Healthy Leaders


How to Be Joyful in Your Leadership

James BruynJames Bruyn

As a biblical leader, I choose to model joy for the people I lead.

According to the Roget’s thesaurus, two antonyms for joy are “work” or “vocation.” I can see why people would think this way. It’s frustrating to go home after a day of work and tell somebody that you found joy in your work when you can’t see a connection between your work and the goals of the company, or God’s command to fill, subdue and rule over the earth (Gen. 1:28).

It’s difficult to find joy in your work when you feel like a round peg in a square hole. Or when you feel like you aren’t being heard or your skills aren’t being used. Criticism and fault-finding are sure-fire ways that Satan uses to rob people of their joy.

I choose joy today, for I know that I do my work in the presence of the Lord. I rejoice that God has given me the privilege of entering into the story of His creative work.

I am filled with joy for the Lord satisfies me with his unfailing love (Psalm 90:14). Though I have not seen God, I believe in God, and God fills me with inexpressible and glorious joy; for I am receiving the results of my faith, the salvation of my soul (1 Peter 1:8-9).

By choosing to model joy, I hope my colleagues can see “work” and “vocation” as synonyms for joy.

1. Choose to recognize God’s creation and provision.

As a biblical leader, I choose to model enjoyment for the corner of the world where God has placed me to lead. I am humbled that God would entrust me to lead others to fill, subdue and rule over this corner of His creation where he has placed me (Genesis 1:28).

I rejoice that God in His kindness has provided my team and me with everything that we need to do our work.

Yes, sometimes the things I use to accomplish my work don’t operate in the ways I expect them to, and that can drive me crazy. However, when I take the time to step back for perspective, I realize that these expectations are based on the way I believe God created things to be used. After expressing my frustration, which is a normal human reaction, I choose to rejoice that God has provided what I need for my work.

How might God be glorified as you rejoice over all that He has created and provided for your work?

2. Choose to rejoice in the processes and systems that your team uses.

As a biblical leader, I choose to model enjoyment for the processes and systems that the people I lead, rely on for order and structure in their work. The principles behind these processes and systems were defined by God at the dawn of creation. I wouldn’t be able to lead without processes and systems.

Sometimes it seems like the process is hindering progress. Other times, it seems like people are hiding behind the systems, rather than getting their work done. Processes and systems have been corrupted by sin. These experiences can make it tough to appreciate processes and systems. Yet, I choose to model enjoyment for the good things that God allows me to lead by using these processes and systems.

How would the people you lead respond to the processes and systems in place if they knew you rejoiced over these processes?

3. Choose to delight in your team.

As a biblical leader, I choose to delight in each person on my team, for I know that God created each one of them in His image. God blessed each person with their unique personality, skills and gifts. God saw that everything He created was good. I choose to look past their differences and delight in them, for I know that each person is making a unique contribution.

When I express my joy and gratitude for each team member, I am giving them the opportunity to choose joy in their life.

If each team member heard you daily rejoice over one contribution that they make through their work, what might change in your company?

4. Choose to celebrate the little and big successes.

God saw that everything He created was good. God rejoiced over His creation. I choose to lead in such a way that each person no matter how small their contribution, can rejoice over their work.

We live in a world where one accomplishment leads to moving straight on to the next deliverable preferably at a faster pace and a lower cost. I need to remind myself to pause and celebrate each person’s contribution to the little tasks and the major accomplishments. How can you help your employees find joy in their work?

How would your organization change if you modeled joy?

No, you won’t find me modeling joy constantly. Life has a way of taking my eyes off the Lord. But when I do keep my eyes focused on God, His joy is my strength.

What would the team, the project, the department, the organization you are leading be like if each person’s life was marked by joy? What would people notice as they walked into your department if you modeled joy in every interaction?

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James Bruyn