[management by God] proof positive

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

November 17, 2010

Managers are leaders with something left to prove.

Front-line employees look at managers as “the boss”. And when a front-line employee gets promoted into a Supervisor/Manager position, it sometimes feels like they have reached “the top”.

But I prefer to look at supervisor/manager positions as “entry-level” into leadership.

Granted, I also feel that everyone has and should develop certain leadership qualities, but the manager is really just getting started in the process of leadership development.

As we look at the next qualification for the manager-leader, we come to the requirement to “serve to prove themselves blameless.” I think that this qualification has obvious implications in the church, but also has a huge impact on workplace management, especially in the area of attitude.


The word “serve” here is the Greek word diakoneo, which literally means something like “to attend to someone’s needs”. It’s actually the root for the English word deacon, which is the position in the church that we’ve translated into “manager-leader” for the workplace.

The interesting thing about this is that while a Deacon is a leadership role, it’s technically defined as a servant role.

I think this says a lot about what the focus of the manager-leader should be. They should be focusing on the needs of the people, and what they do should be motivated by what the people around them need. There’s no opportunity here to think selfishly, or in one’s own interests. Rather, this is the idea of putting others before yourself.

Prove Yourself

But what should be our motivation for serving in this manner? Well, it’s to prove yourself.

But doesn’t someone have to prove them self in order to get into this position in the first place? Absolutely! But that doesn’t mean the testing has stopped. In fact it is quite the opposite.

A manager-leader should resist the urge to think that they’ve proved themselves, and the desire to rest on their laurels. That would be thinking more of oneself more then they ought.

As a manager-leader, there are lots of eyes looking at you, and each one is evaluating your every move. Your growth as a leader is not done yet, and you should always remember that you still have something to prove.


Finally, the goal of this whole serving idea is to prove yourself “blameless” (or above reproach). I guess that the expectation here is that you are flawed, and that you have an opportunity to show that you can grow past your flaws.

Nobody expects you to be perfect, but people do expect you to strive to become a better leader.

I believe that one of the underlying themes here is that the manager-leader must not be self-centered, or haughty. Instead he/she should focus on the well-being of others, and work to prove themselves worthy of their role (or even one greater).

Questions to consider:

  • How can you focus on the people around you more?
  • Are you focusing on your needs or supporting the needs of others?

See more from the management by God series!


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[management by God] proof positive

by Dan King time to read: 3 min