Ever say something you wish you could take back? Sure. Everyone has. Whether it’s something we regret saying to a spouse, to a child, to a friend, or in the workplace to a coworker. Everybody has said something they wish they could go back and say differently…or…not say at all.
Wise church leaders understand the power their words have to shape culture and as a result craft them carefully.
Leaders Don’t Say Everything They See
Just because God has allowed you to see it doesn’t mean you need to say it. You may see things that need to improve. You may see where the church needs to go in the future. You may see team members that need to change. But wise church leaders don’t say everything they see. They say what people can handle. They say what people need to hear in order to help them move in the direction they need to go.
Leaders Understand Their Whisper Is a Shout
The words of a leader have an inordinate amount of weight to them. If you’re a leader then your whisper becomes a shout very quickly. Similar to the power a father’s words have to a family. Wise church leaders understand the power and weight of their words and they are selective about how they use their words.
Leaders Kill Hallway Conversations
When leaders get in the habit of having passing hallway conversations they unintentionally build a culture of misalignment, competition, and create a bottleneck for decision making. Hallway conversations train your team that every decision needs to go through you. Worse hallway conversations create an environment where people go to you for a decision before a meeting and then walk into a meeting and say, “Well, I spoke to the leader and they said this…” Wise church leaders redirect hallway conversations to the right people and the right environments for decisions to be made.
Leaders Don’t Speak to Everyone the Same Way
If you’re a parent, you get this. Just like you don’t talk to each of your kids the same way, you don’t talk to everyone on your team the same way either. Leaders also don’t speak to every audience the same way. A wise church leader learns to say the same ideas out loud to different audiences, such as the church board, their Senior Leadership Team, the church staff, volunteers, and the whole church with a different voice.
Many of us are not aware of how powerful our words are and how they affect the people around us. The best church leaders I’ve ever been around understand this, and they exercise discipline with their words.