Can Christian Men Succeed in the Workplace?

Advice for Christian Men - How to Have a Successful Career and Be Christlike

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Jack Zavada of shares advice for Christian men from the lessons he has learned during 30 years working in the business world.

He answers these questions:
• Is it ever okay to lie in the workplace?
• Can I have fun and still be professional at work?
• How do I measure success in business as a Christian?

Can Christian Men Succeed in the Workplace?

One of the current myths about success is that Christian men don’t have what it takes.

During a 30-year career working in business, for the government, and for a national nonprofit organization, I encountered many Christian men who lacked the "killer instinct," yet were still successful. They were men I admired and patterned my own life after. They were men I was proud to know and serve.

Here are the lessons they taught me:

Never Lie in the Workplace - Ever

This seems self-evident for Christian men, but that’s where we’re under our greatest temptation. I worked with a compulsive liar for several years, and he was universally detested. A liar assumes everyone listening to him is stupid, so stupid that they won’t investigate or disprove his tales. People aren’t stupid. Lying destroys trust, and in the workplace, trust is everything. Be a man other folks can count on. Gain a reputation for calmly, inoffensively telling the truth, all the time.

Be Businesslike, But Not All Business

Over the years, my favorite coworkers were the ones I could have a laugh with. Not only does laughing relieve stress, but it improves teamwork. Laughing on the job is not wasting time. It’s keeping work in its proper perspective and treating colleagues like human beings instead of tools. A relaxed group of workers is much more productive than a tense, scared group. If you try to hide your personality on the job and are overly concerned with appearing "professional," you’ll only come across as stiff and phony. It’s hard to beat the feeling of coming home from work tired, yet satisfied because you and your coworkers accomplished something worthwhile during the day and had fun doing it.

Take Advantage of Charity Opportunities Whenever You Can

Most businesses encourage their employees to contribute to the United Way, blood drives, and other charity campaigns. As Christians, we have an obligation to help others, in addition to our contributions at church. Giving your time and money is a great way to show gratitude to God for your job, which provides you with needed income and benefits. Don’t participate because you’re expected to; participate because it’s a privilege to. If you never give back to your community, some day you’ll sit in your recliner and regret it.

Give Honest Praise and Compliments to Your Coworkers

Most people are aching to be recognized for their effort, yet they may never get any support from their boss. We all want to get more from our job than just our paycheck. When a coworker helps you or does something extraordinary, make a point to thank them. When you give a heartfelt, genuine compliment to another person, it may be the only positive thing they hear all week. The sign of a spiritually mature man is that he’s stingy with criticism but generous with praise. Always look for opportunities to build people up.

A Boss Who Sticks Up for His Employees is Worth His Weight in Gold

If you get the chance to become a supervisor, always treat your employees fairly. Don’t shift the blame to them if your department is criticized. Defend them. When you make a mistake, be big enough to apologize. Be compassionate when your subordinates have family problems. Remember that their job comes in third, after God and their family. Nothing destroys a man’s concentration at work like family problems. Treat your employees the way you’d want to be treated, and not only will you earn their respect, but they’ll work their hearts out for you too.

Never Forget Who You’re Really Working For

Ultimately, Jesus Christ is our boss, and all our actions on the job should bring glory and honor to Him. If you make your employer a billion dollars yet disgrace Jesus in the process, you’re a failure. The strongest work ethic you can develop is to imitate Christ. You spend half your waking life on the job, so if you leave Jesus at home when you go out the door, you’re only a part-time Christian. Laws may prevent us from evangelizing in the workplace, but you can’t go wrong if your example is so attractive that others want what you have. At the end of your career, you won’t be carrying your money with you into eternity, but you will be able to take your Christlike character. That’s the real meaning of success.