There’s a lot to be learned in the area of communication. After all, people communicate in different ways and, as a leader, how you communicate may not be how someone else does. Some people on your team may not be as interested in pleasantries and prefer only the facts, while others need to have a conversation prior to diving into details.
But, one thing is for sure: consistently talking through problems, issues, and goals is always a wise thing to do.
In fact, effectively communicating with your team isn’t just important, it’s crucial to ministry success. Here are seven reasons you should communicate effectively:
Communication is best for the other person. Communication helps people to grow by clarifying any dysfunction and not enabling a wrong behavior to continue. Some leaders may have a 20-year-old Christian that is no more than a 1-year-old in Christ. They have lived the same year 20 times and have never learned the basics of the Christian faith.
Communication helps a leader deal with problems before they escalate into a full-blown crisis. There is something to be said about Barney Fifes old adage “nip it in the bud!” When problems are addressed quickly there is less of a chance that they will turn into crises.
Communication that is based on real-time problems becomes a release valve for frustrations—yours and others. When we fail to address problems, our attitudes can be skewed toward the person involved. We may end up wishing he or she were not a part of our team for no other reason than we just don’t want to address the problem. Communicating your policy and boundaries helps people to know if they are a fit for their positions or not.
Communication brings understanding, respect, and clarity. As a leader, a primary goal should be to communication so others know where they stand. Are they doing a good job? Do they understand their responsibilities? If something is wrong, do they know why and how to fix it? Communication will make or break your staff. If people feel lost in the communication cycle, they will make mistakes, look for ways to leave, or worse—undermine your leadership!
Communication creates a culture of honesty. In the book It’s Your Ship, Admiral Michael Abrashov writes, “Your people always know the score even when you don’t want them to know it.” When you have the courage to have hard conversations, your staff will thank you. Plus, they will get the message your are sharing, which is “We deal with problems we don’t just ignore them.”
Communication models how to deal with problems as adults and not like children. When we have the courage to have hard conversations, staff members will get the message that they are appreciated simply because you took the time to care, confront, and even correct.
Communication is imperative for having a healthy culture. Patrick Lencioni, the founder of The Table Group and best selling author on business management says, “Teams who don’t engage conflict resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.”
Once you have established strong lines of communication, you’ll want to continue checking in with co-workers to keep those open.
Weekly or bi-weekly meetings go a long way to establish sound communication while building a sense of team within your staff. The bottom line is this: when people know you care about them personally, they will be much more eager to come discuss difficult matters.