Love in the Workplace

Can Love Exist in a Toxic Workplace?

“Toxic” is the most common word I’ve heard to describe my friends’ work environments. Misunderstandings, differences in personalities and frustrations with co-workers lead to a less-than-ideal environment. It’s difficult enough that there are deadlines to meet and sales targets to pursue.

I remember when our department was full of uncertainty due to a planned reorganization. People were worried about their future, they were easily irritated, selfish, and harder to deal with. Trust between people was low and, unsurprisingly, company productivity was down. Being a Christ-follower in the office was difficult. But I knew it was an opportunity to display the love of Christ through me.

We shouldn’t wait for the work environment to be more loving. We must initiate it. But how can we cultivate a loving work place?

1. Resist listening to gossip

This is my working definition of “gossip”: It is sharing sensitive information about someone to another person who is not part of the problem nor part of the solution.

If someone starts sharing an issue against someone with you, immediately suggest speaking directly to the person concerned. Don’t add on to it either! It’s difficult to do, but you must resist the temptation of wanting more details. This will only taint your view of the person being talked about.

2. Speak well of your boss

Appreciate what your boss is doing to help the company. He or she may be experiencing more pressure than you. Instead of airing your frustration, rally your teammates to work together behind him or her.

Give feedback as needed, but in a humble manner. Toxic as it may be, you can cultivate a loving atmosphere by showing you’re all in this together.

3. Catch them doing something right

This is no time to blame each other. As a Christ-follower, you must do the opposite. Find instances wherein your colleagues contributed to the goals of the company and compliment them for it.

If you receive any good feedback yourself, share the credit with others. Many times, there’s team effort behind every big accomplishment.

Don’t mock or laugh at people’s mistakes. Be patient with them. Encourage them to learn, get up again, and find more success in the future.

If you were the one who made the mistake, apologize and share how you plan to prevent it from happening again.

4. Pray FOR someone. Pray WITH someone.

When stress levels are at their peak, people are more responsive when you ask if they have prayer requests. They will usually say “yes” and share their burdens with you.

Pray for them, but ask them also if they want to pray WITH you that moment. As God answers their prayers, their hearts will be more responsive to future spiritual conversations.

5. Work with excellence

Many of your tasks affect other people’s responsibilities. Doing well in your assignments helps others do well in theirs. Delivering your commitments on time helps them deliver theirs as well.

If you think you can’t meet a deadline, inform them as early as possible. This is so expectations are managed or timelines can be revisited.

6. Never Compromise your integrity

Every instance you compromise will lower their trust in you. Whether in big or small situations. Eventually, there will be suspicion and doubt in anything you do.

7. Empathize with their personal life

If you hear about someone who’s emotionally down, then it may be affecting his professional life too. He could be grieving over a loss of a loved one. Practice radical love by praying, sharing and caring for that person.

8. Start a Discipleship group

In the midst of a harsh environment, people realize that there’s got to be more to life than this. Be bold and meet some people over lunch. Start by sharing your life testimony. Talk about how last Sunday’s message impacted you.

Dont wait for love to happen. Initiate, and let God take care of your career. He’s the ultimate judge how well you did in the workplace. It’s not about how high up the corporate ladder you get. For Him, it’s about how you display Christ-likeness even in a toxic environment.

Ephesians 4:29-32

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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