Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” ~Steve Jobs
Last week, I described how Mary and I begin each day. This special time is our way of bringing our authentic, Jesus-centred selves out of “sleep mode.”
Early morning preparation notwithstanding, marketplace turbulence can rapidly throw me off my game if I’m not careful. As all marketplace leaders experience (sometimes frequently!), a business day can unexpectedly turn intense. Confession: There have been occasions over the years when such turbulence has distracted from my desire to be my authentic self at work.
Today, I will complete this series on being authentic at work by sharing some practices I try to follow.
Earn the right to speak to my coworkers about the spiritual.
Per Steve Jobs’ advice to leaders (and everyone for that matter), I have always tried to conduct myself with excellence in the marketplace. Striving for excellence when carrying out my leadership responsibilities and treating others as I would like to be treated bolster my credibility to speak to others in the marketplace about spiritual matters if a door opens.
In his letter to the fledgling church in Colossae, the Apostle Paul says, “…don’t just do the minimum [for your employer] that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God.” In essence, Paul is encouraging followers of Jesus to conduct themselves with excellence in the workplace, thereby bolstering their credibility when sharing their faith with others.
I interpret the Apostle Paul’s foregoing admonition to mean that explicitly sharing the gospel in the workplace is generally inappropriate during work hours unless done in response to a question or in a life and death situation.
That said, followers of Jesus are to always be opportunistic. For example, Paul says later in his letter to the Colossians, “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”
For me, this directive implies we should always listen carefully when others speak not just because it honours them and facilitates good communication but also because they sometimes open a door of spiritual opportunity. Many times over the years, someone in a corporate setting has shared personal challenges such as illness or family struggles with me. For example, on September 11, 2001, my human resources manager told me her sister was in one of the World Trade Centre towers. Having asked her permission, I prayed with her for her sister’s safety and, thankfully, she survived.
As per the previous example, I follow the practice of asking others for permission to speak about spiritual matters. This includes not only praying for a particular issue but also encouraging them based upon my Christian worldview. Sometimes, people ask me a question that lends itself to my asking their permission to share my spiritual journey.
Take advantage of LeaderImpact.
The mission of LeaderImpact is to help marketplace leaders explore the relevance of faith in God in their professional and personal lives. If you aren’t already using this platform, I strongly encourage you to do so as it is a great way to professionally and safely share your faith.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.