No one wants to work for the archetypal bad boss, and we certainly don’t want to be a bad boss.

Business advisor Bill English says the Bible has ample wisdom for business owners; teaching us how to work better with employees and colleagues. He highlights three principles, pulled from scripture, for bosses and leaders to consider:

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. 

“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 

“A number of business owners and managers get angry when they don’t get their way. They get angry over minor infractions, and have very little tolerance for normal differences of opinion. Because they don’t know how to handle conflict, they end up fuming to themselves and spending way too much emotional energy and thinking time on how “bad” their employees are. That’s really a childish way to act.”

“I would suggest that anger is not something that really belongs in a leader, at least not easily, quickly provoked anger.  Sometimes anger is a necessary emotion, but for the most part, we should not be people who are leading through anger.  We should be people who are leading through principle and direct communication. “

Let your statements be ‘yes, yes’ or ‘no, no’. 

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Matthew 5:37

“This applies to business owners and managers who are moving targets. People who say, ‘this week, I want you to take this hill’ and next week, ‘I want you to take that other hill.’  They keep changing and randomizing the focus. It is better to just come down and say ‘look, this is what we’re doing’ and stay with it. Just be a person of your word, and stick with what you say; don’t keep changing what you think, believe, and say in order to meet the need of the moment.”

Encourage one another

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“I am surprised at how few people get thanked for doing a good job,  how many people are not encouraged or get a pat on the back when they do a good job. It’s as if employers say ‘well if you do a good job, that’s what I pay you to do. Why should I say anything more?'”

“One of the things you can do in your office or team is to go around and say ‘Thank you for doing a great job. Thank you for what you did there.’ People are not encouraged in this society; they’re beat down, criticized, and demoralized (because) they are rarely encouraged. So that encouragement, a simple thank-you can go a long way.”

 Bill English is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Northwestern.  He is an Executive Consultant with The Platinum Group and the Founder of Bible and Business.

Bible wisdom for better business