By Bryan Stiglets
In a leadership role within the marketplace you are afforded the ability to lead, provide, and protect your people. Yet, things get a little murky with the inevitable relationships forged between men and women. In today’s business environment, there will be female co-workers who you have a business relationship with and you often will spend more than eight hours a day working alongside. For men holding a view of manhood shaped by a biblical worldview, this can put you in a peculiar place.
How do you live out the truths of biblical manhood as you manage those female employees underneath your stewardship? May I suggest two ways?
Don’t be a Hero
Due to our idolatrous hearts, we often forget that we are gifted with leadership positions in order to be a light and lead people to good, right relationships with Christ. Instead, we become the hero and step into a role that only Christ can fulfill. This leads to idolatrous relationships in general and when you add the opposite sex, it is a ticking time bomb counting down to wreck your world. We are to lead, provide, and protect those entrusted to us, but we do that through leading them to the cross of Christ, not to the shrine of our own ego.
The best way I have found to lead your people, is to protect them from yourself and to repent before them when you can. This breaks down the alters of the corporate gods we so often justify ourselves before and creates a culture where character is what truly matters. When we act like the hero we are doing nothing but building a card castle kingdom that will surely fall before our people and wherein we will lose all credibility.
When you are pointing to Christ, making Him the hero, your female co-workers will see that He is one who is truly desirable.
Running Rightly is not always Running Away
I can’t avoid eight hours with a female co-worker. My female co-workers are essential to the execution of daily operations in my business. There are some who would say that a man should never be alone with a woman, because this is playing with fire. While there is great wisdom in paying careful attention to our interactions with female co-workers or employees, the practice of avoiding female co-workers is far from practical and can very easily justify escapism and therefore handcuff a man’s ability to fulfill his call to biblical manhood.
A biblical man is someone who leads, provides, and protects women accordingly and appropriately. When I have a female who works for me, am I to retreat to an escapist mentality in order to protect myself? Is every woman really Potiphar’s wife?
My call is to lead, provide, and protect everyone entrusted to me in a way that is particular to that relationship. Sometimes that means to protect both of us by not allowing compromising situations, but it also allows for healthy interaction with her as well. Occasionally you will need to be the one who interacts with her and at other times it would be wise to guide her to another person who might be more apt to handle that specific situation. Always, you should be humbly beseeching the Lord for discernment and wisdom.
For example, it is part of my duty as a boss to listen to the needs of my employees. I need to be willing and open to listening to those females underneath my leadership regarding things and concerns they have pertaining to their job. It is not my duty, nor my place, to invest in actively searching the heart of those females that I work with. While providing and protecting are two attributes of biblical manhood that shape they way I interact with my female co-workers (though they shape it differently then they shape my marriage), pursuing has no role in my relationships with women in the workplace. We must be willing and ready to meet the needs of those under our leadership as it pertains to the faithful execution of their jobs, encouraging them towards Christ, and showing the love of Christ through provision and protection as the Lord leads.
How do you treat a woman in the marketplace, or anywhere? You treat her as a “sister.” Now your female co-worker may not be a believer, but by treating her as a sister you will cast a vision for her of what a Godly man looks like. A manager who tries to be her hero creates a situation where he steps into the role of savior and he fosters a culture that will breed inappropriate interaction between unmarried men and women. On the other hand, a brother who never cares or speaks into the life of his sister simply has no relationship with which to lead her rightly. You are to remember that the Lord has entrusted those under your leadership to you, so that you may lead them to Christ.
Bryan Stiglets is husband to Alyssa, father to Haddon, and Covenant Member at the Village Church. He works as a manager for a major car company and tweets @BryanStiglets. Bryan has a degree in Philosophy from Dallas Baptist University. He enjoys barbecue and Texas Ranger baseball.
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