Development-The Fine Art of Telling People They Suck

I work in an environment of development. What does that mean? It means that almost every conversation that goes on is about how to be better. How to be a better pastor, a better communicator, a better organizer, a better connector. How do we make our teams better? How can we do what we did last year better? It is a constant thought and something that really propels the ministry forward.Development

The hard part is when it comes to development of people. As leaders, developing people is a fine line one must walk across. I have been in dozens of conversations surrounding the “development” of another individual.

“If they would just not do this, then…”

“If they knew how they were around people, don’t you think they’d…”

“That person… they have no clue.”

But in the back of my mind I can’t help but think: If we are leading these people should’ve we give them a clue? If I was the individual, and my leader knew something that could help me, I would want to know, wouldn’t you? I mean, if it’s our job as leaders to develop and help others become better as we allow others to help us become better, shouldn’t we be saying something? Should we, in love, be bringing some kind of self-awareness to certain individuals who display a lack of development? This is tough. I mean, you can’t just walk up to someone and point out their flaws.

I’ve observed both the positive and negative outcomes of this fine art of development and have come to understand at least two things. When you’re in a position to bring about development in someone you must first:

  • Establish a trusting relationship with that person. Your title alone will not help you in the tediousness of the conversation. You must build a healthy, trusting relationship before you have the permission to say anything.

The second observation I’ve made is that:

  • It takes time. Don’t expect to see a change in someone over night. When you bring awareness to someone it will take time for it to fully take root. Development is an oven not a microwave.

Above all, I have understood that you can’t really develop someone unless they WANT to be developed. They have to possess a teachable heart and a willingness to learn. They have to be willing to lay down their pride and admit they don’t know everything.

What a better place to find those traits in practice, than in the people who lead them.

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