Keys to being an Effective Communicator as a Ministry Leader| Conviction

Being an effective communicator is hard work for most us. Its hard in the weekly grind to remember how important our 1v1 and large group communication opportunities are. God uses these moments to bring hope, healing and life transformation to others. Our words can be used to tear down, or they can be used to build up. I know you want to use your words to build because you are reading this to grow as a communicator. This will be a three part blog post on 3 Keys to Effective Communication.

To communicate effectively, it all starts with conviction. A leader must believe in what they are saying to lead others. We can’t simply go through the motions or say what we are expected to say by others.

Until you know why what you are suppose to communicate matters and really believe it can be used by God to encourage, challenge and build up the hearers, you aren’t ready to communicate. When we have conviction we passionately believe something and speak from the center of who we are. As ministry leaders, we must lead from the center of our soul so that we are communicating the reality of the resurrection by our presence.

Some may interpret conviction to mean yelling or animated and might accidentally come across as angry if they aren’t careful. Conviction shows up differently because of our different personalities, but it means that the hearers sense life being given to them in your words. They feel the importance and lean in, wanting to hear more because someone has wrestled enough with the text of God’s Word and the reality of our human condition to be able to speak into their life in a meaningful way.

Someone else has said you can have truth on ice or you can have truth on fire.

  • Do your hearers sense that you really believe what you are saying?
  • Do your hearers feel resurrection hope after being under your teaching?

Its not just the content that matters. The content is significant and our starting point. But we must work hard to have great (and faithful) content and conviction in the manner in which we communicate that content in a compelling way.

Both the content we communicate and the manner in which we communicate tell others listening something about who God is. Typically we think just the content communicates something about God. Make sure your content and presence in your delivery match up, so you aren’t sending mixed signals. Thankfully, we know our best is never good enough and God takes our weakness and uses it for his glory and others’ good. But that isn’t an excuse to not prepare or not value the hearers by giving your best. God uses us and never tells us to slouch, instead he calls and empowers us to our potential in Jesus. He has given you gifts and influence opportunities, grab onto them. Conviction starts by giving your best to understand and grasp the life-changing truths of God’s word. Then that conviction inspires those who are hearing when we embody the message as we teach.

We start with conviction, but we must get clarity or we will likely say many true things, but not with the laser focus needed. That is post #2. Look for it later this week.

Feeling Overwhelmed? One solution is to Delegate better

At a recent staff meeting we focused on the developing the skill of delegation.  I wanted to share the helpful thoughts from the time below.

 

5 Thoughts on Delegation by Mike Hansen

  1. Acknowledge your limits
  2. Determine Priorities
  3. Train Other Leaders
  4. Keep your ego out of the way 
  5. Accept responsibility

 

How to Become a Great Delegator (discussion around table)

  • Know the vision
  • Model what you expect of others
  • Ask what can I delegate?
  • Give Clear Expectations 
  • Create planned feedback loops
  • Know when to let someone fail for their good/learning proces
  • Remember its all about people.  Don’t become so focused on the task that you forget its about people

Perception is Significant in our Culture

In our culture first impressions are important.  A medium size business came by my house today and handed me a flyer that had clearly been copied multiple times.  If this was a start company I could somewhat understand that.  But what would I pay thousands of dollars for an established company to build a deck in my back yard when they don’t pay attention the the small details of presenting themselves well?  If they can’t take the time to make a paper flyer look clean, why would I assume they will do the small things on a much bigger project.  I am sure it would have taken them a few more minutes to print an original to a machine, but they decided not to and simply send one of their young workers out the door with a badly copied advertisement for their product.

 

Here is my takeaway.  People pay attention to the small stuff.  Especially if you are a younger employee or intern, pay attention to the small stuff.  Whether we realize it or not, everyone around is constantly “pinging” us in every conversation, interaction and meeting to see if we are trustworthy and competent.  Normally this happens subconsciously, but when we fail to do the small things well it starts to happen on a conscious level.  Once team members, family members and bosses perceive we aren’t reliable or trustworthy, we have to work twice as hard to get their trust and respect back.  Don’t live in fear and get caught being a slave to peoples’ perceptions.  Don’t live your life as a people pleaser or you won’t really live.  

Be someone who is solid enough on the inside that you live a life where you are constantly doing the small stuff well.  If you do enough small stuff well, it adds up.

How to BurnOut

I have experienced burnout on more than one occasion. At least once, it was combined with a medium depression where I struggled to get out of bed.  I was exhausted physically, I had neglected myself in seeking to take care of others.  Here is how I would coach someone to succeed in burning out as a leader, and especially as a pastor-leader.

1. Don’t rest

2. Harbor resentment

3. Be driven to find your value in approval or accomplishment

4. Lead in your own strength

5. Magnify your struggles and minimize Christ 

6. Be too busy for friends or fun

7. Stop taking care of yourself because you are too busy taking care of others

8.  Live re-actively with your schedule and calendar

9. Don’t pay attention to the warning lights and make adjustments

10. Ignore your emotions.  Don’t ask what they are telling you, just push through them.

Good Strategy Thoughts

Richard Rumelt writes a piercing work on the essential need for good strategy and the overwhelming failure by many leaders and organizations to do the hard work of not only developing goals, but a strategy to reach them.  One of his main premises which I found helpful, is his argument that most organizations develop strategic goals but not actual tangible plans to reach them.  When this happens we identify the end-zone, but we don’t identify the playbook we are running to get there.  We identify the destination, but we do not map out the route that will help us arrive there.  Here are some of the key thoughts from his book on what makes good strategy.

  • Good strategy doesn’t ignore challenges the team/organization is facing
  • Good strategy sees the core influencing factors on a situation
  • Good strategy is cohesive in response
  • Good strategy focuses energy and resources
  • Good strategy involves diagnosis, a guiding policy and coherent action
  • Good strategy creates strength through coherence of design
  • Good strategy builds a bridge between a problem and action
  • Good strategy can create shifts in viewpoints to better understand and respond to a situation

Here is a link to Richard’s book, Good Strategy, Bad Strategy 

Questions for reflection|

  1. Does your team or organization have direction/goals?
  2. Does your team/organization have a strategy?
  3. Does your strategy acknowledge a challenge?
  4. Is your strategy including all the influencing factors?
  5. Why is it hard for you to do the work to develop a strategy and not just goals?

7 Cultural Patterns

In an article on Cultural Change, the authors list the four building block levers of organizational DNA as:

  1. Decision Rights
  2. Information
  3. Motivators
  4. Structure

“The four building blocks-both independently and in the way they interact–define an organization and largely determine how it will function and perform (Strategic Finance, pg. 12, 2006).”

They then describe the 7 typical cultural patterns they find in most organizations.  Below is an infographic that captures these patterns. 

Image

 

Q-What is defining your organizational culture?

Q-Is your organizational or team culture what you want it to be?

Q-What do you need to change to better create thriving organizational culture?

 

Chehade, G., Mendes, D., & Mitchell, D. (2006). Culture Change for the Analytical Mind. Strategic Finance, 87(12), 11-15.