Good leaders have strong opinions.
And they should.
But our decisions should be guided by the mission, not by our opinions.
This is especially true in church leadership. The importance of Christ’s mission should be communicated in everything we do and say. Including in subtle cues that often remain under the surface.
The Importance Of Saying “No”
One of the most important aspects of leadership is the courage to recognize and stop bad ideas so that better ideas can thrive. Saying “no” is hard. If it’s done badly it can lower a team’s morale, and even lose good people.
But it must be done. So it’s essential that we learn how to do it well.
Unfortunately, one of the easiest and most common ways we express our disagreement with a new idea is also one of the worse.
Saying “I don’t like that” is one of the fastest ways to kill innovation and stifle a church’s mission – especially when it’s said by the person in the lead position. In a church, that’s usually the pastor.
Here are five reasons “I don’t like that” (or something similar) should be banished from the vocabulary of every leader.
Saying “I don’t like that”...
1. …makes it more about the leader than the mission
Good leaders never make their decisions based on personal preference. They make decisions based on the mission. “What are we trying to do and how well will this idea get us there?” is all that matters.
The reason we don’t like something may, in fact, be because it doesn’t move the mission forward. If so, we need to say it that way. When we phrase our disagreement as if it’s a personal preference, we subtly divert the attention of our team members away from the mission and towards us.
When we use phrases like “I like...” or “I don’t like...” team members will start trying to appease the leader instead of striving to make the team better.
Every decision should be about the mission. What’s right. What works. Not what we like or don’t like.
Save your personal preferences for how you take your coffee.
2. …slows the flow of good ideas
When the opinions of the team leader are expressed in a personal way – even unintentionally – it makes everyone pause before offering any idea that might be too new or on the fringes. And it makes some people stop expressing themselves at all.