Pastor Todd cringed inside as a parishioner offered a brief critique of his recent sermon.
The comments were not mean-spirited nor overly critical. They just weren’t, well, glowing.
Todd eventually realized, though, that his discomfort with any feedback other than “Amazing!” revealed himself as a thin-skinned, insecure leader. (His words, not mine, by the way.)[i]
We all need feedback to perform our best in such skills as preaching. I would go a lot further than that, actually, and say that from time-to-time, we need feedback about all aspects of our life and work!
Feedback from others provides essential information we need to grow in our own personal insight. We cheat ourselves of growth opportunities when we allow insecurities to make us defensive and deaf to the perspectives of others.
In fact, the really strong among us not only accept feedback but seek it out!
Pastor Todd now preaches three times on Sunday and has a team that gives him feedback about his first sermon on Sunday morning so that he can improve his delivery in the next two services.
Here are three general questions I’ve found helpful in seeking feedback from others in regard to my leadership. (They could be adapted for asking others about your preaching but in reality they apply to just about anything.)
1. What should I stop doing?
2. What should I continue doing?
3. What should I start doing?
One additional thought: consider asking your spouse for feedback. Spouses tend to give really honest answers! Of course, with spouses and everyone else, be prepared to remain non-defensive and thankful for whatever perspective they provide.
Finally, don’t forget to journal concerning the feedback you receive. Journaling provides an excellent, structured way for you to process and benefit from the perspectives of others. You may find my brief guide, Journal for Insight, useful.
Listen, learn, grow!