This week on LifeWay's Pastors Blog, a helpful article on why pastors should ask for feedback and welcome critique came out. One of the hardest things in leadership is deliberately exposing yourself to potentially negative feedback. As a leader, you'll get plenty of feedback without asking for it! But beyond the comments, anonymous letters, and vanilla "nice job pastor," it can be difficult to know where to get feedback. That's where your younger leaders, ministry staff, proteges, and other emerging leaders come into play. Yes, I'm asking you lead pastors to get feedback from your youth minister in his 20's, I'm asking you to get feedback from your worship leader, I'm asking you to get input from the people you serve alongside.
It validates those second chair leaders - It can be tough being a second chair leader (someone who has leadership responsibility but without the authority of the lead role). But when you as a leader solicit feedback and value the opinion of your second chairs, you're elevating them, validating their capacity as a leader, and encouraging them. Nothing can deflate a second chair more than having their opinion or perspective blown off by their leader.
It gives fresh perspective - Many older lead pastors serve on a multigenerational team, and soliciting feedback from those who are younger than you can help you navigate the channels of Millennials, can help you see how your message is being received by a changing audience, and keep you abreast on trends, technology, and new avenues for communication. Sometimes you see the same thing so many times you don't even realize what's wrong. Fresh perspective fixes that.
It keeps you humble - Soliciting feedback isn't necessarily "throwing yourself to the wolves" but you are exposing yourself to constructive critique. It's important to handle this feedback with humility and grace. Those around you want you to succeed. They want to see a healthy ministry. And when you solicit this feedback, you realize it's not all about you. That's healthy for a leader. It keeps us from thinking our success comes from us.
Your credibility multiplies - This goes with the first point about validating those leaders. When you engage in honest conversation, asking for honest feedback, and listening to the perspectives of those around you, your leadership credibility goes up like a rocket! Leaders in the church only have the ability to influence others based on their credibility, and when you invest in those around you and let them help shape the vision, you'd be surprised at their willingness to chase that vision. When you shut out those around you or don't seek their honest feedback (too many leaders spend their time soliciting pats on the back rather than honest assessment), don't be surprised when they're less than excited about the vision.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.