Do you have difficult coworkers? For most of us, our work provides us with relationships that we wouldn’t normally have; relationships that might just be God’s way to help us grow. I think it’s interesting when I talk to people and they say things like, “All the people I work with are just terrible. They don’t love God. They’re unethical.” And I usually respond with, “Yeah, that’s where God’s calling you to be, so you can be this massive light in your work environment where there is no light.”
When dealing with difficult coworkers, the questions we have to ask ourselves are, can we believe the best in people? Can we call out the gold in them? Can we change the culture by bringing God’s love to them? It is incredible to see how people start to open up when you create an environment that helps them to feel safe, seen, and cared about.
No matter the particular challenges you face with your coworkers, my counsel always is this: let’s start by practicing love and honor. As you increase your ability to carry this standard yourself, watch how this can change your environment. That coworker that seems really mean-spirited is likely not being treated well by others. You have the opportunity to change that, to see them as a person, in their humanity, and give them a different experience, one they do not deserve. In short, you have the chance to give them what God gave you; love and honor that can transform!
Honoring people hold the core value that people are not inherently evil or bad. It is most often circumstances that dictate a person’s attitude. Have you ever heard the phrase “hurt people hurt people”? If you have someone, whether a boss or coworker, that is just really, really hard to be around, I invite you to try this experiment. See beyond their hurt and make a decision to use your words and actions to build them up. I think of it as calling out the gold in them. We can start by saying things like, “Hey, great job on that piece of work that you did” and “I really love how you wrote that,” or, “How was your weekend?”. Together, let’s see how love and honor can empower them. The best part is, these small changes do not cost us anything.
It is through the daily choice of practically choosing to call out the gold that we can build trust in our relationships with our coworkers and shift the culture of our work environment. No, this doesn’t work every time, and sometimes we do not get to see the impact of our actions immediately. Sometimes coworkers are so toxic you have to make a decision to have boundaries or talk to a supervisor about it. Regardless, your decisions can be made with love, and you just might be God’s plan to bring heaven to earth in a difficult workplace.
Have you seen this dynamic play out in your own life? Are you currently dealing with a difficult coworker? I would love to hear more about it in the comments below!
If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more about issues relating to Christian business, please checkout my website, www.bobhasson.com. As always, I would love to hear your feedback!