February 11, 2015
Many men work for female bosses in the workplace. How should men work in such a way that shows honor, both to God, and to their bosses who are female?
Even though statistics indicate that only a small margin of females have top roles as CEO’s (less than 5% in Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies according to Catalyst Research), a pew research report from December 2013 acknowledges that nearly the same percentage of women as men are working in managerial and administration roles. Men, this means that approximately half of you have a female boss.
Having a female boss is no different than having a king, a master, a mother, and a sister. In fact, it’s precisely like having all of those wrapped into one. Your female boss is worthy of the petitions a subject gives on behalf of his king, the hard work a servant gives his master, the honor a son gives his mother, and the protection a brother gives his sister.
How you do this is challenging. Not because your boss is female, but because you are human. Humans have a difficult time submitting to anything. They have a difficult time bending their knee to the King and Lord, Jesus. They have a difficult time submitting to mothers, fathers, and siblings. Workers, males and females alike, have difficulty submitting to bosses, male or female. We war against submission. If we didn’t, then God through his Son, prophets, and apostles would not have reminded us all so often to learn submission.
So fellas, when working for a woman, do so in these four ways.
ONE: Pray often for her.
1st Timothy 2:1-2 reminds us to pray for our kings and all who are in high positions. This includes your boss. As you diligently work, treat her with the esteem a subject gives to his king. Pray fervently for her that she would prosper, lead wisely, and maintain peace in the workplace. I encourage you to check in with her regularly and ask how you might pray for her. This might bear fruit for the sake of the gospel.
TWO: Work diligently for her.
The words of Colossians 3:22-23 apply to every worker these days as it did to every bondservant in Paul’s day. Just as a bondservant works diligently for his master, you should work diligently for your boss. So in everything, obey your boss, with both sincerity towards her and out of admiration and reverence for the Lord. All tasks that you are given should be done with your best effort. You want your boss to see how – in everything you do – you “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Tit. 2:10). Then she’ll know that you work heartily as for the Lord and not men (Col. 3:23).
THREE: Honor her with high praise.
Your boss deserves the same dignified, honorable treatment that you would give your mother. Both in Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:2, we see this commandment for children to honor their parents. And Proverbs 31:28 talks about how the wife of noble character’s children rise up and bless her.
It is widely believed and held that these verses were not just applicable for a son and daughter to honor his immediate parents. Children are expected to honor every adult.
Now, it may not be the case that you are younger than your boss. It is becoming more common for age to not have bearing on authority in the workplace. But often it still holds true that your boss may be your senior. Regardless, you should respect her and honor her like you would a mother.
FOUR: Guard her from trouble.
Not only should you honor your boss like a mother, but you should also guard her like a sister. Read Genesis 34 for a reminder.. Hamor, the prince of Shechem, took Dinah by force. Jacob’s sons were not able to protect her because she was vulnerable… but they did avenge her. Boaz protected his kin, Ruth, before he redeemed her as a bride (Ruth 2:8-9). And another story, the story of Amnon and Tamar, reminds us, like above, that a brother should protect his sister and not defile her (2 Sam. 13).
Keep an eye out for your boss. Are coworkers speaking ill of her? You should step in and respond. Be supportive and look for ways that you can protect her from enemies, threats, or danger. It’s not that she is weak or vulnerable. It’s that pitfalls are usually covered and enemies come as friends or attack from behind. She needs you in her corner.
The Landscape of Biblical Female Leadership
The Bible is filled with all sorts of stories that involve females in leadership. What’s interesting about these stories is that good leadership is never judged by gender; it’s judged by character. The Queen of Sheba was wise to go to Solomon and learn. Esther was brave for going to her husband on behalf of her kin. Dogs ate Jezebel because she was an abomination to the Lord.
Regardless of whether your boss is an Esther or a Jezebel, your responsibility is to work hard for her; you are to be subject to her with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the unjust (1 Pet. 2:18).
Joey Cochran, a graduate of Dallas Seminary, is the Pastoral Assistant to Joe Thorn at Redeemer Fellowship in St. Charles. He is the resource reviewer at Pastors Today and contributes to a number of other websites, but his writing home is jtcochran.com. Follow @JoeyCochran on Twitter.
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