Humility in the workplace
Christians are expected to reflect an attitude of humility in their lives. It should show in their actions and work ethics as they work alongside others in the workplace. One of the crucial areas through which conceit or humbleness is easily seen is in the area of communication. Here in this aspect of the individual’s person is measured whether he/she possesses an attitude of lowliness. Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart” of a man, “his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
The mouth can be a window through which the person inside the man is seen – the real him or her. It’s true, to a certain extent that no one can see the other person’s heart nor can anybody read someone’s mind; but according to Jesus though the heart and mind are not visibly manifested, inner thoughts and desires are eventually shown through actions and words (Luke 6:43-45, Mark 7:20-23) which are obviously observed. A Christian who has gone some distance in the walk of faith must somehow show a certain amount of humbleness in his/her life.
And since like other thoughts and longings, humbleness is an inner quality which finds its way into certain attitudes or words or actions,
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Apostle Paul identified “selfish ambition” and “vain conceit” as the reasons why people who are supposed to possess a “lowly” disposition at times show a different attitude. Instead of giving proper credit to others, when we are asked about our accomplishments, we take sole responsibility. We take the credit alone. This should not be so (Demchuk, 1999). We can think of others, particularly in our workplace, who actually shared the work with us and point to them as the reason why our successful accomplishment had been achieved.
It is true that pride is a sin. It always is the cause of many troubles in the business world. Pride makes people selfish instead of being selfless. If you’re a manager or executive or a leader for that matter, and pride drives you and you are hungry for insatiable affirmation without any consideration of people who work under you, you may have been refraining from showing affirmative gestures to your workers for imaginary fear that it might get their egos bloated.
This will result in a leadership style that is ineffective and consequently take away the morale of your staff and ruin your relationships (Demchuk, 1999). In Philippians 2:3, Paul is indeed treating pride directly and gave a potent dose of antidote to the Philippians. He was not actually discussing an “effective leadership” to them, though the passage or context might be geared towards that, especially when one considers “selfless service” as an effective leadership trait. In the Roman world, servile attitude was never a virtue (Demchuk, 1999).
Today it is rare among people to take servanthood as the way to become effective or successful; but indeed, if only people would learn the way of Christ, they would realize its powerful effect on their leadership. Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, has powerfully described what he has called as “level 5 leadership. ” Taking his principles from Paul in Philippians 2:1-11, and applying to leadership, he said that a level 5 leader, when things go well under his management, makes it his habit to “look out the window” to distribute credit to factors outside of himself (Collins, 2001).
Level 5 leader does equally the same when things go poorly. He looks to the mirror and instead of blaming only others for the misfortune, he shares the blame (Collins, 2001). This same approach according to Collins, might be applied to ourselves especially when asked about which accomplishment we are most proud of. This is the same law behind Apostle Paul’s words in Philippians and we can do the same to our colleagues at work. We can always give the credit to people who compose our team (Collins, 2001).
The good fortune that we are enjoying has become possible only because of the people who work with us. Rather than become narcissistic about the success we presumably attained, let us distribute the honor to others who have given their contribution to the success of our endeavors. Reference 1. Clarke, Adam. Commentary to the Philippians. Power Bible CD: 2001. 2. Collins, Jim 2001. Good to Great. 3. Demchuk, David, 1999. Full Life Bible Commentary to the New Testament. Zondervan Corporation. 4. New King James Version, 1982. Thomas Nelson Inc.