I blog frequently on management and how the essence of good management is not actually to supervise people but realize that they are self-governing. In other words, people are to manage themselves. The manager is a source of help whose role is to unleash the talent of each individual by seeking to enlarge their scope of freedom and autonomy as much as possible.
This is not a new idea. Interestingly, Charles Spurgeon, way back in the 1800s, articulated the essence of this as well as anyone today. Here’s what he had to say in Counsel to Christian Workers (and, also interestingly, he is simply echoing Ephesians 6:6!):
What a mean and beggarly thing it is for a man only to do his work well when he is watched. Such oversight is for boys at school and mere hirelings. You never think of watching noble-spirited men.
Here is a young apprentice set to copy a picture: his master stands over him and looks over each line, for the young scapegrace will grow careless and spoil his work, or take to his games if he be not looked after.
Did anybody thus dream of supervising Raphael and Michael Angelo to keep them to their work? NO, the master artist requires no eye to urge him on. Popes and emperors came to visit the great painters in their studios but did they pain the better because these grandees gazed upon them?
Certainly not; perhaps they did all the worse in the excitement or the worry of the visit. They had regard to something better than the eye of pompous personages. So the true Christian wants no eye of man to watch him.
There may be pastors and preachers who are the better for being looked after by bishops and presbyters; but fancy a bishop overseeing the work of Martin Luther and trying to quicken his zeal; or imagine a presbyter looking after Calvin to keep him sound in faith.
Oh, no; gracious minds outgrow the governance and stimulus which comes of the oversight of mortal man. God’s own Spirit dwells within us, and we serve the Lord from an inward principle, which is not fed from without.
There is about a real Christian a prevailing sense that God sees him, and he does not care who else may set his eye upon him; it is enough for him that God is there. He hath small respect to the eye of man, he neither courts nor dreads it. Let the good deed remain in the dark, for God sees it there, adn that is enough; or let it be blazoned in the light of day to be pecked at by the censorious, for it little matters who censures since God approves.
This is to be a true servant of Christ; to escape from being an eyeservant to men by becoming in the sublimest sense an eyeservant, working ever beneath the eye of God.