It was my 18th anniversary at HCA on Friday. It’s the longest I’ve ever worked for one company, and I’ve got the best job of my career. I thought back over my long career as a pharmacist and realized that the work has always been challenging, but the best jobs were with the best managers.
I’ve had supervisors that were micro-managers, always assigning busy work or demanding impossible timeframes for new projects. I always felt off-guard, just waiting for the next set of orders to be barked. I probably learned the most from them about leadership: what not to do when you are in a management position.
A few supervisors have been truly inspiring. They lead with their example of hard work, careful listening and objective decision-making. I never have to feel like I have to “show off” or steal attention from others.
The New Testament reading for Saturday was from Philemon and I realized that my perspective on leadership is clearly rooted in Scripture: For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus…..but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. (1:8-9, 14)
I’ve heard managers remark that they manage their team by intimidation because, “it is the only way I can get things done.” Seems as though their employees don’t “follow orders” unless there is the implied threat of firing or disappointment in their work performance.
Wouldn’t it be better if family, friends and employees did their good deeds on a voluntary basis and not because they have been ordered to do so? We must appeal to others only on the basis of love, not from a position of power.