Last week I did a post about “grumpiness.” I’ve gotten in a couple of conversations since & thought I’d share a couple of further thoughts.
The main thing that I was trying to express, as far as grumpiness goes, is the importance of how & where it is expressed. Here was the scenario I mentioned last week…a guy comes up to Liz & I while we are visiting his church (Westminster Abbey), tells us about a decision that has been made by the leaders, and then calls that decision “pathetic.” He had never met us before, he didn’t know we were visiting from the states…well, with our accents we were clearly from the US, but what if we were moving to London and looking for a church to be part of while we were there. How is that for a first encounter?
Obviously I don’t know why he was so upset…was his opinion on the matter not sought? Perhaps he spoke to the pastor, said, “I think this is a bad idea,” and felt he wasn’t heard or listened to. Regardless, there was a place and time for him to have that discussion…but once the decision was made, it was time to join with the rest of the team and push in the same direction.
Let me give you an example closer to home. A few weeks ago at our staff meeting, I told them about a decision that had been made, why it was made, and how we were going about it. I felt really good about this decision. Until I started getting questions. And then the questions turned to, “This is not a good way to handle this.” While the consensus was this might be a good idea, but it needed to be dealt with differently. The conversation was pretty passionate on both sides. But in the end I realized, they were right. And the best thing we could do was to not do what I had proposed.
A while after this meeting, I heard from someone who was pretty new to the staff meeting, and they said that while they agreed with the final decision, the conversation made them uncomfortable.
Here’s my thinking (which was greatly influenced by Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.) When I am meeting with a team; our church council, our leadership team, our staff, or whatever…I want everyone to come to the table, free to speak their mind…I want each of them to bring their passions, and their unique points of view with them. We each bring a unique perspective, but it is always limited…and the only way past that is if everyone is fully present.
Now, when we had that staff meeting a few weeks ago…it was passionate…which is great. At the same time, it never got personal. That’s where the line comes in. If you are involved in leading, passionately fight for your point of view…but show love and respect for everyone else in the room.
If the others in that meeting had felt that they could not say what they were thinking, we would have left that room with a decision that was not the best. And if our key leaders are frustrated with a potential decision, what are the chances a lot of other people would be as well? Pretty good, right?
So that’s the first part…if you are leading here, when you come to the table, share what you are thinking, and bring your passion with you.
Here’s the second…once the decision is made, we move forward as a team…we are all pulling in the same direction. Imagine if our leadership met to talk about an important issue. Most of the team sees things this way and decides this is in the best interest of the church, and one or two see it the other way. The Bible has a lot to say about division in the church…& none of it is positive.
Say that leader starts telling people, “we are going to start doing this, but I think it is a really bad decision…pathetic in fact!” What impact would that have on the people that person was leading? How about on the moral of the leadership team. Would that type of behavior further unity of the body, or harm it?
If we all agree all the time, that is just weird…and not healthy. If we are leaders, we are called to lead, not to be “nice.” But to have a healthy effective team, we have our discussions, hear every side and then move forward together…united. When one person, or a small group of people allow their frustration to begin spilling out to whomever happens to be passing by, it is always harmful.