Remind them to be…obedient, to be open to every good enterprise. They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone. – Titus 3:1-2
Such was Saint Paul’s counsel to Titus concerning how he was to instruct the Christian community in Crete. The attributes mentioned were key to building the early Church’s image. Much like the old hymn, They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love, these attributes distinguished the members as set apart from the world by their conduct. Here’s a question for you: would you ever use any of them as an answer to the age old interview question “Can you name two of your strengths?” I bet that most leaders would immediately offer the standards: honesty, integrity, practicality, and impartiality. Well let’s dive into Paul’s list and see how it can help to project a positive leadership image:
Obedient: This goes beyond just doing what you are told. Leaders at all levels must present a unified front, regardless of their personal opinions and asperations. Do you project obedience? When assigned a tasking that you may disagree with, do you make that disagreement known? Or do you fall in behind your leadership to build support and accomplish the task?
Open to Every Good Enterprise: This refers to the need for us to be good citizens of the company. To follow the policies and procedures as expected. As leaders, we are trusted to judiciously apply policy to situations. And most importantly, we are not above the law ourselves.
Slandering No One: This is crucial; even when amongst your confidants. Speaking poorly of anyone to another person is ignorant and will eventually paint you as a rather petty person. Besides, if you and a counterpart spend the majority of your collaborative time together slandering other people, then you are just wasting time and reinforcing a relationship built on negativity. In the end it will be hard for either of you to assist the other, as your access to external resources will be quite limited by a lack of trust and respect from others.
Peaceable: This sounds easy enough. All you have to do is smile and say nice things to everyone right? The true challenge of being peaceable lies in stopping any passive-aggressive responses before you act on them. It is in aligning your goals and actions with those of other leaders in order to maximize the organization’s success.
Considerate: Help others when you see them stumbling, especially if you have a skill that could benefit their task. All too often we shy away from stepping in to help, as we run the risk of being rewarded with ownership of whatever function we aided. On the other hand, when executing your tasks, always consider the next person/operation that will be affected by your planning or actions.
Gracious: Learn how to say “Thank you”, and to truly show it. Also, learn to let others be gracious. We really overuse “No problem” in response to a thank you. Try letting others know that you appreciate their grattitude and what your assistance means: “Certainly. I know that you would do the same for me.”
Now, can you imagine working with a person who encompasses all of these attributes? Imagine the image that you would be projecting in your company if you were that person. How is your image perceived in your company? Are you satisfied with that perception? Are there any areas that you would like to change? Do you allow others to change their image as they identify shortcomings?