When I was a young pastor I was a firebrand, a go-getter who wasn’t going to let anything or anyone get in my way.
I was ambitious, on a mission and when push came to shove I was your guy.
While this often got the job done it came with a price. Success made me arrogant and I often lacked a ‘people first’ focus.
Arrogance is not going to help you grow a healthy church.
How did I change?
Well, the Lord has His ways of affecting deep change in my heart and one of those primary ways was feedback.
My mentor and spiritual father Dr Frank Hultgren would often talk to me about the need to put ‘people first’. He was an outstanding apostolic leader who shaped my approach to ministry. He was also an old school pastor who knew that pastoring was a ‘people first’ endeavour.
During my formative years, Frank would call me into his office for ‘ a chat’, for some feedback.
This truth from Ken Blanchard helped me embrace this often confronting process.
Feedback is the breakfast of champions”
Here’s some good reasons to give feedback
Clarity: people know where they stand and how they are doing
Perspective: feedback helps people discover their strengths and weaknesses
Improves self-awareness: when your feedback aligns with what leaders see in themselves it helps them realise they are growing in their self-awareness
Encouragement: people get boosted by your encouraging feedback
Training: opportunities abound in feedback to amplify training
People want it: The Harvard Business Review chart below shows us that people tend to avoid giving negative feedback but people prefer to receive negative feedback
How to give feedback
When the issue is significant prepare your feedback ahead of time and refuse to do it on the fly.
Make it a safe place
Be an active listener and watch for silence or ‘violence’ responses.
Use the 3 x 1 method
Tell people three things they did well and one thing they could improve.
Ask them first
Before you give your 3 x 1 feedback ask them for three things they did well and one thing they could improve.
The aim is continuous improvement so always accentuate that framework rather than an approach that is more of a critique.
For instance, instead of saying “your stories lack punch” say “don’t read your story, tell it and add pregnant pauses as you feel the church responding”. Specificity will increase clarity which will lead to continuous improvement.
Address behaviour not the motive
It’s impossible to know a person’s motives but you can observe behaviour and give feedback on what they did even though you don’t know the why behind the what.
Follow up phone call
If the feedback has been tough then call the next day and ask “how are you going?”
Who gives you feedback? Seek out feedback for your own development and your leaders will be more willing to receive it from you.
There you have it, the insider’s guide on how to give feedback.