King Artaxerxes must’ve managed his kingdom well, one reason why at the start of the book of Nehemiah, he was already in the twentieth year of his reign. Either he was a good king or a dictator, but in those days, tyrants won’t live long. They’ re usually assassinated.
Why do I think that he is a good manager? For one, he had a good relationship with his employees, in this case Nehemiah, who was his chief cupbearer.
A cupbearer’s life is not easy. You can get killed! How? You will be taking the first sip or taste of the wine that the king will be drinking. Your life is on the line. If someone wanted to poison the king, his wine or the cup can be laced with toxins that can be immediately fatal. Nehemiah’s job was not only to hold the king’s cup but to ensure his safety. Not many people in those days will take that kind of job. Who wants to die for the king right? Unless you get drafted to that job.
Ok back to King Artaxerxes, why he is a good manager.
First, he noticed. Nehemiah 2:2 says, “So the king asked me, ‘Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.’ Then I was terrified,”
The previous verse tells that Nehemiah was never sad in the king’s presence. This day he was. He could not keep his emotions to himself. The bible does not detail how the king noticed that he was sad. But he did!
A good manager notices! He should always know the state of being of his employees. If a staff does not feel well or is going through strong emotions, as in this case, they will not be productive. They can force themselves to be but it will not be as good as what they can do when they are not struggling.
If an employee is not productive then the team a person manages will not be 100% productive. It has a domino effect. Imagine Nehemiah unwittingly poisoning the king because he was not paying attention to the details of his job. Worse he could get himself killed by drinking poison!
If a manager is apathetic or neglectful to the needs of his staff, it will not reflect well on him. His department will suffer or perform poorly.
So if you manage people and truly care for your job and people assigned to you. Take time to notice your staff. Make time to talk with them personally, face-to-face. They will appreciate it. Your actions mean that you care for them, and its a big deal for them
Stay tuned for Part 2!
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Who was King Artaxerxexes? He died a long, long time ago. Check in on him here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artaxerxes_I_of_Persia