I recently received an email from someone wanting to attend a meeting that was typically closed to non-team members. He stated his reasoning why.
I immediately wrote back disagreeing with him. I gave my reasons for disagreeing with him. I was straightforward, honest, and decided to tell him the whole truth as to why I disagreed. I ended the email saying that I hoped he understood.
The next morning, I received a call from him and we spoke for ten minutes about the issue. The way he began the call actually took me by surprise.
He started off by affirming me. He appreciated that I did not beat around the bush and was always up front, honest, and direct with him. He then went on to say that too many people in ministry are sometimes afraid to be direct and honest because they don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings, cause tension or create conflict.
I couldn’t have agreed with him more. Leaders in ministry often hold back from sharing their true thoughts and feelings around a particular issue. This is problematic because we end up burying our true feelings and never create full transparency within our team. This often leads to resentment of each other because all the issues are not laid out on the table.
I was affirmed because the way I responded to him was honest and direct. Being honest and direct, even if it might have caused tension, created three unintended positive results:
- He respected me more. He really appreciated hearing the truth and not avoiding the issues.
- He, in turn, felt like he could be totally honest and direct with me. I appreciated this because I like open and transparent conversations. I want people to get to the heart of the issue without beating around the bush or thinking that they might hurt my feelings.
- This led to us talking about the real issues. Neither of us felt the need to make stuff up or sugarcoat the message because we were worried about the conflict it might cause. We got right to the heart of the matter without having to play psychiatrist and try to dig for the truth.
Our phone conversation ended positively and we each had some constructive feedback to share. I couldn’t have asked for a better conversation and it made me really appreciate the people in my life that I can be totally truthful with.
I encourage you to try it. Tell the truth and be direct. Don’t sugarcoat the message unnecessarily. Watch and see how this can transform your team and communication.
Question: Why do you believe that people in ministry have difficulty having these types of conversations?