Episode 50 - 3 Sep 2019
Speaking With Candor
Blake Holmes (Dallas Campus Pastor and Director of The Watermark Institute) joins Adam and John to talk about having candid conversations. People need to know the whole truth, and it is your job as a leader to communicate that to them. Listen in for best practices on what candor should look like in the life of a church leader. Show notes --> watermarkresources.com/clp/6698
Blake Holmes (Dallas Campus Pastor and Director of The Watermark Institute) joins Adam and John to talk about speaking directly and honestly. People need to know the whole truth, and it is your job as a leader to communicate that to them. Listen in for insights on what candor should look like in the life of a church leader.
"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." - Proverbs 27:5-6
Scripture calls us to be very candid with people and express to them the reality of their situation. Before moving people on to other things, a leader needs to first show them where they currently are. Leaders are to define reality.
"Yelling at someone from behind the pulpit is different than having a hard conversation over coffee." - John McGee
Unfortunately, most churches are not known for being candid. While this may come as a surprise, it is far easier to be candid and tell people hard truths in a one-to-many setting than it is to say those same things in a one-on-one conversation. In the church, we called to be loving, but can too often mistake being loving for being nice. Sometimes the most loving thing to do is to point out the unpleasant reality of things. This is going to love someone well, even if it doesn't come across as nice at first. Loving someone will often include admonishment (Colossians 3:16). We cannot allow our desire to be liked cloud our ability to shepherd people with candor. The motive here isn't punitive. It is always one of love.
In a culture of candor, people are never guessing. You never have to guess what people think of you or if you are doing a good job. This will help your whole organization.
4 Best Practices for Candid Conversation
- Assume you don't know all the facts - Qualifying statements like "I could be wrong..." and questions like "Do you mind if I share something?" help frame the conversation in humility. Remember that there will always be a gap between our understanding and reality.
- Share your experience and observations - This works to separates impact from intent. Share your experience with a situation and then ask if your experience is accurate to their understanding of things. Don't ascribe motive before asking for it. Check your perceptions. How you say things matters.
- Be thoughtful about timing and location of conversations - Praise in public, critique in private. Leaders need to be diligent to time candid conversations well. The same information, when communicated at different times can have radically different results. The best times of day to have difficult conversations are early in the morning or right before the end of the work day. The worst time of day for difficult conversations is right around lunch. This best practice also applies to the mode of conversation. Be mindful of whether a conversation should be had face to face rather than over email or text.
- Over-communicate intent - Start hard conversations reminding the person of your intent. Begin with "Because I love you..." or "I care about you, so..." The less trust there is in a relationship, the more thoughtful you should be with declaring your intent.
Work to create an environment where people are comfortable receiving feedback. You need to be the first one to be okay with receiving candid critique. If it has been a long time since you have received candid feedback, it could be a sign that others are uncomfortable approaching you with their comments.
Sr. Director of Watermark Resources
Cohost of Church Leadership Podcast