By Rick Calcutt
Steve Jobs, Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, and Jack Welch. All successful. Very visionary and competitive leaders. And every one with a well-documented reputation of raising their voices—strongly. Yes, they yelled, and it was a big part of their style.
Turn to ESPN any evening and you will find famous coaches from every sport yelling at their teams. You’ve seen it—coaches in full voice, commanding attention and getting results. They would say that their yelling inspired their athletes to great performances.
And of course, there’s the military. We’ve all probably experienced a TV episode or movie depicting a trainer yelling profusely at a soldier during boot camp. An in-the-face confrontation demanding correct behavior—immediately.
This type of behavior and volume is quite understandable and accepted in the above-mentioned cultures. But that’s not the world we live in, is it? We live in the church ministry world.
And even if the cause for yelling is the same as in the corporate world, sport’s arena, or worship center, I have not found yelling to be productive in the latter.
Leadership is not about yelling at people. Yelling doesn’t accomplish anything and usually does more harm than good. It’s neither a benefit for you or the receiver.
Mistakes are going to happen. Productive processes will be thwarted. But there are better ways to keep your ministry team on track and productive without you getting all worked up. So how do you deal with disagreements and imperatives without the volume?
Here’s what I’ve found helps me keep my voice low and my team’s productivity up.
Yes, look in the mirror first before you let your blood pressure soar. If you find the mistake came from unclear communication, fix that first.
Screaming at someone out of your frustration might get their attention, but it won’t get their respect.
As a leader, my job is to teach them to influence each other through respectful debate, dialogue, and communication.
And be an example. Have the guts to walk down the hall to communicate.
Be a Leader
As a leader, you must be strong. Be firm and clear. Communicate your feelings and expectations clearly—with respect. Voice your disappointments with honesty. And you will gain respect in return. You may also see mistakes down and productivity up.
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