I believe God’s people should be the most influential and successful in every setting in which they find themselves. That was certainly true of Daniel in the court of Babylon. He was working in a pagan system surrounded by ungodly people, yet he prospered and was promoted to the highest offices in the land.
The Bible contains many principles that will help you become a Daniel where you work. The following are five of these vital keys to prospering on the job.
1. Learn to handle criticism properly.
Nobody likes to be criticized. It’s never pleasant to be on the receiving end of critical remarks. But it’s doubly painful when those remarks come from the boss. But people who get promoted at work tend to have a common characteristic: they use criticism to their advantage.
Instead of getting offended at criticism, they use it as an opportunity to examine and improve themselves. This is what the Bible means in Proverbs 13:18 when it says, “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.” (NKJ)
Respond positively to criticism and you will be a long way toward success on the job.
2. Learn to say, “I was wrong.”
The unwritten rules of modern office politics seem to be “Never admit a mistake; always blame someone else.” No one likes to have to admit they were wrong. But a major key to finding happiness on the job is the willingness to say, “Hey, I made a mistake.” It’s a principle we find in the Bible. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (NKJ)
Be honest about your mistakes. Becoming known around the office as a person who is willing to own up to mistakes instead of pointing the finger at others, will give you credibility and earn you the respect and trust of those with whom you work.
3. Learn to ask for help when you need it.
Some people would rather do a job wrong than swallow their pride and ask for help. How would you like to be treated by a doctor that refused to ask for help when he wasn’t sure what course of action to take? You wouldn’t let such a doctor prescribe medicine for you, much less operate on you.
Yet, many people in other types of jobs won’t ask for more information when they need it to complete a job. An important key to upward mobility is knowing when to ask for help or more information. Proverbs 24:6 says, “For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” (NKJ)
Ask for help when you need it, so you can do the job right.
4. Avoid the office grapevine.
Have you heard the latest office gossip? Every office, corporation, or workplace has it—a steady flow of juicy gossip filled with rumor, conjecture, and wild speculation. But if you want to succeed God’s way, you need to avoid this kind of talk at all costs.
Participating in office gossip is extremely tempting but tremendously destructive. The Bible is filled with warnings to avoid it. James 4:11 says, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren.” (NKJ)
And Proverbs 17:9 says, “He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (NKJ)
Refuse to participate in gossip in the workplace, and you’ll earn the respect and trust of everyone around you.
5. Routinely go above and beyond the call of duty.
The world is filled with people who are prepared to do no more than the absolute minimum necessary to get by. But if you want to be fulfilled in your work and experience promotion, you must determine to do more than is expected of you, get more done than is required, and bring more excellence to your work than the minimum standards demand.
This is what Jesus meant when He said, “If someone compels you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” That’s where we get the phrase, “going the extra mile.” Jesus taught us to exceed the expectations of those we serve.
No matter who you are, no matter what you do, if you’ll apply these Bible-based principles, like Daniel, you’ll find yourself growing in influence and responsibility. Even in the darkest and most hostile of workplaces.