Stay in the Middle

Being a Family Pastor bring a lot of happiness to my life. I love building teams and engaging fresh thoughts and new ideas. I also know t...

Being a Family Pastor bring a lot of happiness to my life. I love building teams and engaging fresh thoughts and new ideas. I also know that building teams where authentic conversation and debate take place is one of the hardest things to accomplish. You have to put it into the DNA from the beginning and generating those conversations is tough. Disagreement, for most people, is not a comfortable thing to engage in. Its not disagreement that you want though. It’s honest and open feedback that should be the goal. If that leads to disagreement then ok, lets leverage it to make the best decision possible.

One of the most important things you can do to create this culture as the leader is to Stay in the Middle! You cannot allow your personal bias to sway the conversation. If you are the most powerful person in the room then you cannot leverage that to see your side of the discussion come out on top. Your job is to guide the conversation to stay productive. When you assert your influence, whether intentionally or unintentionally, people will often walk away feeling manipulated and angry. This will not produce the results you are going for. People don’t want to engage in discussion about an important topic only to walk away and feel like the decision was made before they had a say.

There is an impression out there that opening the topic up for debate creates “buy in”, but it doesn’t it creates bitterness! In my experience leaders would rather have it told to them than feel as though their time was wasted. The best leaders in your organization well have a heightened awareness to this fact. Let the discussion take hold and don’t have a predetermined outcome. Stay in the middle and see what happens in you meetings and discussions.

Here are 3 tips to help you remain in the middle.

Be quiet – for some reason we all have this need to talk. Especially us who lead in larger capacities, but we have to let the tension play itself out. The decision needs to be unpacked and talked about. Allow that to happen. Guide the talks and make sure that tempers are not flaring too badly, but don’t take over. You will be amazed what happens if you step back and let you leadership talk it through. If you always have to be heard they will lean towards saying what you want to hear!! Don’t be afraid to let the tension happen. The tension is good. It will bring balance to a room if you let it.

Help both sides - I know this sounds crazy, but as a leader you have an idea of what you would like the decision to be, but don’t play to that. The person or people in the room that see it from a different perspective need to be and feel valued. So don’t let incorrect facts and bad information guide the discussion because it may go the way you think is best. That is manipulation in its finest form. Give the correct info to guide the talk so the best decision can be made. You could be wrong, and if your not then let them come to that conclusion in the context of discussion not false information.

Encourage Debate – for the most part leaders that serve under you are not going to sit in a room and feel completely comfortable arguing. They do not know how that will be received and so they are going to caution on the side of staying out of it. So when things get heated, not personal, but heated and you encourage that kind of passion it will go a long way towards making leaders opinions feel welcomed and valued. The best perspective in the room can sometimes be the perspective you never hear because they did not want to ruffle feathers. Encourage the feathers to be ruffled. That will create a team that has open and honest dialogue.

I know there are far more seasoned leaders on this subject. Can you help me out? What would you add to these tips?

You Might Also Like