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Qualities of a Good Boss
05/26/2013
Scripture: Ecclesiastes 8:1-9; Psalms 75:6-7; 1 Tim...
Track 8 of 10 in the Pipe Dream series
Running time: 59 minutes, 12 seconds.
We all work for someone. Sometime in our lives we will work for a boss. We all have our opinions of our bosses. To work for a great boss can be very satisfying. To work for a horrible boss can make life absolutely miserable. Think about how many days of your life you spend at work. Having co-workers you get along with and having a great boss to work for is something all of us desire. But what happens when you work for someone who is an idiot or someone who is cruel It can make life very stressful.



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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.


Ecclesiastes 8:2-17
Qualities of a Good Boss

We all work for someone. Sometime in our lives we will work for a boss. We all have our opinions of our bosses. To work for a great boss can be very satisfying. To work for a horrible boss can make life absolutely miserable. Think about how many days of your life you spend at work. Having co-workers you get along with and having a great boss to work for is something all of us desire. But what happens when you work for someone who is an idiot or someone who is cruel? It can make life very stressful.

I have taken extra care with this lesson this week because in my business, I am a boss. I feel very responsible for the livelihood of each of the people who work for me and their families. I take my job very seriously and I do all I can to make sure my employees are taken care of and have what they need. But I also make sure I get 8 hours a day from them as they have agreed to.

Being a good boss is neither accidental nor automatic. It isn’t easy either as many employees think. Employers or supervisors who are a joy to work for are rare. It is my observation that bosses all too frequently fall into one of two categories:

• First, there is the incompetent boss. Numerous people in positions of responsibility have been promoted to their level of incompetence. They are the perfect example of the “Peter Principle”. They are not qualified for the task they are expected to perform but they have this ability to make failure look like it is someone else’s fault. These types of bosses are very hard to work for because they are usually very negative and discouraging people. Behind much of their leadership is insecurity, which fuels the fire of their incompetence. That is one extreme.

• Second, There is the intolerant boss. This person may be competent but no one can please him. Intolerant bosses are usually workaholics, perfectionist by nature and super demanding. Enough is never enough. This boss is usually overqualified for his job, demands more than what is reasonable of others, and when expectations are not met, it is the employee’s fault. Basically, this person is an overexpecter. Even in the church today, we have leaders who are overexpecters. We have to be careful with intolerance. Too much of it can cause great harm.

As each of us strive to do our jobs well within our own ministries, you might along the way have others work under you. People of authority in the church need to be aware of how to motivate people and hold them accountable that causes growth in their maturity. Today’s lesson will address this issue. Believe it or not, Solomon does talk a little about being a good boss. All of us at some time will have authority over others so what Solomon has to say can be of help to you. For many of you, the most important authority might just be being a parent. But as you work in your ministries, you will have authority over someone.

What are the qualities you feel make up a good boss or leader? What are the mistakes poor bosses or leaders make in using their authority?

Ecclesiastes 8:2-9 (NIV)
Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?" Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come? No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is charged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it. All this I saw, as I applied my mind to everything done under the sun. There is a time when a man lords it over others to his own hurt.

I find at least 5 qualities a good boss or leader has:

• A Clear Mind
• A Cheerful Disposition
• A Discreet Mouth
• Keen Judgment
• Humble Spirit

A Clear Mind (1) Who is like the wise man? Who knows the explanation of things?

Solomon starts off asking a question I don’t think we are to answer. It is meant to be answered mentally. It is designed to make the reader think. It suggests a wise leader can see through the mystery of things. He knows how to explain difficult issues. Solomon has in mind a person who knows why things are as they are.

In my business, I know why and how all the functions work in the printing business. I might not be able to actually run the equipment, but I know the answers to the questions what, how and more importantly, why.

In ministry, knowing the why is most important fact. Why do we do the things we do in our ministry? A person who knows why can always get people to do the what’s and how’s. But knowing where we are going and why is critical. For most church’s, they are not growing because they don’t know the why in ministry.

It is very important that the person at the top not let action outrun thinking. People who are at the top are paid first and foremost to think through, to think about, to think of.

How many projects have you seen get so screwed up simply because action started before thinking the project through. The thought process can take some time but in the end, it will save time all the way around.

True or False: A midst in the pulpit puts a fog in the pew. If the leadership doesn't know where they are going, the church won’t either. Those in charge need a clear mind.

A Cheerful Disposition (1) Wisdom brightens a man's face and changes its hard appearance.

Solomon makes a very interesting statement here. When you think of the boss, how would you describe him and how his face looks? Here Solomon says a boss usually looks stern. A stern look is one that comes naturally. How do you feel if you work for a boss who looks mean all the time? Who do you think has more power over his employees, a man with a stern disposition or a cheerful disposition? Why?

I think the group of guys who fit a stern disposition the best are the coaches in the NFL. Have you ever looked at those guys? They drip with intimidation. They look like they are ready to knock someone’s head off at any minute. Don’t dare make a mistake.

The second group I have heard that has a stern disposition are ministers and priests. The best way to measure this is how they act during serious times when celebration is to take place. For example:

• Are you allowed to talk, laugh and enjoy your time in the sanctuary?
• How about at baptisms
• When someone is introduced as a new member
• When we sin or make a major mistake
• When life needs to be fun

What kind of look or disposition do we see from our leaders? What kind of look do you show others in your ministry?

If your face I stern, chances are your not acting in wisdom. Lincoln said it best, “Every person over forty is responsible for his own face. If you wish to be a good boss, start with a clear mind. But don’t forget a cheerful charming disposition.

A Discreet Mouth (2-4) Obey the king's command, I say, because you took an oath before God. Do not be in a hurry to leave the king's presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a king's word is supreme, who can say to him, "What are you doing?"

If we apply these verses to the workplace, then these words are for the employee. Clearly the form of communication from those who lead to those who are to follow is the tongue.

What comes first, a boss who is worthy of being followed or those who are faithful followers, loyal, fair and trustworthy?

Look at verses 2-4; what are the Biblical principles commanded here?
How does this play out in the workplace?
How does this play out in the church?

What relationship does the tone set by the boss’s tongue have with the employees remaining loyal and cooperative?

Keen Judgment (5-7) Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man's misery weighs heavily upon him. Since no man knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?

There is a principle found in Psalms 75:6-7
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

As a boss, it is important to remember that the boss is where he is because God put the boss there. God puts all the leaders of the world in the positions they are in. It is also God who takes them out of position. As a result of the position and command God gives to a leader, he asks in return that the leaders operate with keen judgment. That includes knowing the proper time to do what ought to be done and having a successful procedure thought through.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, God asks Christians to be in prayer for all the leaders who are over us.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

We do need to be in prayer for those over us because they live a life under pressure. And we need to ask God for them to have stability under pressure because their actions do affect us and can affect the church. Stability under pressure creates, on the part of a nation, a growing sense of respect. We don’t panic because our leaders don’t panic. The same is true as parents. Our children learn how to handle difficult situations by watching us handle the problems. If we panic, they will panic.

A Humble Spirit (vs. 8) No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death. As no one is discharged in time of war, so wickedness will not release those who practice it.

If I asked you to sit down and write out all your limitations, would you know what they were? I am not talking about your weaknesses; I am talking about your limitations.

What are the things that you cannot affect or control?

• Weather
• The day of death
• Can’t discharge in the time of war
• The wicked always get what they deserve.

In this verse, the word wind is the same word for spirit. In Hebrew, the word used in Genesis is the Spirit of Man. God breathed into him the breath (spirit) of life. Just as we cannot change the wind, neither can man change the spirit of another person. No matter what authority we have, we cannot change a man’s spirit. We see this played out all the time in marriage. A person marries another knowing their faults hoping to change them after they are married. This doesn't work.

No matter how much influence we have as leaders, we are finite. No matter what authority God has given us, there are still many things we cannot do. A good leader never forgets that. A good leader knows his limitations and he never ceases to learn in life. A humble boss or leader is always looking to learn more and never asks as though he knows all. Because the truth of the matter is, he doesn't and his subjects know that also.