Communicate to Prevent Conflict Before It Starts
Have you ever arrived at a campsite after dark with a new, untested tent to assemble? This happened to my husband and me a few years ago. Now we know our tent well enough that we could put it up in the dark, but at that time it was real challenge!
Failing to adequately provide all the information and details to church leaders and members, especially during times of change and transition, is like leaving them to assemble a tent without lighting. They may experience heightened confusion, uncertainty, or anxiety. They will feel ‘in the dark’ about what’s going on.
What’s even worse is that people, without information, tend to make up on their own story to explain what’s happening. This leads to misinformation, rumors and chaos.
Many of us don’t think about the importance of communicating information completely, clearly, and frequently to our people. Yet, emotionally intelligent pastors do just that. They communicate clearly, completely, and concisely. This helps members to feel informed and part of the process, contributing to greater likelihood of engagement and participation.
Lack of adequate communication can, therefore, increase negativity and push back when you're trying to move forward. When we don’t fully inform people of coming changes and new projects or missions they may feel left out, unimportant and more anxious. This can lead to disengagement rather than engagement. People may even question whether we're hiding something from them and become mistrustful.
Even when we have fully communicated, people may still not grasp the entirety of our message. Repetition is necessary. The communication also needs to be clear and concise to avoid confusion. Even then, people will still ask questions that we thought were answered!
The moral of the story: turn on the light! Communicate clearly and completely about the vision, goals, new projects, and changes. It will help create a sense of shared vision and teamwork, encouraging others to participate and involve themselves.
Clear, complete, and concise communication will help prevent some conflict before it starts!