While I was a student worker in President Teague’s office at Lancaster Bible College, I was under the direction and supervisor of Marge Styer. Marjorie, as I affectionately call her, was a great example in my life of a leader deserving respect. She was always patient and polite with me, expecting punctuality and professionalism; two things I lack but with her grace were able to work on. Though she could have easily exercised her seniority on many occasions, should often would humble herself to do “menial tasks” with or for me. There is nothing I will ask you to do that I wouldn’t do myself”, I recall her saying as she emptied trash bags and vacuumed the floor, a job other executive assistants might label as “out of their job description”.
After graduating high school, and not being sure as to the next step that should be taken, I worked as a teller at my local credit union for a year until transferring to LBC. The teller supervisor at my branch’s name was Tammy. And though nice enough, she most definitely did not have the trust or respect of the girls on the floor. If the receipts weren’t balancing, nothing was every her fault; she was quick to point fingers and slow to take action. She was, in general, very incompetent as a teller, but too stubborn to ask for help. Whenever a question was asked of her and she didn’t know the answer, as often times she didn’t, she would send us away to her assistant Sarah, who knew far more and was much more skilled on our systems. The only problem with that was she never followed up with the solution, so she herself never actually grew and never actually learned.
It is easy to see the stark differences between Marge and Tammy. Humility vs. Pride. Inspiring vs. Discouraging. Proficiency vs. Incompetence. In addition to all that, another reason I found Marge so respectable was because of her tongue. She used it to constantly encourage me through positive reinforcement, and what she called “teachable moments” each time I made a mistake, which sometimes could be a daily occurrence! She always spoke with the upmost respect and admiration for her place of employment and her leader, President Teague. She also knew when it was not appropriate to diverge certain information to me. She knew there were plenty of things that I didn’t need to know, and she didn’t feel a need to share them with me. What wisdom! I knew I could trust telling her things that didn’t need to go any farther than her desk, because I’ve seen her use discretion in so many other circumstances. Tammy, on the other hand, was not so careful with her tongue. The warning in James 3 informs us that “The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” She set our office ablaze many a times with her gossip and slander. Her sloppy speech and haughty comments set a clear message in our office to not trust her; she would soon turn on you!