Many years ago I worked with a guy I’ll call Brian. He was a go-getter. He was pro-active and responsible, but he had an unpredictable side. Once, Brian heard about a job he thought I would like, and he let me know about it. I applied for the position and got the job. Soon after, a job opening was announced in a different division in my workplace, and I thought it might be a fit for Brian. At the same time, I had this gnawing concern that it might not work out because of Brian’s unpredictability. After debating back and forth with myself, I decided to tell Brian about the job—and recommend him for it—because he had told me about the job I currently had. I thought it was the right thing to do. But I still had that gnawing concern: Would he show respect to his boss?
Not surprisingly, Brian got the job. Being the go-getter he was, he was not used to sitting and watching the extensive number of training videos required for the job. Every time I talked to Brian he seemed antsy. He wanted to do something. He knew he could contribute to the organization, but he didn’t understand why his boss had him go through so much training that he deemed unnecessary.
One day Brian’s frustration hit a breaking point. He flew off the handle and said things to his boss that he shouldn’t have said. As a result, he was fired on the spot. His actions in response appeared threatening, so he ended up being physically escorted off the premises.
Brian was a good worker, but his lack of respect for his boss got him fired. Perhaps you can sympathize or even relate with Brian. Perhaps you’ve had the same thing happen to you. Regardless of how you feel about what happened to Brian, he still needed to show respect to his boss.
Like Brian, you must be willing to respect your boss, even if you think your boss is wrong. Here are three ways to show respect to your boss.
1. Respect the office
Even if you don’t feel your boss deserves your respect, you still must show respect to the office that your boss holds. After all, he or she is the boss.
I realize that your boss may be annoying, insulting, or worse, but the fact is this person is in charge and you are not. You must respect that authority, whether good or bad (1 Peter 2:18). Your boss was placed in this position by God (Romans 13:1). By the very fact that your bosses have been placed in a position of authority, they deserve your respect (Romans 13:7). And if you resist those in authority over you, then you are bringing judgment upon yourself (Romans 13:2), just like what happened to Brian.
2. Respect decisions made
There may be times your boss will make decisions that you do not agree with. You may even think those decisions are ill-informed or stupid. But the fact is those decisions were made by someone in authority over you. And, like Brian, you have to show respect for those decisions (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13).
If you have an opportunity to give input into the decision making process, then by all means you should do so. But give your opinions respectfully. Then once those decisions are made, you should respect what has been decided.
3. Respect your role
You are at your place of work to execute the directives of your boss. If you can accept your boss’s authority, it will go well with you. Remember: you serve at the pleasure of your boss, not the other way around.
When you are content with the role that you have, you will enjoy your work more (1 Timothy 6:6). You will do well to see yourself as a person under authority. You will find that you don’t get as upset by decisions made if you are willing to accept that your job is to implement those decisions.
When you respect others, you respect yourself. When you show respect to those in authority over you, then it will go well with you (Romans 13:3-5). By respecting others, you are treating them the way you would want to be treated by them—and showing them how you would want them to treat you (Matthew 7:12).
This article has been adapted from the #1 international bestselling book, Dear Employee: What Your Boss Wishes You Knew.
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