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Christian Scripture and Human Resource Management provides a much-needed Christian faith-based perspective on human resources management written for both line and human resource managers using the framework of servant leadership, the mandated leadership approach used by Jesus.



Chapter 1. Servant Leader Human Resource Management (SLHRM): The “City on the Hill” Foundational Principles of Organizational Integrity

Human resource (HR) management is one of the foundational “windows on the heart” reflecting the individual and collective values and beliefs of leaders, managers, and employees regarding the “theology of work” and its relationship to human nature. Does the HR system honor biblical principles through shaping the values and incentives to serve, work, lead, and manage in truly a God-honoring and joyous, humble, and accountable fashion? Are we “hearers and doers” of the Word as stated in James 1:23, or do we forget to honor the principles of servant leadership as modeled by Jesus? As it states in Luke 12:48 (NRSV), “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” This book is dedicated to assisting Christian leaders and managers to assume the mantle of servant leadership in human resource management (SLHRM), the God-directed and endorsed means for achieving our Great Commandment and Commission missions. Servant leadership is the approach to leadership promoted by scripture and provides the greatest opportunity to honor God and bless our employers.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 2. Biblical Foundation for Servant Leader Principles

It is vitally important to establish the biblical foundation for the various servant leader principles that comprise SLHRM. This chapter provides a systematic list of key biblical attributes organized by five global servant leader attributes: servanthood, stewardship, servant leader behavior, servant leader character, and servant leader foresight. Each attribute includes biblical examples followed by contemporary servant leader application insight.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 3. SLHRM Organizational Integrity

One of the great spiritual warfare battlegrounds relates to the integrity issue. The practice of SLHRM is challenging in all arenas, sacred or secular. We face great spiritual warfare temptations to renounce our godly inheritance of righteous conduct and adopt self-serving standards of success. Hence, like the nation of Israel, we “return to Egypt” and accept the toils of slavery in return for security in meeting our short-term needs. It requires great character strength to resist the powerful incentives to compromise our values. We need to seek the Holy Spirit’s help to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NRSV). Our task is complicated by the deceptive nature of the human heart, as we fall prey to the traps, snares, and value compromises that on the surface appear moral and ethical. It is important for SLHRM organizations to work collaboratively to create a culture of righteous motives, means, and ends in all aspects of HR practice. SLHRM organizations demonstrate the love and power of Christ and an alternative to “business as usual.” Regrettably, many Christians and Christian organizations are less faithful and passionate in practicing SLHRM principles and the Golden Rule than secular organizations.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 4. The SLHRM Change Management Process and the Barriers to Effective Change

One of the great management challenges is cultivating long-term organizational culture change. There are many key decision points in the success of such a complex effort, and hence many “veto” opportunities to impede change progress. In this chapter, we present a diagnostic change resistance typology that identifies the various motivational attributes that contribute to opposing change. This chapter concludes with an outline of a change management process to overcome resistance and obstacles from a SLHRM perspective. It is important to embrace the belief that the power to change organizational culture begins with committed SLHRM leaders who love their employees and other key stakeholders.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 5. SLHRM: Principles of Empowerment and Discipleship Making

Empowerment is a vitally important element in the successful implementation of SLHRM and requires the possession of virtuous character, maturity, and spiritual intelligence on the part of both the manager and the employee. Empowerment begins with followers who embrace the role of conscientious servants. Hence, it is important for SLHRM organizations to cultivate the principles of servant followership as both the foundation of servant leadership and empowerment. Employees need to demonstrate the maturity, ability, and character to be faithful performers in small and great aspects of their work. Servant followership is a great safeguard to leadership self-deception, as servant followers provide honest feedback, which is frequently a “shock” to leadership self-image and beliefs, forcing leaders to re-evaluate the foundation of their actions. That is why servant followership in tandem with employee empowerment are such powerful tools for overcoming resistance to change at all levels as it forces leadership to interact with the key stakeholders exposing them to alternative views, thereby altering how leaders assess the situation and the roles and intentions of others. Peter Drucker’s advice in his book Managing the Nonprofit Organization (2006) is to ask staff and volunteers what areas require help, assistance, or improvement and how to solve the problems.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 6. SLHRM: Principles of Fair Employee Treatment

SLHRM organizations possess a passionate commitment to dignified employee treatment. Employees are not just “resources,” but souls made in the image of God. Promoting employee rights is a foundational Christian servant leadership principle. How we treat employees is an essential interface between core servanthood and stewardship values in an organizational decision-making environment that typically possesses a schizophrenic view toward employees. In one perspective, employees are human beings with souls while from another standpoint they are instrumental “costs” of production that must be minimized in our hypercompetitive marketplace. Which of these views prevails? For SLHRM organizations, the response is simple: employees are not costs, but the human flesh and blood foundation of the enterprise.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 7. SLHRM: Principles of Work/Life Balance and Margin

How many hours should we work? This is a profound and essential question, answered by addressing a series of principles noted below:
The will of God as discerned through prayer, scriptural reflection, and other means for hearing God should be the directing force for our work hours and effort. We need to believe that God has a unique plan, purpose, and calling and that His direction, leading, and guidance are the best course for our lives.
The goal is neither a static nor a moving balance, but a shifting and dynamic harmony with God’s will and purpose. As Pastor John Ortberg (2002) noted, the Apostles did not lead balanced lives, but lives of order and seasonality as directed by God’s ongoing direction and priority setting.
God’s will for our vocational life encompasses the following characteristics:
Performing our work with excellence as broadly defined (efficient and effective, mission enhancing, ethical, moral, and treating others by the Golden Rule)
Providing sufficient time and energy for our other life domain obligations (family, church, community, etc.)
Providing sufficient time for self-care (relationship building, sleep, nutrition, exercise, recreation, etc.)
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 8. SLHRM: Performance Management Principles

Performance management and performance appraisal is the single most important “window on the soul” SLHRM practice. An appropriate performance appraisal analogy is the tending of a garden. In securing a bountiful harvest, the most difficult work is at the beginning as we toil in clearing the land of rocks, brush, stumps, and trees. Then we must plow, sow, and weed. The harvest comes later. The great daily demand placed on managers through “fire-engine management” reduces the available time for employee development. This creates a vicious cycle as poorly trained and managed employees generating increased “downstream” problems. The answer is patient, long-term investment in employees. A major solution to the time dilemma is promoting a culture of delegation and empowerment. Hence, supervisors devote less time to micromanagement responsibilities and more time to strategic thinking and planning, value-enhancing goal setting, problem solving, and communication augmenting activities that increase quality, efficiency, and effectiveness. When managers possess more time to plan, they can invest more time and effort in “management by walking around” thereby cultivating relationships. It is also important to understand the basic terms used related to performance management and performance appraisal. (See table 8.1 for more detail.)
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 9. SLHRM: Staffing Principles

The nature and quality of the staffing process is another pillar of SLHRM. As Jim Collins (2001) notes in Good to Great, the key staffing factor is “getting the right people on the bus.” This entails hiring employees who passionately embrace the mission, vision, and values of the organization, possessing the appropriate combination of character and competency for long-term job growth and development. Hence, the goal is to select employees who possess the ability to fill multiple roles over the course of their organizational membership. This does not preclude hiring for specific positions, but recognizing that a flexible, organic approach to selection cultivates both employee growth and organizational effectiveness. It is important to reinforce that from a SLHRM perspective, the employment relationship is a covenant. This entails establishing a set of mutually recognized and observed obligations and benefits that govern and order workplace interactions, terms, and conditions. In essence, the employment relationship is one of the most important life roles expressing the redemptive and sanctifying love of Christ. Managers are shepherd of the flock possessing a humbling and fearful level of accountability while employees must work diligently as if working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23). The staffing process establishes a foundation for the communication and demonstration of the organization’s values.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 10. SLHRM: Training and Development

Christian SLHRM entails making disciples. Hence, a foundational element of leadership DNA is developing subordinates, promoting the fulfillment of their purpose and calling. Several key character elements are at the center of this approach. The first is humility, in which we voluntarily step back and “decrease” so others can “increase” (excel) (John 3:30), equip our subordinates to exceed our capabilities and do greater things (John 14:12), and endow others with greater degrees of power and influence or a “double portion” of God’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9). In essence, we are obeying God’s command to promote the interests of others (Philippians 2:4), esteem others greater than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), and bear each other’s burdens in love (Galatians 6:2). By following these biblical principles, the leader learns how to love employees from God’s perspective. This entails providing discipline and corrective feedback in a fashion that provides hope and encouragement. Hence, the leader needs to communicate clearly his or her appreciation and that they are pleased, but not satisfied, with the employee’s performance given their great potential. Servant leaders make themselves dispensable, while empowering others. They help others unbury talents and use them appropriately.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 11. SLHRM: Compensation Management

Compensation is a foundational component of the SLHRM system. As Christian servant leaders, our stewardship of money is a window on our spiritual state and character. The compensation process reveals important worldview elements that manifest profound implications for human resources (HR) practices. One of the most pernicious pathologies of the secular worldview is defining self-worth and identity according to our job accomplishments and the most tangible indicators of “value,” our salary. The other element that contributes to our enslavement is rampant materialism, which encourages the belief that happiness is a function of what we own and consume. Second, the goal as Christians is not happiness, which is transitory and influenced by highly variable factors, but deep spiritual joy, generated solely by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, eternal in nature, an island of peace in the trials and tribulations of our lives. If we embrace the subtle but powerful deception that materialism is the key to happiness, we are at the mercy of a multitude of elements beyond our control. When accomplishments and pay levels determine our value, we worship enslaving idols of the heart that imprison us with pride, fear, and insecurity.
Gary E. Roberts

Chapter 12. Final Reflections

The SLHRM organization and leader can never lose sight that the collective policies and practices of human resource management are the product of individual and group decision making. The SLHRM culture rests upon a worldview and the associated attitudes and behaviors that construct the edifice of HR policies and practices. Hence, there is always ethical, moral, and spiritual accountability for our HR systems. No matter how formalized, routinized, and bureaucratized, human free-will decision making is at the heart of ethical and moral accountability. Hence, a SLHRM organization begins and ends with leaders who embrace character growth and integrity through self-knowledge. Growth in SLHRM is a lifelong and intermittently painful, individual and collective growth process. We can all relate to the central role of trial and tribulation in the shaping and restoration of the heart. A mountaintop experience inspires given the breadth and depth of vision, but the close-quarter spiritual warfare combat involved in the Christian maturation process is waged on a daily basis in the dense undergrowth of the spiritual jungle with limited lines of sight. We must rely on the Holy Spirit for direction, strength, and wisdom to resist the hidden dangers of ambush by the idols of this world that seek to rule our hearts. We must resist the root cause of our great enemies of discouragement and despair, as there are specific actions we must undertake while relying on God to do the rest.
Gary E. Roberts


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