Jen’s Gem: Put God in charge of your life.
When I graduated college and moved to Connecticut for my first corporate job, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a member of an IT training program team. I was one of two women in the group, which was not surprising given this field was male-dominated at that time. My first boss, a woman, showed me what a good manager looks like.
Over the course of my 25+ years in corporate, I have had a variety of people – male and female – supervising me. Some good, some, well…let’s just say a few tears were shed during my commutes and in building parking lots. (You can read more about this in my book.) However, these experiences taught me about the kind of manager I wanted to be and I’m grateful for each of them. Ok. Most of them!
According to an assessment test that I recently completed, turns out that I’m wired to be a good manager, to lead a team towards a common goal. But what exactly makes for a good manager? Let’s look at a few characteristics:
- Build relationships
The first and most important skill that a manager must have is the ability to build relationships with their team. This begins with establishing a firm foundation of trust, an “I’ve got your back” culture so that each team member feels safe and knows that even if they make a mistake, you’ll be there for them. There’s no throwing anyone under the bus. You take the fall.
- Set clear expectations
A good manager will lay out specifics about the assignment so that everyone is crystal clear about the end goal. Confusion is the enemy as it will cause your team to feel frustrated and unmotivated. Nothing burns out a person faster than confusion and feeling hopeless.
- Delegate tasks
If you’re a control freak, management may not be the role for you. You have to delegate tasks to the right team members so that the work gets done efficiently and effectively. And if you’re thinking about micromanaging? Don’t. Recognize the skills and talents of your team, delegate appropriately, and provide encouragement along the way.Open your door
Even the best-laid plans go awry at times. Circumstances change, hiccups occur, people get stuck. A good manager is always available for questions to clarify the task or brainstorm better ways to get it done. Making sure your team knows that there are no dumb questions is key.
- Recognize a job well done.
People who feel appreciated and valued will always do more for you. Managers who know what’s good for them will call out the excellent work of their team whether it’s a simple “Thank you” or a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts. Appreciation (and a reward) go a long way.
These are just a handful of traits for a good manager here on planet Earth. Let’s see how God stacks up in His management skills. (If you want to learn more about how good of a manager God is, click on the highlighted/underlined text below.)
First, because of His Son Jesus, God made it possible for everyone to have a relationship with Him. God always has our back and His mercy and grace are available when we fall. Check.
Second, God’s Word (the Bible) contains all of His expectations for His children, laid out in black and white. Crystal clear. (Take a look at the Book of Proverbs for practical tips. There’s 31 of them so you can read one each day). Check.
Third, when Jesus ascended back into heaven, He delegated the task of going out into the world and spreading the Gospel, the Good News, to His disciples. Today, that’s you and me. He’s given each of us gifts and talents to do this and do it well. Check.
Next, because of Jesus, God’s door is always open for questions and brainstorming sessions so that we are clear on His purpose and plan for our lives. Prayer is our way of communicating with God. Check.
Lastly, our rewards for being a member of God’s team, believing in His Son, are a life of purpose, abundance and love followed by eternal life in heaven with our Father. Check.
Hmm… Looks like God checks all of the boxes of being a good manager! Ok, no real surprise here as He’s
good (well, great actually) at everything. In addition to God being a great manager, He has also given us power, authority and His Holy Spirit to help us get the job done!
So, why do we struggle with making God the manager of our lives? As our Father in Heaven, He cares deeply for us, wants us to win, and is available 24/7/365 to help us. He’s given us everything we need to live the life Jesus died for us to have.
If your current manager doesn’t check all of these boxes, it may be time to fire them. God would love to take their place. In fact, He’s sitting in the lobby just waiting for you to ask Him in for an interview. Go on – ask! (Here’s how.)