When You Don’t Communicate…

Recently I was talking with a staff member of a larger church. She consistently fears the stability of her job. She never knows what her pastor is thinking. She’s considering looking for a new position, not because she doesn’t like her work, but because she isn’t sure about the future of her work. She claims that living with uncertainty is the standard when working on this church staff.

I’ve learned over the years that communication is one of the most important aspects of the field of leadership. In fact, it may be the thing that makes or breaks a leader’s success.

When a leader fails to communicate, it actually communicates a great deal to the organization. Unfortunately, it’s not always an encouraging message. The unknown invites people to create their own scenarios, which rarely turns out well for the leader, the team, or the organization.

Failing to communicate says to the people on your team:

You don’t care – You are apathetic towards the emotional and practical needs of people on your team.

You don’t know -You may not be brave enough to say so, but, don’t worry, others are probably saying it for you.

You can’t decide – Your team thinks that you’re incapable of making a decision, either because you’re afraid of people’s reactions or you’re not a strong enough leader to make a decision.

You don’t value – Your silence produces perhaps the most dangerous scenario when people believe you don’t think they are worthy of knowing. Put yourself in their shoes and see how that one feels.

What’s the bottom line?

Communicate through a decision.

Keep people informed along the way.

Any questions?

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13 thoughts on “When You Don’t Communicate…

  1. Communication, or lack thereof, often gets over-looked until it becomes a problem. That's why there is such a need for solid communication upfront!

    Of all your points, the one that hits home most with me is "you can't decide." 90 percent of the time, I can decide. But in those moments when I feel stuck making a decision, that's when I have a tendency to hold my cards to close to my chest.

    Bottom line, like you said, it's important to "communicate through a decision."

    Good stuff, Ron!

  2. People fail to communicate when they think the employees are not worthy enough to receive the message. I have seen even families and marriages come to ruin simply because of poor / negligent communication. To me, communication is the life blood of any relationship.

  3. Well ole' Kat has got to weigh in here because this is one of the very important things you have posted since I was alerted to you blog by my once-upon-a-time boss who attends your church. I'm not sure what leadeship courses are taught in seminary but they could do well to give everyoe a copy of the old One Minute Manager and do follow ups. Communicate clearly and often, good and bad and the staff will appreciate it. With 43 people in my office I want all them to make me look good. And I get that by making them look good and heading trouble off at the pass, and quickly. Almost everyone is comfortable when they know where they stand with their job. Thank you for the daily dose. Kathryn Manning.

    • Thanks Kathryn. I've moved, so it may be my old church, but appreciate your boss pointing you this way. 🙂
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  4. This is all so important on many levels…whether in the workplace, church, school, home, etc. As a new parent of a 7-month-old, I see communication in a completely different way. I see it as so basic when I'm "talking" (ooh-ahhs) to my little boy to serious discussions with my husband to everyday convos with my parents (whom I'm very close to) to the talks with my in-laws. It's all just so important, and I think it's something we all should continue to polish. 🙂 Thanks for a great post, Ron! Hope KY is treatin' y'all well!