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Summary: As a Christian we belong to Jesus and how we act in the work place is a reflection on Him.

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DEALING WITH MANAGEMENT – A CHRISTIAN CHALLENGE IN THE WORK PLACE

ILLUSTRATION

In the careless fashion of a young boy, while holding my nose, I asked the old man why in heck he put the cat’s litter box in the kitchen. He immediately straightened his 200 pound, six-foot two-inch frame and began counting his answers off, on the fingers of his gnarled right hand: “number one: it is a tile floor; number two: it is handy; and number three: that is where we had the litter box when I was a kid.” He made it very plain that his answer was the end of the discussion and that, from this moment on; I was at the top of his crap list.

That old man was the spitting image of almost every management structure I have ever experienced: paranoid, arrogant and incompetent. Well, that may be a bit strong but you get the idea.

In fact, I once pointed out to upper management, of this type, that they had failed to provide sufficient resources and time to accomplish the mission my organization had been given. My boss looked me straight in the eye and said: “yes, I am fully aware that you have insufficient resources. Still, if you fail it is your fault; but, if you succeed we are both a hero. So go and make us heroes!”

In the straight forwardness of that manager’s response rests the key to survival for a Christian in corporate America: support your boss. Remember, as a Christian we have been bought by Jesus and we now belong to Him. Look at it this way; Jesus hires us out to our employer 8 hour a day for five days a week. As our owner, Jesus expects us to be worthy of our hire and to be a good representative of the Body of Christ. The quality of our employer’s management structure is irrelevant; after all, most management is tailored after the exploitive mindset of corporate America. This is the reality of life, and as a Christian it is our obligation to support our boss … even if we are misused and underappreciated.

SERMON

THE CHALLENGE

I am sure there are corporations where exploitive-capitalist values do not dominate upper management; it is just that in more than 40 years of working with American businesses I have seldom found an un-exploitive management structure. I have also noticed that a greedy aristocratic attitude seems to pervade upper management, especially in the larger corporations. In my humble opinion, a malevolent spirit dominates most management structures in corporate America. Perhaps, that is why the rich continue to get richer while the working man continues to experience losses in the work place. I know that this sounds very negative but if you are not a part of the upper management structure there is a good probability you know what I am saying is true. Again, let me say that this does not hold true for all businesses, but far too many American corporations have a tendency to dishonored the poor and oppress them. (James 2:6)

I cannot explain why it is, but all management seems to have been cutout by the same cookie cutter. Only a few; a very few, seem to have the personal fortitude to rise above this common spirit of management. Thus, most workers are forced to labor under a management structure, which is shackled to this world by a spirit of greed and arrogance. This spirit can manifest itself across the entire spectrum of management: from the top to the bottom. I will admit that it is much more pronounced at the top but even the character of middle and lower management can be influenced the malignant spirit of corporate America. Some of the more common management attributes you will find are:

• Prejudgment – they think that they have the answer before they ever present the issue to subordinates;

• Over confidence – they think that because they are the boss they are right;

• Under confidence – they think that everyone is out to get their job;

• Shakey – they are afraid of their superior and they always back down even when only slightly challenged;

• Inconsistent – they say one thing and do something else;

• Never really listen – they ignore advice even though they may act like they are considering it;

• Micro-manage – they tell you to make a decision on your own but then they interfere in your decision cycle or just plain take over;

• Entrenched – they are locked into the past and the old ways of doing things;

• Self-focused – they take care of themselves and do not support or take care of the team;

• Isolated – they do not personally get involved in the day-by-day activities of the team; all they want to do is issue orders;

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