mgpcpastor's blog

Don’t Surprise More Than Necessary (via Gavin Ortlund)

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In a post containing five leadership lessons by Gavin Ortlund, I found this one about communicating when change is going happen sums up a lot of principles I use.
It’s about showing respect, building consensus, and avoiding misunderstanding.

Don’t surprise more than necessary.
People don’t like unpleasant surprises. We know this in principle — but how easy it is to forget in practice! We rarely over-communicate, but frequently under-communicate. It is almost instinctive, when we are up in the cockpit flying the plane, to forget to give regular updates to the passengers. But a well-timed “heads up” can do wonders for maintaining harmony and trust throughout the group.

A good leader learns the value of sentences that begin like this:

  • “So you are not surprised when it happens, I want to let you know in advance . . .”
  • “Just as a reminder, to make sure we are all on the same page . . .”
  • “I want to give you an update on the progress since our last meeting so you’re not in the dark . . .”

Here are some practical ways to make sure communication doesn’t slip through the cracks:

  • At the end of every meeting, or every major policy decision, ask the question: “Who would benefit from being informed of our conversation?” And then appoint someone to do the communication.
  • Before announcing a big change or decision publicly, do the hard work of communicating privately as much as is appropriate. Meet with people one-on-one to win them over and build consensus.

Read the whole post at Desiring God.

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