How to lead with Christian ethics in 2016

Christian-business-ethics Each of us is born with unique God-given gifts and talents. Our gifts are expressed through hobbies, how we relate to people, how we spend our free time and through our choice of vocation. So, what happens when you are called to use your strengths and talents to lead in business? How do you continue to honor the Lord while leading? When an individual decides to become a leader, he or she takes on the responsibility for their organization, its people and the communities it serves. The challenges of leading a team – and the vast amount of time and dedication needed – require a sizable leap of faith. It’s faith, along with vision, that propels leaders to forge ahead when others hold back.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10
Your leadership position is your way to serve.

The term “servant leadership” has been around for decades. First coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay, The Servant as Leader, servant leadership defines a leader as someone who focuses on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.

"But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant.” – Luke 22:26
Remember from whom all blessings flow.

Running a department requires confidence, and, some would argue, the self-assurance leaders need can turn into arrogance and self-reliance.

“It certainly takes confidence to be successful in business, but you must always remember from whom all blessings flow,” notes Melinda Emerson, SmallBizLady and Twitter talk show host at #SmallBizChat.1 “God has given you the talent and ability to make money, and that should keep you humble.”

Lean on scripture to stay grounded. A reminder to remain modest is stated in Deuteronomy 8:18: “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today.”

Honor God with hard work.

God calls on His people to work hard and not squander the talents and strengths He has provided. Author Pete Miller of Share Faith points out that all the noble men and women of the Bible were hard-working — in fact, many were working when they were called by God. “Joseph was the keeper of the prison, then the Pharaoh’s second in command. Gideon was threshing wheat and Ruth gleaned wheat in the field. Elisha was plowing with a team of oxen when Elijah called him, and Amos worked as a herdsman. Peter, James, and John were fishermen and Luke was a physician,” notes Miller. And Lydia was a successful businesswoman who sold quality purple cloth. Again and again throughout scripture, God calls on busy people. The Bible speaks of not being lazy and always working hard. Work for the Lord with a heart full of love for Him. Miller chose this message to show that slothful behavior is condemned while conscientiousness and desire to do the best work is celebrated. “Becoming outstanding in an occupation, whatever profession it may be, is always a worthy goal. God notices,” says Miller.

Be honest. Be ethical.

The right way to solve a customer’s problem may not always be the most profitable for the organization; when honoring God through remains our central motivation rather than profit, we won’t ever turn away from our biblical work ethics.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? – Mark 8:36
Give thanks and give back.

Running a business isn’t for the weak of heart. When hard work pays off and success is realized, it’s all too easy to forget who to thank for providing the blessings of courage and perseverance. Remember to give thanks and honor to the Lord. Giving back to God shows both your gratitude for and acknowledgment of His gifts and demonstrates your continued faith that the Lord will continue to provide and lead. Proverbs 3: 9-10 speaks of honoring the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest, then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine.

Keep praying.

Reaching a triumphant milestone like achieving a profitable quarter, or serving your 1000th customer, doesn’t mean the conversations with God should stop. Keep the lines of communication with Him open at all times. Continue to be grateful, keep asking for guidance and always listen. God gives the best advice.

What is ethics?

According to the Josephson Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring a more ethical society, business ethics can be summed up in 12 principles:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Promise keeping
  • Loyalty
  • Fairness
  • Caring
  • Respect for others
  • Law abiding
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Leadership
  • Reputation and Morale
  • Accountability

In their book, Business Ethics: Decision-Making for Personal Integrity & Social Responsibility, authors Laura Hartman, Joseph DesJardins and Chris MacDonald, outline an ethical decision-making process.

  • Separate the facts of the situation from the opinions.
  • Recognize the ethical component to the decision.
  • Identify and consider all of the people affected by the decision.
  • Consider the available alternatives.
  • Compare and weigh the alternatives.
  • Consider the effects of the decision on your own integrity, virtue, and character.
  • Make your decision.
  • Learn from your experience.

How do you continue to honor the Lord while leading? Please share with us below.