Trust Building 103: Demonstrate Competence

(Note: This is the fourth article in a series on the topic Building Trust to Stop Conflict Before It Starts.)

People trust and follow leaders they view as competent.

In simple terms, if your parishioners don’t believe you know what you are doing, they will be less likely to trust and more likely to criticize or conflict with you.

So, it pays to demonstrate competence.

If only it were that easy!

No one of us is fully competent or has mastered all there is to know when it comes to leading people. For clergy, the ever-changing social-cultural context of ministry in America today (and in other parts of the world, too, I imagine) create a never-ending list of new skills to master and new challenges to overcome.

How to succeed? It is essential to commit to lifelong personal, professional and spiritual growth.

You don’t have to know it all but you do have to be growing.

Mastering the habit of lifelong learning and professional growth and letting others know of your continual learning makes the statement:

“I don’t know it all and therefore I’m interested in learning all I can so that I can be the best leader possible for you and this congregation.”

Committing to a lifestyle of continual development also requires what Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University calls a “growth mindset”.  According to her, those who demonstrate a growth mindset believe that with persistence and training they can develop whatever skills they need to improve in any area.

Those with a “fixed mindset” actually believe that their intelligence is static; therefore, they tend to avoid new challenges, give up easily, see learning efforts as fruitless, ignore useful negative feedback and are reluctant to try new training and education. Growth is not an option.

However, Scripture abounds with exhortations to grow!

Commit to the habit of continual learning and embrace a growth mindset, believing that emotional, spiritual, and professional growth can be obtained.  The more you embrace a growth mindset the more you will begin to see and be open to everyday opportunities for growth!

Here’s a challenge: what training opportunities are you currently engaged in or planning to engage in this year? If you don’t have at least one, begin the process of searching for opportunities that will be most beneficial for you.

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