Effective leaders need to disregard the old adage of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” because, in reality, during challenging times, your colleagues are often shell-shocked, frightened and needing reassurance.
Now is not the time to say things like “they’ll get over it,” “come on, suck it up,” and “there’s no time to lose.” Leaders must use patience and compassion to get through these challenging times.
During times of economic upheaval, it’s critical to rebuild trust within your church organization, which will help your team achieve positive results over the long haul. Leaders can reassure their teams and rebuild trust with transparency and vulnerability.
Transparency Rule #1:
Repeat your strategy for growth (and repeat it often). Show how, even with the changing tides, your strategy is still relevant and will get the results you and your team need. People want to succeed and bailout plans require leaders to instill confidence and trust in the plan.
Transparency Rule #2:
Hear your team’s concerns. What are the barriers and concerns holding them back? Are they right? Are there areas where the strategy and approach is not realistic? Hold back judgments about their concerns. Listen and consider their input before reacting or changing anything.
Transparency Rule #3:
Go deeper, if needed. Isolate individual needs and concerns that may be impacting the overall team. Be curious about the troubles impacting your leaders. You don’t know what may be taking up energy in their lives…perhaps a spouse has lost a job, or an elderly parent is putting additional financial pressure on their family. Listening and caring, without solving, is usually all that is needed to get someone back on track more energized than before.
Transparency Rule #4:
Separate facts from fiction or hearsay. When times get tough, there is a lot of speculation. People create and retell stories based on interpretation and perspective. Now is the time to nip this in the bud and get the real facts out before rumors get out of hand.
Transparency Rule #5:
Own up to the bad news. Treating people as adults with frankness and respect is critical during tough times. If there is another shoe to drop, be frank and let people know what is forthcoming. Provide as much information as possible and keep communication coming on a regular basis. Transparency of communication will help ensure trust and minimize further speculation.
While you are being transparent with the realities of the church business, it is a good practice to do it in an authentic way. Authentic leaders are real, are able to build trust in a greater way than those who aren’t perceived as authentic and are in touch with their vulnerability. Use these three ideas to help you be more vulnerable with your teams.
Vulnerability Idea #1:
Share your views and concerns. Leaders don’t have to have all the answers. Showing teams your humane side is an important skill for gaining connection and trust with your team.
Vulnerability Idea #2:
Tell a story. Stories help people retain messages. Stories also reveal different parts of us. Tough times require better connections with others.
Vulnerability Idea #3:
Share a time when you felt concern about the future. Having a leader admit to difficult times can be reassuring to others. Highlighting your learning can help others relate to their own challenges.
“These tough economic times are frightening for everyone, and even the most effective leaders are feeling uncertain about the future. “The key to getting through this challenging period is to demonstrate compassion, vulnerability and transparency and by reassuring your team that things will get better.”
Phone Contact: 1.866.295.5343
Apostle Jerry A. Howard
Founding Apostle, Ekklesia Fellowship
Sr. Pastor, Kingdom Church Int'l