A couple of young guys made an appointment and came to my office recently to pitch me an idea for a new ministry they hope to start. They had been told I have a passion to empower people to follow their dreams and callings. I instantly loved their heart and the new ministry, but what intrigued me was how nervous they were making the presentation. I understand, because any kind of presentation like can be nerve-racking, and we are a large church, but I’m also their pastor. It made me wonder if I had ever done anything to make them nervous about approaching me. I concluded that it was just the situation, and not our relationship, but it caused a healthy reflection for me for other areas of my leadership.
It forced me to ask how the people on our staff…the people I work with everyday…the ones I call a “team” feel about approaching me with an idea, an issue, or even a criticism or concern. That’s one reason I periodically ask our team this question as part of an annual evaluation process. (Read about that process HERE.)
In my opinion, if you are a leader, the way the people you lead approach you says much about the quality of that leadership.
Here are 7 questions to consider about the way people approach you as a leader:
- Do they feel the need to gather support from others before they approach you?
- Have they begun to expect an immediate “no” answer?
- Are they overly and obviously nervous during the approach?
- Do they lose sleep the night before talking to you?
- Do they make a dozen disclaimers before they tell you what they have to say?
- Do they only tell you part of the story?
- Do they think they have to barter with you for your support?
Granted, there will always be tension when approaching “the boss”, but one of our roles as leaders should be to level the playing field enough and build healthy relationships with the people we lead so they are comfortable approaching us when needed. It provides accountability, healthy environments, and keeps us from becoming egotistical.
Reminder: That type relationship doesn’t develop overnight or simply by telling people not to be nervous. It develops over a season where trust is earned and respect is warranted.
Are there any other questions you would add to my list?
(Don’t be afraid or nervous to add to my questions…)