I used to laugh at the incompetence, twisted logic, and self-centeredness of the “pointy haired” boss in the Dilbert comic strip. The humor began to fade, however, when I became a boss and discovered the pressures of middle management. Not only did I have to keep my boss happy; I had to keep my team happy as well. It’s tough not to become a “pointy haired” boss. I can recall unwittingly using twisted logic myself to justify some action to my team just to make a good impression on upper management. It took me a while to realize that the more I focused on my own interests, the less effective I was as a leader. In his book, Good to Great, James Collins identified characteristics that are common to leaders of top performing companies. Most of these qualities are contrary to what we’ve come to believe characterize great leaders. They include:
1Modesty. 2 Motivation through inspired standards rather than charisma. 3 Focusing on long-term results. 4 Channeling of ambition into the company, not the self. 5 Preparing successors for even greater success in the next generation. 6 Never blaming others for bad results.
Each of these characteristics represents a spirit of selflessness and humility that reflect core principles we find in the Bible. “Choose to serve others.”(Matthew 23:11) We’ve been conditioned to think that business leadership is about individual career success. Instead, Collins has debunked that notion by demonstrating that truly successful and lasting companies are led by people who act in the interest of other people and the company as a whole. So, if you are ever called upon to be “the boss,” remember that true success can only be found by trusting God’s wisdom to guide your actions and by serving others. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10)