The holiday season is upon us, and we can expect many debates about how to cook the turkey, who’s in charge of the stuffing – or if it shouldn’t be called dressing – and which pie is the best. When we cook, the first thing we always grab to season is salt—the most basic of seasonings.
But when thinking about our family’s holiday menu, I began to think about the power of salt and how much of an impact is made when it’s missing.
Historically, because of the lack of refrigeration, salt was used to preserve food, which would quickly spoil in the desert environment. Like salt preserves foods, as Christian leaders in the workplace, we are called to protect the goodness of our work and, more specifically, our company’s culture.
This thought led me to the book of Matthew and the importance of being the salt and light wherever we go. Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
As the salt in our workplace, we must work intentionally to preserve the workplace culture so that it does not become “no longer good for anything” or “trampled under people’s feet.”
- One thing to do to preserve a positive company culture is to admit when you’ve made a mistake. It can be tempting to cover up our mistakes, but instead of working to advance our motives or careers, let’s humbly own our mistakes and work hard to reduce any potential negative impact of them. By doing this, we can promote humility and build a culture of trust.
- The second action we can take is to apologize. It sounds simple, but we’ve all had that day when work makes us feel like pulling our hair out. In these moments of feeling overwhelmed by work demands or frustration at others’ actions, we’re prone to lose our patience or speak carelessly. Whether our coworkers thought it significant or not, we can apologize for our short tempers, ask forgiveness where necessary, and, most importantly, clarify the kind, gentle and patient character we are called to display.
In addition to preservation, salt was used then, as it is now, as a flavor enhancer. In the same way that salt enhances the flavor of the food it seasons, Christian leaders often stand out as those who “enhance” the workplace. Integrating our faith and work naturally allows us to transform the world for good, just as salt positively transforms the flavor of the food it seasons.
Two things that naturally enhance one company’s culture are the people and the things you do together. You’re transforming the culture when you do fun, rewarding things as a company. And when those things feel unique to your company, they’re all the more powerful.
- At Workmatters, we celebrate birthdays – an event that, as we grow older, most of us tend to graze over year after year. The cake, the card, the laughter shared around the table in the break room; it’s all a part of enhancing the culture we’re cultivating at work.
- You can go one step further and incorporate elements of your company’s values into them. For example, if one of your company values is, “We go above and beyond and give back when we can,” you could set up volunteer days where employees get the day to help a charity they support.
Think about being the salt as you go into the rest of your week. Each morning, ask yourself how you can actively transform your workplace by preserving or enhancing your company’s culture. Come back next week to see how we can be the light in our workplace, shining light on the good we encounter and bringing light to areas that are not as they should be.