Steven G. Rose, Undertreasurer, General Conference

Summary: The old adage ?Every man for himself? should not apply in the workplace. We need to intentionally strive to care for one another as a team.

Recently I went on a trip with a colleague to work on a major project. My partner had met with the committee several times, but I was new to the group. Anticipating our meetings, I pictured very serious, narrowly-focused discussions, diplomatically hammering out details.

To my surprise, I was impressed at how personable the discussions were. Rather than just discussing business, the members demonstrated genuine interest in each others’ lives. The primary agenda items took the least amount of time. It was the relational discussions that were most important. I could see that my colleague had spent considerable time building relationships with these people.

The Lord has blessed us by giving us relationships with Him and with our fellow humans. These relationships are extremely valuable, and, within the principles of Christian stewardship, we need to focus on them carefully. We cannot separate the importance of relationships from our everyday activities in the work environment. As Christians, it is critical that we demonstrate Christ-like values in the workplace, allowing Him to work through us as we care for others.

There are two sayings that have made a real impression on me with respect to building positive workplace relationships:

1 ?People don’t care how much one knows until they know how much one cares.?

Technical skills are crucial for carrying out our responsibilities; but sometimes we concentrate too much on the technical aspects of the job while overlooking the ?people? side of the equation. If technical competence is not united with a caring spirit and a caring attitude, then both work assignments and relationships will suffer.

2 ?Seek first to understand, then to be understood.?

I read this gem of wisdom several years ago in a book by Stephen Covey. We often focus our energy on trying to make sure that we are understood while we miss out on truly understanding the other person’s point of view. Since communication is one of the most important skills in life, if we concentrate on listening and make an intentional effort to understand before we attempt to be understood, we would see dramatic benefits in our workplace relationships.

Yes, my colleague has it right. When we care deeply for others and seek first to understand, the job will be done, and the workplace will be a blessing to everyone.

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October–December, 2002

The Workplace