By Scott Thomas:
Communication is one of the most important keys of starting and leading a church. I have learned these communication principles the hard way. My father was not a good example for how to communicate, nor was any of the pastors that I worked for in my early years. So, when I became the chief communicator of the churches where I was pastor, it did not come intuitively. Below are seven principles about communication I have learned.
1. Never communicate in anger.
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). An angry outrage hinders communication and hurts relationships.
2. Never correct by email. [PJ: I’d add, or text messaging or facebook!]
Use email to communicate, collaborate and clarify and never to correct. Never. Use the phone or face to face so that they can hear your tone, compassion and genuine concern for them. I only write emails that can be shared publicly.
3. Never communicate more than one layer up or down the organizational structure.
If you want other leaders to lead with effectiveness in their areas of responsibility, communicate only one layer up or one layer down. Work through other leaders and let them communicate to the appropriate people in the organization. Lazy (or arrogant) leaders skip this process. Information should cascade to the right people in the right order.
4. Never communicate a major decision publicly before communicating it privately to key leaders.
When other leaders in the organization hear about decisions made that they had no knowledge about, it diminishes their ability to lead the people in their domain and it disrespects their role. We cannot expect our key people to buy into a decision if they have not had a chance to weigh in on the decision.
5. Never communicate unconfirmed data.
If we want to be taken seriously by others, we cannot exaggerate the truth or interchange speculation as fact. “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Matt. 5:37).
6. Never assume that previous communication is clear enough.
People need information repeated regularly. Over communicating ideas, vision, mission, goals and strategies is necessary. So are procedures, principles and practices.
7. Never miss a chance to communicate the gospel implications of grace, truth, mercy, compassion, justice and redemption.