I have had the opportunity to work in many different business settings, from privately owned companies to international and publicly traded companies. Along the way, I have experienced a variety of management styles. The top-down management style is the most commonly utilized structure in the business world. As the name suggests, operational decisions are given by the leadership and communicated to the teams and employees. The opposite is bottom-up management. Employees communicate ideas, goals, and directives to higher management which are then implemented. There are merits for both styles and many organizations, including my own, utilize a combination of both.
Many Christians in business and management look toward the Bible and Jesus Christ for godly organizational principles to utilize in their own companies. Thus, it is intriguing that Jesus Christ approached His spiritual mission of redemption for mankind from both a top-down and bottom-up style. Jesus is God, the Son, and He left the glory of heaven at the command of God, His Father. He came down from Heaven to meet humanity where we all dwell on this Earth.
For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.
John 6:38 (NLT)
On Earth, Jesus started at the bottom and entered into the trenches of life. He experienced the worst of man’s inhumanity to man. He suffered through racism, slander, hunger, pain, and torture. At the end of His ministry, Jesus asked God, His Father, to keep His followers safe from Satan and sanctify them through the teachings of the Word. From the bottom, Jesus communicated upward.
I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.
John 17:15-17 (NLT)
What was the result? Jesus was falsely convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to die on the Cross by crucifixion. Three days later, Jesus Christ was resurrected demonstrating that a life of complete faithfulness and fellowship with God will lead to salvation and eternal life. Jesus returned to the top, successfully completing His mission.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:7-11 (NLT)
How does one in business learn from the example of Jesus Christ? Continual communication between top management and employees, in both directions, is critical for the successful implementation and completion of any mission. All stakeholders must respect one another and understand the unique roles each person has. Finally, all must be willing to undertake and complete a task for the company, even if it is at the cost or sacrifice of one’s comfort or position.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.