The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions. Proverbs 28:1
Research has demonstrated that there are common attributes evident in people who are effective and successful in the workplace. These “success factors” are demonstrated by believers and nonbelievers alike. And while these characteristics on their own may be of some value, as believers we need to take into account the very clear words of Jesus when he said, “without me, you can do nothing.” A success factor may be great characteristic to have but, like everything, if not used in line with God’s direction, it may work against us. So, let’s consider what it might be like to work from the heart of God…
Take Command Skills, for example. Everyone has experienced the bossy person who offers no meaningful purpose or rationale for their directives but falls back on the old “because I said so” or “because I’m the boss and I sign your paycheck” when issuing commands. This may gain some compliance and obedience while the leader is watching but it will never earn the level of commitment that can be gained by command skills that are rooted in purpose and earned authority.
Let’s be clear, leading puts you in the crosshairs. It makes you and your decisions very visible and open to criticism. It is certainly not a role for the faint of heart. And the possession of command skills is an absolute leadership requirement because no one is comfortable following an uncertain, indecisive, or insecure leader. At the same time, followers will quickly fall away from a leader who is commanding from a self-centered place or with a poorly defined objective. And the ability to secure followers and sustain commitment to a common goal becomes even more critical in times of crisis.
It isn’t hard to see how important it is to have a solid command of each challenging situation and the commitment of followers to execute your directives. The question is, where does the confidence come from to operate like that? Here’s where believers experience a tremendous advantage because of their ability to be led by the Holy Spirit.
How confident will you be (and sound to others) when you know that you have heard from God Almighty about the way you should go and the best approach to take? Imagine cashing in on this promise: “But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11) Talk about being able to be confident in a crisis! Who wouldn’t trust a strategy if the Holy Spirit of God was the one saying “Do it, because I said so”?
The formula for true success was modeled for us by the Master. “And I know His commands lead to eternal life; so, I say whatever the Father tells me to say.” John 12:50. Don’t try to do your own thing on your own and hope for the confidence to carry it off. You don’t know the future, the hidden agendas that might be in play, the capabilities of all the people involved, or even the full set of consequences that your commands might produce. We simply don’t have enough information in the natural to command others with the assurance of success.
The best we can do as leaders is to offer ourselves to God as His copilot and allow Him to set the course for us. Don’t assume that God isn’t interested in working in partnership with you on practical details and workplace issues because He is. Work was His idea in the first place and He desires to be one with us in all our endeavors. He wants to be involved in everything we do so that He can bless us and empower us to bless others. Never forget— it is God who placed you in your leadership role for His purposes and He is more than willing and able to strengthen and guide you so that you can confidently and boldly lead others.
How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor?
You will be someone who:
- Relishes leading—knows leading is a calling
- takes unpopular stands, if necessary
- encourages direct and tough debate but isn’t afraid to end it and move on
- is looked to for direction in a crisis
- faces adversity head on with courage
- may even be energized by tough challenges
The Secret: If you want authentic power and authority ensure that your words and actions are rooted in the will and character of God. Anyone can be bold and pushy but true command skills are found in leaders who serve a higher vision and purpose than their own. The success of your command skills is rooted in this word from Jesus himself in John 15:5 “…Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”