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Should I be open to correction from those I am leading?

Healthy Leaders

Should I be open to correction from those I am leading?

So here I am, 63 years old, having been in ministry for 45 years ‒ since I was a teenager. I’m sharing a 10-hour drive to Bible conference with a young lad who is buying all the gas. He goes on and on about biblical languages, citing authorities unknown to me. After about 20 minutes of his discourse, I finally tell him he needs to take a breath and let others participate…

He listens to my correction for about 30 seconds before his eyes seem to brim with tears and he points out that the night before, I had so dominated the conversation with his guests that they had simply had to postpone their meeting.

What a shock! Why hadn’t he said something that evening? Why did he wait? I know that I talk too much and too long. Why did he permit me to embarrass myself with my own rude and obnoxious rant?

Should I be more open to correction? How can I invite it? How can I become more approachable in order to receive help from those who are younger than me, or those who I am leading?

Please share your relevant experience(s) or wisdom in the comments below.

Answers from the Community

  • Alex Anderson

    Depends on the topic

    • Jim Brenneman

      How can I be more open to it? How can I get people to stop being polite as I am doing something that is hurtful to others or embarrassing myself?

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      • Deb Brazzel

        As we all know, leaders set the tone in organizations. If this is something you want more of for yourself and others, then I would suggest modeling it for them. Start by giving them permission to give you feedback…that you need it in order to grow. When someone does risk saying something you can reinforce you sincerity by making mention of the value you placed on the feedback and the person who provided it. Consider saying something in a staff meeting. I would not make a big deal out of it, but I would tie it to something you were discussing or working on as a team…something like, “and thanks to Jim for helping me see (fill in the blank).” I would also privately let “Jim” know how much you appreciated his feedback. Good luck and God speed on creating a more open and honest work environment!

  • Guest

    Humility is a key to being open to correction. We must be able to humble ourselves to others. That means we need to be quickly ready to say, “Yes I was wrong and I want to fix it. . .”

    Honesty will be the outflow of humility. We will not be strutting around with a false front of phony confidence. If I am afraid, or if I am in the throes of depression, or if I am uncertain about my direction – If I am involved in know personal challenges, then I will be desperate for the help that God has provided in others who are around me, whether they are my peers or underlings.

    Honor – that means we must believe that God has placed others in our lives who can hear His voice as well as we can. We need to honor them and respect them so that we can receive input from them. They need to know that we honor them and respect them, or they will quietly let us go on our merry way, with our shirt buttoned crookedly.

  • Patty Katzer

    Yes, if the leader had already built the cultural framework of respect and humility that would prevent unhealthy exploitation of his openness.

  • Ngallendou Dièye

    When you invite a guest into your group, s/he will come with notions that may not match your expectations. So, please, give a few minutes to explain, in advance, your group’s wishes and communication style.
    I was once invited as a guest expert to come answer questions that a group had. However, they asked no questions. To alleviate silence, I began making observations about the subject. Pause. Still no questions. Allowed time done.
    Later, their leader sent me a scathing note about my insensitivity, my waste of their time, my incessant talking, and I was never asked again.
    Upon reflection, I realized that (a) they were waiting for me to ask them to pose their queries, (b) they were more comfortable with moments of silence than was I, (c) they were showing me more respect than what I deserved, (d) I had an agenda of things I wanted to say.
    All of that complicated by a cultural shift that had occurred during our 30-year age difference.

    • Jim Brenneman

      The observation about how we are often UNCOMFORTABLE WITH SILENCE is significant. We are often so busy making noise with our face that we can’t here what others are saying. And often what they “say” is without words. Somehow I must become more observant and a better listener. And I must pay attention to those polite little coughs that are telling me to be quiet.

  • Guest

    I’ve listened to the Proverbs recently, and I know the answers to this subject (for all of us, to be clear) are found there. But this theme is also found there:

    “Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.” (Prov 9:8)

    “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” (Prov 17:10)

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