Friday, February 6, 2015

Like a Boss

Last week I was engrossed in the arduous, bi-monthly talk of folding 300 newsletters for my job at Marion County Services when my boss shot me an excellent question via email.

See, my boss Cathy misses the open-door-style relationships she used to enjoy when our company was smaller- but now that it's near tripled its' size, and the demands for traveling out of office are higher than ever- she's missing the openness and casual ability for meaningful relationships with her employees. She wonders is there is a way, baring the obviously preferable face-to-face method of keeping up with everyone. Sound familiar?

Your thoughts?


Here's how I responded while you think it over...

"Actually, I think your motivation is an excellent one. What you wrote
yesterday has been weighing on my mind.

One of the things I remember and really appreciated from my old boss,
Dewey Moede, who was my station manager at the radio station I used to
work at, was how his door really was open- he was always calling me just
to talk or see how I was doing... and I don't know how he did it, but
eventually I wanted to talk with him too and see how he was doing.

I think one of the things which can so easily be lost in the work-place
environment is the natural, relational aspects which we normally have with
people on a regular basis. Because we feel our relational context has been
changed, we react and respond with people and situations very differently
while at work vs at home.

Right now, I honestly don’t have a one-shot, silver-bullet answer for you.
(I wish I did) But I hear you. What I can talk with you about are what
sorts of things I have seen work, though.

For starters- I really valued the genuine, relational honesty which Dewey
gave me. When my dog of 17 years passed away, even in the busy radio
office environment, he recognized how distraught I was and sent me home. He
really was always available for me- we are still friends and I
occasionally still write for his online outreach platform, For God's
Glory Alone.

Another awesome boss I had was Nate Stafford, who is the camp manager for
El Porvenir Christian Camp. I've interned twice up at camp and I really
valued how fair and caring Nate is. Nearly every morning, before the
campers were up, Nate and all the staff would have breakfast together.
We had space to talk if we wanted and just be ourselves. There, we would talk 
about what was going on that week- not so much as a
daily overview, but just naturally what was going on... this, I think is
where so many work-places fail, I guess, because honestly, when someone is
forced to respond to group events, the whole exercise in team-building is
lost. I realize the catch-22 nature of this; however, allowing regular
space for the people (just as People and not co-workers) is essential. All
the new staff actually comes up before the official camp season begins and
learns how to facilitate the high ropes course where we really REALLY have
to learn about how to actually trust each other. We, as a group, go on each
hike the camp offers, not only so we can lead campers throughout the
summer, but also so we simply spend time together as a team. I still love that
place so much Steph and I were married up there.

Another something I've noticed has been through the five years I've had
publishing a personal blog, Through continuous,
steady writing, I've learned how insisting on personal honesty has
actually been my first serious journey into my own identity as a person. 

I have a sign up in my house which says, 'Be Honest'. I've been through
personal crisis over the past few years. It's a bit of a story, but if you
ever have the time and would like to hear, feel free to ask. Insisting on
personal honesty has shown me, through thick and thin, what personal
integrity really means for me

By continuing to write about what is on my heart and mind, I get to take what is
in my head and get it out, plain as day, so I can see it. I think by naming
what I'm working through, I not only help myself, but can generate, over
time, a genuine group of followers who really hear me- are with me- just
like I am with them because we are not alone. We are all working through
the same sorts of life-stuff together.

In addition to this, I've learned that you're actually never marketing a
business or a product... you may have those on the boards or the
commercials- but what you're really marketing is yourself. People help you
or work with you- fight you or love you- because of their relationship
with you. I've also learned you have to speak people's language. It's easy
to live in our heads. We are so used to talking and thinking the way we do
because we all kind of live in a bubble of our own little worlds. This is
why its so important to remember each person has their own bubble- their
own world- where the language can be quite different. This is where solid
listening and understanding comes in.

I don’t know if any of this helps, but I hope it does. I'm still thinking
over ideas which might be able to help. For starters, though, I would
think about what you're good at. Play to your communicative strengths. If
you have trouble coming up with more than three strengths, ask people you
know who you look up to and trust what they think. Once you have a feel
for them, then we can explore the social media realm together: this way we
can identify the best tool for the job.

Sorry this is sooo long! Again, I hope it helps- thank you for trusting
you could open up to me about this- I really value this."


How must we be under God, the boss?
It's easy to imagine ourselves running hither and thither through the courses of our own little lives like ants far below the ivory towers of Heaven. 

"Hey! Hey down there!" God rumbles, calls down to us.

"EARTHQUAKE!!" We all yell, ducking for cover until the rumbling ceases. 

The world's and humanity's conversation has exponentially nuanced into a billion broken pieces since the Fall. And we are somewhere in the middle- hurtling along on our little, tiny existences. 

I keep reading the end of Job lately, the part when God finally comes down and Job and all his monloguing friends squeak and hide like frightened mice.

Do we know where the winds come from?

Or where the springs of the deep gush forth?

Are you having difficulty having a meaningful relationship with your Boss?
If Jesus had an office and the door was open, would you feel comfortable to just walk in and sit down and say what's on your mind and heart? Is there some nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach that clenches whenever you know he's around?

I bring up Job because we're all used to griping. If it's not one thing, it's always going to be another. And sometimes we even complaints based in legitimate reality. I think, just like we ought to have a real respect for people over us (and no, not just because they sign the checks and can fire us) because, ideally they've where they are professionally for a reason. Similarly, I think we need to listen to God with respect simply for no other fancy, sophisticated reason than that he IS God.

God is GOD.

Take that in for a moment.

Jesus is GOD.

The next time your pulse keeps beating on its own, or you breathe some more complimentary air in- remember God is GOD. And he is Good. (All the time).


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Like what you read? Join in with your own insights, stories and art- send them to Thanks and God bless -Ryan

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