel when they shirk their responsibility. If they don’t change their ways, then talk to the boss.

Thoughts on the printing press and innovation

Look at how the printing press changed the world. No one had even thought about reproducing books on a mass scale before. They were written by hand and were precious. Only the very wealthy were able to read them. With the printing press it meant that everyone had access to the written word.

This of course assumes that they could read. That too had been limited to only the wealthy, who had the time and money to get an education.

We take the printing press for granted these days. It seems completely logical to not have to make books by hand one letter at a time, one person at a time. But it required the thought of one particular person and a lot of work to make it happen. Just one person had to have the idea and give it enough energy to make it real.

What new thing is about to happen that will change the way we think? What new thing is about to happen that will make us wonder will “How come we didn’t think of that?” What new thing will happen that will seem like we’ve always had it?

Before that new thing was the same old thing. We do things the same old way over and over again until either it is too difficult to do it or it breaks or somebody tries to figure out a way to make it easier to do. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but so is laziness.

Taking things for granted is death. When we take things for granted we don’t grow and we don’t change. Adversity sometimes is our greatest reward. It is our greatest spur towards growth. Sometimes the best question that can ever be asked is “Why not?” Just because we’ve always done it this way doesn’t mean we always should do it this way. Just because it works now doesn’t mean it can’t work better.