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The challenge of being a Christian manager

Are we aware that employees and employers are not enemies, but work together to achieve the common good?

FEATURES AUTOR 395/Ruben_Garcia 25 DE ENERO DE 2024 17:15 h
Photo: [link]Alex Kotliarskyi[/link], Unsplash CC0.

I lead a medium-sized company in Spain. According to the Spanish Ministry of Industry, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) make up 99.8% of the companies in the country.



Of the almost three million Spanish SMEs, 38% are microenterprises, that is, companies that have less than 10 workers; 5.6% are small companies - between 10 and 49 workers - and only 0.9% are medium-sized companies, with 50 to 249 workers.



Most information that we receive through the media has to do with large corporations, around 4,700 companies, which represent 0.2% of our national business fabric.



But the impact that governments' labor measures have on large companies has nothing to do with the impact they have on SMEs.



[destacate]

Most information that we get through the media is about large corporations, which represent only 0.2% of our business fabric[/destacate]Let's take a current example: the maternity and paternity leaves of 16 to 20 weeks that the Spanish government wants to implement this year and the right of fathers and mothers to have eight weeks of leave per child during their first eight years of life.


This measure does not mean the same for a company with over 250 employees as for one with up to 10.



For the small one, having a person away from the company for around six months (adding breastfeeding time and official vacations to which all workers are entitled), becomes a challenge.



And it will be even more difficult if the father and mother work in the same business, something that can happen especially in smaller, family-type businesses.



But who dares to say in public that those measures clearly damage SMEs in this country?



Is it possible to implement changes that are good for all parties?



Are we aware that employees and employers are not enemies, but work together to achieve the common good?



The concept of businessman, like that of a boss or rich person, is traditionally frowned upon in “evangelical” environments. It has been difficult for us in churches to talk about work, labor relations, or the church-work double standard.



It is difficult for us to admit that in companies there are many lazy people, talebearers, free-loaders, people with toxic behaviors. Workers who fail to comply with their schedules, deceive their bosses, make private arrangements during work hours, take office material home for private use, make photocopies of complete books for their children in the office, etc.



[destacate]The concept of businessman, like that of a boss or rich person, is traditionally frowned upon in “evangelical” environments[/destacate]And in a Latin country like Spain, many of these attitudes are not only not condemned, but rather praised. We find that culture has gone further than spirituality. If it is accepted by society, it is a normal thing to do.


Luckily, the same approach does not happen in our churches with other issues such as abortion, euthanasia or political corruption. But the above are “unimportant” things, “minor sins”.



As a businessman and manager for more than thirty years I want to take a stand for all those who have been running companies, trying to make honesty, transparency, equality, justice and love of neighbor their hallmarks, for being followers of Christ - while in our ecclesial environments we were viewed with some suspicion.



The time has come to think about what Paul wrote to the Galatians: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” ( Galatians 3:26-28)



I think we can say without fear of perverting the text that this phrase also includes “no employers and no employees”.



[destacate]Please encourage, listen to, pray for and nurture entrepreneurs in you church: They need it, leadership is very lonely[/destacate]I would like to encourage the new generations to be courageous, entrepreneurs, to be healthy ambitious. To strive to reach the top in their professional career, to excel where God has placed them. Because we need brilliant professionals who tell the world that things can be done “following the example of Jesus” and that we are convinced that this is the best way.


I would also like to encourage churches to support, listen to, pray for and nurture all the businesspeople and entrepreneurs in their communities: I can assure you that they need it, leadership is very lonely.



Finally, congratulations to all of you who are managers and business people, because you are a source of pride for the evangelical people. Remember that you carry a banner that reflects us all and try to never do anything that could embarrass us, or worse, embarass the God you represent.



Rubén García, CEO of technology company Main Memory (Spain).



This article was produced for the Líderes Empresariales section of Protestante Digital, an initiative of the Gospel, Economy and Business (Tres-E) group in Spain. Translated with permission.


 

 


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