“It’s not a big deal.”
“I didn’t want to cause a problem.”
“I didn’t know you wanted to know.”
“I figured it’s just the way it is.”
“I was going to say something but I didn’t get the chance.”
“The last time I said something it didn’t go well.”
“I know you’re really busy.”
“It won’t create a change anyway.”
“I didn’t think you cared to know.”
It’s inevitable. Along the path of discipleship, throughout the dance of relationships and under the mantle of leadership we will encounter times when those we are leading and loving have frustrations and times of confusion. Our goal as leaders, lovers and disciple-makers is to know when frustration and confusion exist and strive to address it and make positive change.
One of the most effective ways to discover frustration and confusion sooner than later is by creating a culture of healthy communication. Often times we can avoid having to ask the question “Why didn’t you say something?” after the fact, by intentionally creating healthy rhythms and spaces for the communication of frustrations and confusion to be expressed along the way. So, how can we do this?
1. Say It
Creating a culture that shares and values feedback and communication – whether it be celebration or frustration – begins with casting vision that honest communication and the sharing of frustrations and confusion is not only okay, but is expected and highly valued. Others need to know that what they are experiencing is critically important and necessary to know in order for us to grow and get better. It is a big deal. They’re not creating a problem by sharing. You do want to know!
2. Show It
It’s one thing to say it, but another to show it. As leaders and disciple-makers we are to be intentional in how we model what we mean. We get to be do-ers and coaches of what we desire others to be and do, not just say-ers and pray-ers that hope it happens without examples. If we want others to value and participate in sharing their frustrations and challenges in a healthy way, then we must model what that looks like for them. How you model this is up to you, but remember the way you do it sets the stage for how you want them to do it as well.
3. Schedule It
Culture is created by consistency. Consistency is supported by scheduling. If we want to promote healthy communication and the sharing of challenges then we must put it on the calendar, on the meeting agenda and in our conversations. Be intentional and ask the question “are there any frustrations, challenges or confusion right now?” Give them the chance to share. Show that you aren’t too busy. Display value by making time.
4. Support It
We can say it, show it and schedule it, but if we do not support the sharing and communicating of frustrations and challenges by doing something with their feedback, it will be tough create a culture of it. We can support healthy communication by:
- Actually listening to what is being shared and not dismissing or downplaying
- Thanking others for sharing regardless the feedback given
- Not stifling unflattering or critical sharing
- Taking action steps to help address the challenges presented
- Coaching others towards positive change form their sharing – help them move through frustration and to solutions
Heart check: Do you tend to view and take feedback personally or providentially? If we view and receive feedback as merely a personal value statement we will tend to avoid any and all negative or corrective feedback making the effort of creating a culture of healthy and honest communication nearly impossible. When we view feedback and honest sharing providentially (opportunistically) then we can hear and receive both negative and positive sharing as it is a means to understanding and gathering the critical information necessary to help others grow and succeed.
Our goal as leaders, lovers and disciple-makers is to know when frustration and confusion exist and strive to address it and make positive change. We can accomplish this be creating healthy rhythms and spaces for sharing, hearing and change to occur.
Real Life Ministries Cd’A
Coeur d’Alene, ID