By Kevin Spratt
Every interaction with the world around us has some kind of economy. The most basic economy today can be found on Twitter. Any user with enough time can connect with over 200,000 people. I have seen it happen. In about two years, one friend did it. The economy on Twitter is simple: credits are given for content while favorites and retweets show value. Debits are required on Twitter as well. If someone follows you, then you are required to follow that person back. If you aren’t going to follow others, then no one will follow you back. I did my own social experiment and was able to gain about 11,000 followers from May-August.
The greatest economy is God’s economy. Paul’s letter to the Romans is striking and emphasizes the grace in which we all live. Romans 1:16-17 is the thesis:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith as it is written, the “The righteous shall live by faith. (ESV)
God’s economy is simple. We live indebted to Him as debtors for the sin we have committed. At the moment of our confessed belief, we are credited the payment Christ gave on the cross. We live by grace through faith. God’s economy has been changing lives for centuries. Leaders ask people to follow out of grace.
Leaders should understand that in the cultures where they work and play there is an unspoken relational economy. At a 100,000-foot level, the work represents the credit account. Team members will give a ton of energy if they believe in the purpose. The majority of the debits that occur in the workplace relate to the kind of work they have to do. A non-profit most likely has an advantage if they represent a great cause, such as the church, feeding the poor, or social justice. Someone sold to the cause will often forget about their tasks or the people they work with if they have a compelling cause. The reverse is true in for-profit organizations. If you are indifferent about the cause and have a great work environment, going into work isn’t so bad.
On 3,000-foot level, leaders must remember with every team member they have a certain ratio of credits and debits. An effort should be made to earn as many credits as possible. Leaders with tons of credit tend to lead through vision, purpose, and relationships. Those who lead with tons of debits lead out of positional authority, tasks are completed or the team is reprimanded. Strong leaders must remember there is a place for both. Building up a healthy line of relational credit will give a leader the ability to withdraw credits in the future.
John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence.” I would say influence goes further, faster, and more efficiently with a strong economy. Here are 10 ways you can improve your relational credit as a leader.
In your work:
- Be on time. Honor others’ time.
- Be prepared. Do your homework.
- Delegate and don’t micromanage.
- Constantly communicate. Pick a way that you communicate best when people need answers
- Give purpose to the work, to the task, and to each contributor.
With your team:
- Be vulnerable. Share personal stories about family or weekend adventures.
- Eat with your team. Do this regularly (Taco Tuesday) or on a whim. I would prescribe at least a couple of times a month.
- Find at least two conversation topics outside of work each that your team members enjoy talking about.
- Share prayer requests.
- Have shared experiences around Christmas or other major calendar events.
Leaders should know their balance sheets. They should be conscious of where they need to make investments and if they have any outstanding debts. The best leaders have emergency funds that they never have to use.