For most of us our vocation is important to us. For those who lead, the mission is important – especially when the mission is serving a higher cause. So not only are we driven to “get our job done”, the importance of what we do drives us even more. For many serving in ministry and serving people in non-profits we have so much to do and so few resources, especially time. So we push and push, and as leaders we keep urging those who follow us to reach new heights. Because they are dedicated people they respond.
While they are responding, their families are seeing them less and less. They go home burnt out with no energy for their spouse, no energy to play with their children, no energy for spending time with their friends, no energy to attend to pressing financial needs, and no energy to attend to their own relationship with the Lord. They are spent, all for a good cause, but still spent. And amazingly, they often still feel guilty for not doing more.
As leaders, we then commend them for their dedication and hard work, thus signaling to others that the standard in our organization is to sacrifice family, important relationships, and emotional and physical health for “the cause” – whatever it may be. This is also true in most of our country no matter what the industry. Why do we do this to people? And why, most of all, do we do this to people in ministry?
There are ways we can better take care of those we lead, there are ways we can help them to be healthy and strong, there are ways we can protect families, and finally, there are ways we can make our organizations healthier as well as more effective.
This article, How to Be a Family-Friendly Boss, on the Harvard Business Review site, gives some tips for helping those you lead (and maybe you need to try these tips in your own life?).
Focus on What, Not How or When. With today’s information technology, more and more work can be done in places other than the office and at times outside of traditional business hours.
Get Better at Measuring Performance. For managers to become comfortable with employees working more flexibly, they need to get better at measuring performance.
Delegate, Coach, and Let Your People Earn Trust. Another great investment that pays off in the long-term is spending the time to develop employees to the point where they can work more autonomously in the medium- and long-term.
Serve as a Work-Family Balance Role Model. Finally, you can help employees struggling with work-family balance by showing them how it’s done. Make it a habit at work to mention your family activities and ask your employees about theirs.
And finally this key thought (applies to ministry / non-profits as well as to business):
Managing employees is not easy, and for the most part, human resource policies in large organizations are designed to simplify things. But sometimes, in their tendency to focus on risks and avoid worse-case abuses, these policies serve to discourage supervisors from doing what makes sense.
You are a leader – do what makes sense. Take care of your people – be a shepherd and not a “boss”.
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8
Blessings on your week!
Crossway Bibles (2009-04-09). ESV Study Bible (Kindle Locations 223733-223740). Good News Publishers. Kindle Edition.