Managing Up – the Biblical Way

If you find yourself in a position of working for someone else or being managed by someone else, the Scriptures speak to how you are to conduct yourself.  Consider these passages:

Proverbs 16.13: Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.

If Kings take pleasure in honest lips, then it stands to reason that your manager will find the same pleasure in your honesty with him.  You will be valued because you speak the truth.  In my speaking travels around the country, when I speak to those who manage people, I ask a rather direct question:  “Do you believe that you receive the full, unvarnished truth from those you manage?”  Each time, the answer is “no”.  But also, each time, the underlying theme is that they wished they received the full, unvarnished truth so that they could respond better and make better decisions.

To be sure, some managers don’t want the truth. But most will – if its’ delivered with calmness, modesty and respect. Am I naïve?

Ecclesiastes 10.4: If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.

If your manager’s anger burns against you, remain calm and stay at your work.  Your calmness can lay a number of errors to rest if the manager’s anger is created through mis-information.

Proverbs 15.1: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Gentle answers turn away wrath.  If your manage is angry with you, a calm, gentle answer will turn away their wrath, unless, of course, you’ve not performed to expectations and the manager’s anger is justified.

Proverbs 27.18:  “…he who looks after his master will be honored”.

Aligning your agenda and focus to that of your manager will help you succeed.  In this verse the honor is assumed to come from the master and the application is that your manager will honor you.

Some will say that these verses are sheer folly. All I’ll say is that this is God’s truth. Your better to act on truth than not.

Bill English, CEO