Summary: This massage looks at how we can live out the call of Jesus for I-Thou relationships in the workplace, a place where more than any other we are tempted to live have I-It relationships. There aret 4 relationships today in the workplace
Gini Graham Scott has written a book entitled "A Survival Guide For Working With Humans." In it she writes, “Today, with an uncertain economy, collapsing and merging companies, corporate scandals, high-tech upheavals, and growing global competition, life in the workplace is more difficult than ever. Trusting in business relationships has become more uncertain, too.” In this book, Gini Graham Scott offers practical tools to help with workplace relationships. Her goal is to provide guidelines in how to work with difficult people because as we stated last week, we’re all sinners whose tendency is to focus on ourselves and our needs.
You are going to spend more time in your life in the workplace than in any other place in your life. The average American works an average of 46 hours per week. 38% of you work 50 hours a week or more. The average person spends 10 hours a week with their kids and spouse. So you’re going to spend 4 times as much time and energy in the workplace when compared to your family. That would mean your relationships in the workplace matters. One study found that most people who get fired for non-economic reasons don’t get the boot for doing a bad job, but because they lack the human relationship skills to work with others. And even if your lack of relationships with others at work doesn’t get you fired, it will crush your chances of ascending to the top. But more than that, we fail to live out the call of Christ.
Jesus was asked what is the most important thing in life: “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. The second commandment is like the first, You are to love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus is calling us to move from the I-It relationship to the I-Thou.
Slide #2 Synopsis of I-It and I-Thou
Monologue vs Dialogue
What can you do for me vs What can I do for you
Transactional vs interactional, authentic
Self-centered vs other centered
Today we’re going to look at how we can live out the call of Jesus for I-Thou relationships in the workplace, a place where more than any other we are tempted to live have I-It relationships. We’re going to talk about 4 relationships today in the workplace. Slide #3 First is the boss and employee relationship. How many of you own a business or supervise or manage employees? The fact of the matter is being a boss is a difficult. Take into account that we have a natural tendency toward the I-It relationship and that the business world encourages that and we can see that manifest itself even more in the boss and employee relationship. When we are interested in ourselves or the business first, sometimes people become a means to an end. Guess what? No employee likes to be considered an It. There is a lot of talk in business circles of people in the workplace feeling devalued and demoralized by their employers. Last year in Fast Company Magazine there was a cover article which asked this question: Is your boss a psychopath? There was quiz you could tak to see if you’re boss qualified. And then they set up online a blog where people could share stories of their psychopath bosses. One of the conclusions Fast Company Magazine came to is that the power and influence of the position of management often brings out those types of characteristics in people.
The Bible paints a very different picture of management. There are a lot of different metaphors used but the most prevalent is that of shepherd. Slide #4 Image of Shepherd. The boss is the shepherd and those entrusted to your care are your flock. 1 Peter 5:2-3, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” The people that work for you are God’s children. Some of them have been baptized and are actively following Jesus and others do not know Jesus but they are all God’s children and thus your flock to tend to and look after. God wants you not just to look after the job they do and be only concerned about the bottom line but to care for that person as a shepherd cares form his sheep. In other words, you are to serve them and their interests. Of course there are times when you have to straighten someone out, to remind them of the rules, policies and procedures but instead of lording it over them, do it in love. Instead of coming down on them because they messed up, lead them to become better in what do, to give their very best and achieve all they are capable of. And when there comes a time for termination, you do it in love for this person, to help them align their gifts in the right place. You do this because you see them as one of your flock whom Jesus has placed under your care.