As a leader your responsibility should be to create and sustain a nourishing environment where people flourish. Whether or not you are a Christian, there are many Biblical principles that can be applied to this end, just as there are in the teachings of other major world religions.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul mentors Timothy on the qualities necessary for healthy growth of the fledgling church and, in return, makes him a promise.
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6.18-19).
Any organization, business or group will benefit from planting these foundational principles and will reap the harvest they produce.
1. Encourage growth and mentorship
Paul was Timothy’s mentor and wrote to him frequently teaching him on the faith. Timothy was young and inexperienced but willing to learn about leadership from Paul.
A flourishing organization needs a healthy crop of new growth, too – people who are enthusiastic, exuberant and willing to learn. New hires reflect energy and joy.
Work should be enjoyed, not endured. If your organization is stale from a lack of energy, find mentees through internships, co-ops or part-time employees. You can also partner with other groups through networking and business associations.
With my organization, we created a coworking space that is open to the public. On a daily basis, new people enter our workspace bringing with them novel perspectives and fresh ideas.
2. Do good, not just good enough.
A new Christian’s life is typically marked by a joyous desire to put their faith in action fed by enthusiasm and curiosity. Timothy did his best for the new church and to please Paul. If your organization is full of people only doing “good enough” rather than working at full capacity, their success and fulfillment will be anemic at best, and your group will not flourish.
In our organization we recruit talent who receive joy from their work. Our teams have an aversion to output that is only “good enough” to get by. Plant your environment with people who possess an inherent integrity for doing rich deeds and good work. Proper talent selection will trump training every time for creating and sustaining a flourishing culture.
How would you like to see people in your organization “doing good?”
3. Give generously and share the load
Make sure that your corporate culture reflects a giving attitude and continue to nurture that through your own actions. This can be generous pay to your staff, donating an appropriate percentage of profit to charity or giving your time, knowledge or company resources to other groups. You should, also, encourage a culture of giving among your staff, such as them helping a teammate with a project or learning something new and sharing that knowledge with their team.
Servant leadership is at the heart of my organization’s corporate culture, and we consistently reinforce this via our leaders’ actions and communications with our team members.
We aim to follow the Biblical principle that states, “But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first” (Matthew 19:30).
Serve your employees first, then your clients, then yourself. All three need care in order for your company to flourish. If your leadership models a servant heart for your staff, they will have more enjoyment and will desire to contribute at their optimum level.
An earmark of a gifted leader is that they willingly sacrifice their time, money and effort beyond what may seem logical to an outsider. They enthusiastically take ownership and share the load with their team.
Enjoy the harvest
The Bible never gives an exhortation without a corresponding promise. Paul promises Timothy that if his community does good and is rich in good deeds, generous and willing to share, then he will have established a firm foundation for the future in which they will all experience true life.
Don’t just endure your work, which is where you spend a considerable amount of your time. Establish your company’s future by practicing these foundational principles.
You will be rewarded with not only an energetic, productive staff, but also your own bountiful joy at having led others to flourish. Indeed, you and your organization will experience true life.