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Talented Confidents

March 07, 2018
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Christian leadership involves selecting the right human capital to be included in the trusted inner circle of talented confidants in the workplace. It is like putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together but with extensively more serious repercussions and consequences. When one starts building a team for the long-term, one should primarily be interested in employee fit. That fit includes much more than simply plugging someone into a vacant spot because the person interviewed well, went to the right college, got decent grades, and has the kinds of experience needed. I know what you are thinking… That sounds like a perfect candidate to me. It is certainly not appropriate to hire someone because they might be a friend of a friend. I know what you are thinking here, too… But he is such a nice guy or girl. For far too long, businesses and ministries have hired this way, and it has come back to bite them.

The hiring process must be a rigorous one and take on a very serious tone. The hiring fit should include considerations based on one’s ability to adapt to organizational culture, job demands, personal growth and leadership potential, skills sets, ability to get along, servant-leader qualities, decision-making skills, previous job performance, and the drive to see things through.

When I read about the organizational structure that was put into place in Exodus 18:21, it makes me realize that they, too, had a rigorous selection process that we can learn from.

Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. (Exod. 18:21)

At the beginning of the eighteenth chapter of Exodus, Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had just arrived in the wilderness with Zipporah (Moses’ wife) and his two sons. At the meeting, Moses rehearsed all that the Lord was doing for them and how He had greatly blessed them. They also took the opportunity to offer burnt sacrifices and offerings unto the Lord. The very next day, Jethro noticed something in the way Moses sat to judge the people that didn’t seem quite appropriate to him. He told Moses that he was going to wear himself out by judging all the people from morning to night in lieu of all the other responsibilities he had. At this point, Jethro recommended to his son-in-law and to the leaders of Israel that there should be division of labor and a hierarchical structure put in place. The structure recommended by Jethro is a model of organizational behavior that still lives on today.

Let’s now look at some of the “job fit” requirements that Jethro recommended to his son-in-law.

Diversity

In the first portion of this verse, we see that Jethro was encouraging Moses to select leaders “out of all the people.” He didn’t tell him to choose potential leaders from one particular tribe or from families with a particular lineage or stock. He also didn’t prescribe numbers (quotas) from a particular class or identity. Instead, he was looking for the most-qualified candidates for the job. He wanted them to look far and wide to select the right person instead of just plugging someone in to fill a void.

Talented

These rulers were to be “able men.” They weren’t to select novices for leadership positions of authority. These men—and in today’s workforce, women, too—should possess the skills that are commensurate to the position. It wouldn’t help Moses at all to select unqualified men who couldn’t get the job done. That would have defeated the purpose of spreading the responsibilities of judging the people around to free up Moses’ time. These selected leaders had to be the “best of the best” with their ability to produce results and relieve the burden that Moses was experiencing.

Fear God

They had to fear God. How exciting is that? They had to be men who had the wisdom, knowledge, and humility to serve the Lord God Almighty. They were to exhibit a reverential fear that demonstrated their unwavering commitment to the Creator of the Universe. They were to be people who had the spiritual and moral courage to do what was right even in the face of adversity.

In today’s workplace environment, much discernment needs to be exercised in this regard. There are legal protections against hiring someone for their religious creed and/or affiliation. However, hiring for “cultural fits” should include adherence to a moral and ethical code of standards that can be found in most company-sponsored handbooks. For Christians, that moral code is written on their hearts, and it should be easy for employers to connect the dots.

Men of Truth

These potential leaders should be those who crave and desire the knowledge, light, and truths given from above. They should live by the precepts and ordinances established by God. They should do so without duplicity or a lying tongue. They should have established themselves as honest and trustworthy men in their speech and in their actions.

Hating Covetousness

Jethro wasn’t recommending leaders who were greedy or who coveted another person’s possessions or position. He wanted those who were content with what they had and could make decisions outside of the tug of materialism or fleshly and worldly lust.

When individuals are selected for key positions of leadership, there is always danger that they could use the position in corrupt ways that feed the covetous eye. Jethro wanted to guard against this danger.

Experience

The last piece of this jigsaw puzzle for selecting the right leaders included Jethro recommending varying levels of experience. Depending on their experience level, they would be able to be rulers over an increasing number of constituents or followers.

Christian leaders should be on the lookout for godly men and women who are talented, results-oriented, and independent thinkers and have a strong allegiance to the cause and vision of the organization. Organizations should establish a comprehensive process for hiring for cultural fit without exception. God’s Word provides much insight on this subject. 


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