The conversation was casual in a relaxing kind of way. As we talked of business trends, emerging models, and ongoing challenges, I could feel my nervous edge beginning to disappear. Without any indication, the conversation shifted on a single question.
“What is the ideal role a manager should play and where do you fit in that picture?”
My mind spun in several directions. Where did the question come from? Why did I not see it coming? Was there a context to the question buried in what we had been talking about? Could I express my answer in a clear, concise way?
As my mind raced, I found myself taking a deep cleansing breath. The ritual automatically slowed my mind and created a bit of space for reflection. Whatever the answers to my mind’s buzz, I knew I needed to tell a story that he could take with him.
The question is one we should all wrestle with. You can flip the word manager with many other words – individual, person, human being, leader, or child. I am sure there are more. The heart of the question will remain – where do you or I fit in the story?
Being part of a community, living up to the role, involves more than occupying the seat. As part of my answer I talked of adding value, empowering others, and contributing in a way everyone around me recognized (subordinates, peers, and clients). As I reflected and told my story, I realized that my answer rarely included the reality that what I do today is not always tomorrow’s answer. Situations change. Whatever I will do will come from being ready, seeing opportunities, and having a willingness to act.
A writer commented about the future, highlighting that roles change, even Christ’s. “When everything and everyone is finally under God’s rule, the Son will step down, taking his place with everyone else, showing that God’s rule is absolutely comprehensive—a perfect ending!” (1 Corinthians 15.27, 28)
Today requires our readiness, awareness, and willingness. It is a calling God shares with us. Carpe Diem.