Avoiding the truth about ourselves and others

It’s ironic to me that in church-world where honesty is inherent we have such a difficult time telling the truth to ourselves and to those around us. Very few churches that I’m aware of have built a culture of or even simply have a plan to do evaluation well. My experience has shown me that the majority of people on staff or in a high level leadership role in the church are afraid of evaluation. Maybe it’s more convenient or simply easier to keep our head in a hole. But our lack of courage to take an honest look in the mirror does nothing to help us become more effective in reaching a lost world for Christ. Socrates said it this way, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So here are a couple of reasons why we run from doing the work of evaluation.

1. Our pace doesn’t allow us time to think

Most of us are running so fast that we simply don’t take the time to evaluate anything. Good evaluation takes real work and effective time management, but more than that it takes prioritization and herein lies the problem. People who are so busy running from one thing to the next are caught in this vicious cycle because of their lack of ability to prioritize their work and most likely their lives. The unfortunate trap they find themselves in will never allow them to evaluate their effectiveness because they lack the courage to say no and come up for air.

2. Criticism comes natural to us but not coaching

Just about anybody who is breathing can offer criticism but few possess the skills necessary to coach and help people improve their work. Effective evaluation is not simply offering criticism but suggesting realistic and measurable steps to improve upon what is being evaluated.

3. It’s easy to catch the disease of the organization

When newly coming into an organization it’s easy to see things with fresh eyes. One seems like a superstar as they point out obvious organizational pitfalls and roadblocks. Yet have you ever noticed that the longer you stay in an organization and adapt to and begin to reflect its culture how difficult it is to see things from the outside in? That’s the disease of the organization. The longer you’re in it the better it looks and the more difficult it is to participate in effective evaluation.

4. We don’t truly want the best for those around us

If we did, we wouldn’t worry about hurting their feelings. I know, it sounds a bit ironic. But if we truly cared for those around us we would tell them the truth about how they’re performing in their role. Who’s the one person on the team that everyone knows isn’t pulling their weight and always seems to get special treatment or they are allowed to consistently under-perform? By not participating in honest evaluation and feedback with one another the team dynamic will be compromised and undermined.

5. Plain old fashioned insecurity

For most of us though we avoid honest evaluation because we’re simply afraid of it. We’re afraid of failure, we’re afraid of rejection, and we’re afraid of not measuring up. We’re afraid that everyone will find out that we’re not perfect and that we don’t do everything well. We’re afraid that our weaknesses will be exposed. Perhaps the most valuable thing you can do for the organization that you’re leading in is face down your own insecurities and fears and commit to grow through honest evaluation.

Posted in Leadership


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