By: Ronda Nissley
Many of us are familiar with the biblical story of Daniel who was a high ranking administrator in ancient Babylon. Daniel is often hailed for his wisdom and courage in the face of adversity. But did you ever wonder how Daniel was able to not only survive but thrive in what was likely a hostile work environment? Likely, he faced many things that conflicted with his faith and culture.
From the beginning, he faced many ethical decisions. One of the first involved being asked to consume food and drink forbidden in his faith. If ever there was a time to stage a protest or walk off the job - that was it.
Daniel masterfully navigated this dilemma using three (3) effective workplace relationship skills:
(1) He asked permission. When faced with this ethical dilemma, he went to his immediate supervisor and ASKED to be exempt. “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”
Daniel 1:8 NIV. Asking versus telling or demanding shows respect for the other person.
(2) He negotiated win/win solutions. He considered the interests of the chief official who was concerned with the fallout. “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”
Daniel 1:12-13 NIV. Daniel was willing to listen to the other person’s concerns and put his own solution to the test.
(3) He was an exemplary employee. There are numerous references in Daniel to his wisdom, skill and character. “In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.” Daniel 1:20 NIV. I’m assuming that Daniel showed up to work on time and was a conscientious, reliable and loyal employee in addition to having considerable wisdom and understanding.
Dare to be a Daniel! Resolve to face your next workplace challenge:
(1) Ask permission to do things differently when disagree.
(2) Negotiate a win/win solution
(3) Strive to be an exemplary employee.
Encompass Connection Center helps leaders learn how to resolve issues and create fulfilling, productive relationships in their workplace. For more help, look into our look into our Work Smart Live Well program, which includes team building exercises and a coaching model to help build your organization.
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.