Most of us spend a great deal of our time at work. Work is part of God's purpose for our lives. It is not part of the curse. It was God's plan for us right from the beginning. He has designed us to be most fulfilled and most joyful when we are making a contribution. We are called to serve others and to make the world a better place.
Every employer is looking for the 'dream employee' (sometimes many of them!) to help their organisation fulfil its mission. For us as Christians, we should seek to be that dream employee, working with all our heart as unto the Lord (Col.3:23-24).
Here are five simple ways to become a DREAM employee:
DO your job with excellence
· Understand and embrace the mission and objectives of the organisation.
Every organisation has a reason ‘why’ it exists. Know what this purpose is and give yourself to this cause. Understand it and embrace it wholeheartedly.
· Know what your role is and fulfil your specific responsibilities.
Any mission has many parts and will take a team of people to accomplish it. Know what your role is and what specific responsibilities have been entrusted to you. The clearer you can articulate this, the better. What does your supervisor need or require from you? When you’re doing your job well, what is getting done? Know specifically what is expected of you. If you’re not sure, ask, then seek to do those things that really well. Focus on doing your job well (not everyone else’s).
· Work diligently as to the Lord.
One of the keys to success and productivity is diligence – or just plain old hard work. Nothing just happens – by luck or chance. Life is about sowing and reaping. We reap what we sow. If you see someone who is being highly productive and seeing great fruit, they have simply followed some universal God-ordained principles that God is blessing (see Proverbs 6:6-11; 10:4; 12:11; 13:4; 14:23; 21:4; 24:30-34).
· Be aware of all policies and procedures and work within them.
Management expert, Peter Drucker, says that there are two major categories of decisions that need to be made – generic decisions (re-occurring) and unique decisions (rare, exceptional or one off). Generic decisions require a rule, a policy or a principle. Once these have been formulated, all similar situations can be handled by adapting the rule to the specific situation.
So policies are your friend! If they don’t work or aren’t producing the desired result then they can be reviewed. They are created to serve us (not the other way around). Be aware of them and work within them.
· Know your priorities and focus your time on what is most important.
Most jobs require the completion of many tasks. It is easy to become busy attending to the urgent things and neglect the most important things (which usually aren’t screaming at us!). Make sure you put the ‘big rocks’ in your calendar first. Place an urgency factor on important things.
The best time management advice ever given: At the end of each day, write down the top ten things you need to do the following day in order of importance. When you arrive, do the top items first.
“Planning your day, rather than allowing it to unfold at the whim of others, is the single most important piece of the time management puzzle. A daily plan, in writing, is the single most effective time management strategy, yet not one person in ten does it.”
· Keep growing and learning, striving to be the best you can be.
Wise people never stop learning. They never ‘arrive’ but they are continually seeking to grow and develop their God-given potential. They read, they listen (to others) and they learn from experience.
See yourself as ‘self–employed’ and develop your greatest asset – yourself.
The Christian life is to be one of ‘progress’ but this is a result of disciplined action. God wants you to grow yourself and your ministry (1 Tim.4:12-16). Commit yourself to continual improvement. Refuse to stagnate or plateau. Do everything you can to maximise your God-given potential in order to remain relevant and fruitful. Establish a plan for growth in every area of your life and ministry and commit yourself to it.
Have a think about yourself. Are you declining, maintaining or progressing in your own personal ministry development? What about the ministry you are involved in?
· Always look for better and more creative ways to do things.
Wise people are always looking for new insights, new ways of seeing things and new ways of doing things. God is a creative God and he calls us to be like him – innovators. We serve a creative God who, though he never changes in his character, has designed a world full of variety and freshness (Gen.1:1). We are created in his image (Gen.1:26). It is important that we seek to make your ministry fresh and alive. Always ask, “Is there a better way?” Admit where things are no longer working and make appropriate changes (Mk.2:1-5)
Create an atmosphere within your team that says, “Let’s find a better way” and that encourages “thinking outside the box”. Always be looking for a new idea that will improve or expand your ministry. Don’t get stuck with a mentality that says, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Regularly ask yourself, “What’s working well and why?” and “What’s not working and why?”
More tomorrow ...