Lessons from the Big Chair: Communicate Well

Share this:
Share

The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way. Today will be the last post in this series.

It’s really hard to narrow down some of the major lessons I’ve learned, while at the same time trying to keep situations general. Let me finish the series with the final piece of advice he gave me as he left: keep the lines of communication open.

So many leadership struggles happen as a result of poor communication. I find myself referring to people as “black holes of information” whereas just this week my loving wife accused me of the being the same thing.

Communication can be hard.

While communicating, intent can get ignored.

Content can get confused.

Comments can get misunderstood, and tensions can rise.

That’s why, as leaders, we need to learn to continually keep the lines of communication open, going both ways. We need to communicate well with those we lead, but we also need to be willing to listen and establish a culture of two-way communication.

So, how are you doing at communicating this week? Do you need to work out a situation with someone in a supervisory role above you? What about someone you are leading who may need to communicate with you? What are you doing to help them find opportunities to communicate with you?

Or maybe, for you, communicating means simply checking in and asking how life’s going. Whatever it looks like, keep the lines of communication open and watch your leadership influence grow.

Lessons from the Big Chair: Listen

Share this:
Share

The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming next week, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

I’ll never forget playing bass at a July 4th concert when I was in college. The band I was in had the opportunity to play as an opener for a Church organized July 4th event. The group playing after us featured an incredible guitar player.

Because he was friends with a couple of guys in our group, he decided to play one or two songs with us, having never played or practiced with us at all, and he nailed it.

I’ve never been the kind of musician who can play by ear, but this guy could. While he was playing some incredible licks, he was also listening to what was happening in the song, and could anticipate what came next. That was important.

So many times, we get too busy to listen.

And that was one of the most practical lessons I learned during our interim–sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and listen. People want to be heard, to know their voice matters.

Leadership is no different. Until we learn to take the time to listen to what is going on around us, to weigh the possibilities, and to evaluate the potential, it will be difficult to lead other people.

If someone suggests a change and I brush it off as unnecessary without full consideration, then my leadership influence takes a hit.

If someone offers a suggestion and I choose to not even consider it, my leadership influence suffers.

But most importantly, when I take the time to listen to someone’s story, I’m able to understand them better.

If you’re serious about increasing your leadership ability, take time today to listen.

Lessons from the Big Chair: Support Matters

Share this:
Share

The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

Genuine compliments speak to my heart. When someone notices something I’ve done, specifically, and highlights the work, it is special to me.

Something that happened over and over during our short time serving together was the support I felt from our interim. I cannot tell you the number of times when I was not in the room and I heard someone say how the interim pastor had bragged on me.

Now, this isn’t me being insecure or needy. The things he was saying were things I would do without notice simply because I love God and I love serving Him by serving the church. BUT, to know the interim pastor not only recognized that love, but verbally supported me, meant the world.

So, what’s the lesson? Support those you lead. Find ways to highlight the effort they are putting forth. Bring attention to their victories. Celebrate the positive, happy moments with them. Learn what speaks to their hearts, and affirm them that way.

How well do you do at that? Let’s test it: think of one person you lead and write down how they prefer to receive support. Got it? Try another, and then another. See how far you can go before it becomes too difficult.

Support matters. Our relationships are stronger when they are girded by support and encouragement. Find a way to bless someone today by showing your support for them.

Lessons from the Big Chair: Listen to Your Elders

Share this:
Share

The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

Have you ever felt like you were the young gun in the room, and as a result felt under-prepared? Have you ever felt overwhelmed at the knowledge other people in your field know?

Early on in our interim’s tenure, he shared a story with me about something he learned early in his ministry–a 20 something can have the wisdom of a 60 something simply by asking a 60 something to share their wisdom.

In other words, if you’re young, ask older people for guidance.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was walking into the interim’s office and sitting as he shared stories of his experiences: stories of humbling events, incredible relationship, and life change. Very few times did I sit knee to knee with him and not feel energized by his wisdom and experiences.

There is a natural humility in asking people for advice and to share their experiences from lessons learned. Learn from the paths others have walked, and your path will suddenly seem less treacherous.

Now, for just a moment, let me offer a counter-view: if you’re, ahem, older, do not be afraid of sharing your experiences with those who are younger than you.

Please do not begin sharing your experiences by referencing a “young whippersnapper” or “you kids”, and be very cautious of offering your experiences until you’ve been asked. If my generation has any sense, we will ask. Then, you have the freedom to unload your learnings.

One last thought: I love hearing the stories of other people, especially their leadership stories. Hearing stories and understanding why people are at the place where they are energizes me and helps me become a stronger person and minister.

So, once again, you young whipper-snappers, listen to those who are older than you–they are even wiser than you, if you can believe it.

Now, you more experienced generation, please share with us what you learned along the way–we will be better for it.

Like this? Subscribe here to get 3 Question Leadership posts in your inbox.

 

Lessons from the Big Chair: Passion Paves the Way

Share this:
Share

The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming in a few weeks, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

Today’s lesson is more of an observation than any conversation we had: Passion paves the way.

I like routine. I like consistency and predictability. So, when our interim came in and started recommending changes, I was naturally a little hesitant. But, over time, I started to notice something.

The changes being made were not being made for no reason, but there was passion behind the motivation. For me, when I begin to see someone’s passion, I get excited and passionate as well.

There’s a downside to this learning, because sometimes passion is misguided and downright wrong. But when hearts are pure, passion paves the way.

Our interim was passionate about a few things, and because of that, those topics continually resurfaced in conversations. He made an impact as he moved forward with passion, and people started to line up behind him and follow.

Where is your passion leading? Is it leading to a greater sense of self-worth? Is it leading to a false sense of self-importance? Or is your passion leading others to get better, to grow, and to know Christ better?

Like this? Subscribe here to get 3 Question Leadership posts in your inbox.