6 ways to develop virtue in the workplace

For many of us, we spend most of our waking hours at work. So if we want to grow in virtue and holiness, we can’t just leave our faith at home. But how can we use our time at work to grow in virtue?

Dr. Brian Engelland, Professor of Marketing at the Busch School of Business and Economics, recently stopped by Morning Air® to offer some ways we can grow in virtue and live our faith during our working hours.

Be Honest
Years ago I attended a seminar put together by the business accrediting organization. And we heard from business deans who were very successful, and the first one said, ‘Never lie to your faculty.’ And then the third presenter got up, and his top thing was, ‘Don’t lie to faculty.’ And then later that day someone else also talked about not lying to faculty.

Now what was curious about this, is that not lying is one of the Commandments.  As Catholics, we’re not going to be lying, right? And yet, these were very successful people telling other people how to become successful, and advising them to not lie.

We have to be honest with each other. Our society today has a big challenge with being honest in the things that we do. And honesty does require virtue, it basically requires practice in the four cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, courage, and moderation.

Be Prudent
Prudence allows us to keep confidential information confidential. And that’s important, because when we tell people something in a business situation we do need to respect confidences. And I think sometimes because of our braggadocio, or the fact that we know information, we tell others.

Prudence allows us to back off of that, and allows us to appreciate the true, the good, and the beautiful in all that we do. Recognize that we need to be respectful of that, and tell what’s appropriate, but keep the other information confidential.

Find Role Models
The way to grow in virtue is to take inspiration from the saints and from others who are practiced in virtue and have gone before us. Reading stories about people and how they have overcome situations through virtue is very helpful for us to understand. Because when we get into those situations, it is very helpful to hear and remember how someone else faced the same challenge and was able to proceed ahead.

Be a Role Model
But the other thing is that we are called to be salt for the earth. We are told to not let our light be hid under a bushel basket. We have the truth of Jesus Christ, but it is also what Jesus expects us to do. So it begins with us. We need to demonstrate these virtues so that someone else will say, ‘Hey, there’s something in that Catholic, that Christian. There is something there to be emulated.’ So we can be models in the workplace as well.

Avoid Gossip
I think [gossip] is a real challenge for many people. Because there is a real curiosity they have, and we like to put ourselves on a pedestal by downgrading someone else. Those kinds of sins need to be rejected.

Frequent the Sacraments
One of the great joys that we have as Catholics is that we have the Sacrament of Confession. Things like this can really help us. So if I confess gossip a couple times, I might say, ‘Do I have to confess that again?’ No, I eliminate that. I stop doing that. Because Confession is the idea of a firm desire to eliminate our sin.

We take the graces of the sacrament of penance and watch them build. Those graces are the foundation of a building that just keeps getting taller and taller, going all the way up to heaven. You find those graces creating virtue in the workplace.

Listen to the full discussion below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6:00-9:00 a.m. Eastern/3:00-6:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.