Here are a few ways to incorporate your faith into your Catholic business management style. This will increase your efficiency, employees will feel purpose, and your customers will notice the difference. Hard work, charitable behavior, and a solid work ethic will make your Catholic business profitable, both fiscally and spiritually.
Central to good Catholic business management is the modeling of best practices in the workplace. First lead by exhibiting a strong work ethic, attention to detail, and personal responsibility, only then ask your employees to do the same. The way you treat a difficult customer, for example, with patience and kindness shows your employees that they can trust you, and will encourage them to do the same.
It is important at the office for managers to have an open-door policy that offers employees the appropriate opportunities to voice concerns and seek guidance. Employees regularly testify that the best bosses are the ones who are most approachable. Communication that builds a relationship aimed at furthering a shared mission … sounds a little like prayer, doesn’t it? Whether you’re running Heaven itself or just a local small business, an open-door policy through which employees and customers alike, know that their opinions are listened to and taken into consideration by management is imperative.
Death, taxes and … human error. Some things in life are inevitable, LOL. For every success on the part of your employees, there will come some failure as well. As a Catholic business owner, it’s important to recognize employees as ends in themselves and not means to the end of achieving a profit. Forgiving and moving forward in a way that is productive without holding a grudge is important for the state of your soul and your business.
To truly move on from employee errors that are clerical in nature, for example, requires all parties to be on the same page going forward. Good Catholic business management involves responding (and not reacting) to mistakes made by workers with patience, using the experience as a teaching moment. Even Jesus asked Peter three times, after his betrayal: “Do you love me?” Jesus used His response to Peter’s mistake as a teaching moment.
Look no further than to the Lord Himself for a perfect model of Catholic business management. At the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples as an everlasting example of the self-sacrifice required to shepherd others, He personified the very quality needed to propel forward the largest Catholic organization ever: the Roman Catholic Church. If you own or manage a Catholic business, you’ll find yourself unable to lead if you are not willing to serve with grace and kindness both your employees and your customers.
Having your Catholic company values on your about page, clearly defined and accessible on your website for both your customers and your team is an easy way to show the world (and your employees) that you care. Try to identify the deep running virtues that matter most to you and your company and to express them in simple language. This often includes concrete examples of how you might live out that virtue.
We’ve all heard the famous saying, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.” This philosophy should be applied by anyone desiring to manifest good Catholic business management. Catholic small business owner and web designer Kristina Petrilli exemplifies this ideology in her own small business by offering to teach clients how to maintain the websites she builds them.
The Catholic groups for whom I work have missions too important to be put on pause. For this reason, I often teach clients how to update their own websites. I ultimately lose money by handing over this ability to the customer, but the joy I receive from being able to use my God-given talents to help other Catholic business owners succeed makes it worth it.
In brief, this often means putting your client’s success before your own profits. As a Catholic business, you should truly care about serving God’s people through the good that your Catholic clients are doing for their customers.
We are not the owners but rather the stewards of all that God gives us in this life, including our profits. If you own a Catholic venture, then one way to bring your faith into your Catholic business management approach is to tithe a percentage of your company’s profits. This obviously encourages employees and customers to do the same.
Running a Catholic company without practicing good business ethics just wouldn’t make sense. In that spirit, and in an effort to bring your faith into your Catholic business management practices, you should attempt to pay a fair wage and offer benefits to your employees. As a small company this might be difficult early on, however clear communication about future goals and growth, that include how employees will be compensated, are essential to offering your employees a way to plan for a stable future.
If “ora et labora” (pray and work) could serve as the backbone of St. Benedict’s monasteries, then it can certainly help sustain your workplace as well. Take time each day to work but also to pray together as a team. Something as simple as a brief spontaneous prayer at the beginning of a staff meeting can unit your team around the deeper mission you share as a Catholic company.
An effective Catholic business management style helps bring efficiency and ethics to the already difficult task of managing a Catholic business.
About the Author:
Ryan Bilodeau is a Theology Teacher, Author & Founder of Catholic Cases, an app that collects, categorizes, and stores the Church’s official moral teachings in one place. A fan of marketing, sports and politics, Ryan also helps Catholic organizations and Catholic authors with website design and marketing through his firm Church Bell Communications. Recently married, he also writes for several publications.