April 12, 2010

Thoughts From A Rookie (Part 2)

While people can have seriously unrealistic expectations of pastors and leaders at times, it is just as criminally frustrating when we have unclear expectations of others. Are you a pastor? A leader? Does your staff or your team KNOW what's expected of them? Do you THINK they do, but you're not really positive? Because if the answer is anything other than an emphatic "YES", someone will eventually get hurt. And since this isn't really rocket science, most of us could question, "How do we let this happen?" If what I'm saying is pretty much Leadership 101 common sense, why do so many of us allow the windows to stay fogged up and the people we most need to be in the light to remain walking around blindfolded? I think there are a few reasons.

One of the main reasons this happens is because at times, as we're still trying to even develop an understanding of people, our circumstances, and everything that's been handed to us along with it, we're don't have the sense to simply say to people, "I'm still trying to figure it out". It's the prideful disillusion that, as a leader, you're supposed to have all the answers. ALL of them! Don't be an idiot! No one expects this of you. And if they do, you need to get rid of them. (Nicely, of course)

Another obstacle to being clear is that sometimes you speak a completely different language from the team member you're trying to communicate with. While you can't become immediately and wholly fluent in each other's "speak", you better at least figure out that you're somewhat speaking in different tongues. Something's not translating. We're not sure what it is, but we know it's happening. Ultimately though, you've either got to figure out how to communicate or come to grips with the fact that (maybe) it's just not going to work.

The last catalyst (that I want to take time to point out) in being unclear - please don't hate the messenger - is that you're a BIG FAT CHICKEN! [Go ahead if you need to and say it: "Bock bock!"] I know, it's not easy. We don't want to be associated with this dumb bird that most of us ate for dinner at some point last week. But the reality is, being a pastor or a leader comes with the unavoidable task of having HARD conversations! Conversations that cause you to lose sleep and make your stomach turn thinking about. Talks that you dread more than Chewbacca would dread getting a back waxing! Let's be honest - sometimes it sucks! Sometimes it's hard to say to someone, "This is EXACTLY what I need from you." There are times when it won't be easy to let someone know, "If you're going to take on this responsibility to do this - and it doesn't get done - there are going to be consequences." And it gets even worse when someone fails or misses the mark. No, you don't want to crush their heart or make them feel like a big loser. But if you don't communicate to them that what happened was FAR from what you expected....how the heck are they EVER supposed to know it better not happen again? Think about it.

If you don't know what you expect from your key staff or team, figure it out! And then - for everyone's sake - communicate it! This is so important, you better take days off and get on your face and do the work of hammering it into submission. If you're a leader, you better be like LIVING WINDEX for the people following you. And nothing I've said here is out of judgment, it's because I've been guilty of ALL of it! But I'm committing and working harder every single day to wipe off the windows and make the view for everyone in my bus as clear as possible! Lead on my friend!

More to come....

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