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I woke up Sunday morning startled by the voices of my kids. I’d just gotten in town from a two day speaking event the night before. When I went to bed, I was under the impression my kids were going to church with their small group leader, so my heart was set on sleeping in and and attending our evening service. But, their cheerful voices were telling me otherwise. They indicated my boys were hovering in our living room, expecting me to walk out of our bedroom door to say, “Alright, are you guys ready?” As I pulled myself into a vertical position, frustration travelled up my spine. They had changed their plans without telling me….and now they were going to expect me to do their bidding without warning! My feet wanted to stomp into that living room and give them a piece of my mind, but thankfully my little friend, Self-control spoke up, “Sharie. You’re panicked and confused but your kids aren’t. They’re both in great moods. Find your calm and be calm as you find out what in the world is going on.”
Five minutes later, my eyes were staring at me in my bathroom mirror giving me a pep-talk, “There’s no way you’re going to hide those red, puffy eyes, so make the best use of the next twenty minutes. Slather something on your face, fix your hair and get your and four boys in that car.” A little foundation eased my tired eyes, but my dry shampoo refused to do its job, so I grabbed a hat and headed toward the car. “Boys, we’re leaving in five minutes so take your vitamins and let’s load up!” As I passed the kitchen, my super-sweet Jacob complimented me, “You look cute mom!” I said thank you, but thought, “Maybe on the outside, but my heart looks frazzled and frustrated. I hate feeling rushed”
Sometimes hectic can’t be helped, but many times the chaos is a sign that we need to take time to problem solve. My tires were spinning toward church when I realized this was a problem solving situation for me. As a mom, I’d become used to MAKING PLANS FOR my kids, but in an effort to express their independence, they were starting to MAKE PLANS FOR ME. Our miscommunication was creating a mountain of assumptions adding an element of unpredicted chaos. This I realized I was entering a new season as a mom. If I wanted to lessen frustration, I needed to teach our family to make plans WITH each other instead of FOR each other.
Miscommunication in leadership not only has the propensity to create chaos in your organization, but can also steal your momentum and focus. If we want to lead well, we have to eliminate confusion by addressing assumptions. Here are three ways we can do this:
1. Create space to communicate: When we make plans, our brains clearly understand what we want and how we want to get there. However, the people we are leading can’t read our minds. Even your most pro-active self starter can’t implement your vision unless you take the time to sit down, spell it out and plan it out. Clear communication eliminates unknown expectations.
. Questions are inevitable and useful: In the past, I’ve made the mistake of interpreting people’s questions as criticism. But come to understand excellent followers ask excellent questions because they not only want to get the job done, but they also want to do it well. Here are three ways leaders can lead their team in better communication:
- Take time to predict confusion and what questions might arise.
- Research solutions to those questions.
- Ask your team questions to ensure they understand your expectations.
- Stay open to ideas other than our own…because if you’ve hired a good team, they should have some great ideas.
3. Learn to calmly handle chaos and apologize when needed:Assumptions and miscommunications are inevitable. I don’t like messing up or making mistakes because it’s just, plain embarrassing. But, I’ve learned apologies don’t mean I’m are weak; they mean I’m not perfect. I’ve also learned that an apology earns you more respect than denying an existing problem or demanding respect to cover up a deficiency. Followers respect a humble, but confident leader.
In my last blog, I wrote, “Leading isn’t meant to be easy; it’s a job full of refinement and responsibility…As a leader, we cannot give up on becoming mature and complete because there are people watching us. They need to know that perseverance has value. They need to have faith not to give up.”
We all mess up, but God will pick us up. I hope this blog has encouraged you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue, and please know I will be praying you will move forward until we talk again next week.
Sharie’s newest book came out in July 2017. In I Love You More (Except When I Don’t), author and speaker Sharie King shares the common struggle women have in yearning to love Jesus more and yet, feeling incapable as they try. Telling personal stories and teaching Scripture throughout, Sharie challenges women to set aside striving and embrace God’s way of grace instead. She’ll not only encourage you that you can love Jesus more; she’ll show you how.