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Mistakes Leaders Make In Communication with Leadership Staff

In any relationship, communication is key.

That’s probably not a surprising statement to most people, yet we still seem to struggle with communication. Whether it is in our families, our relationships, or our professional circles, we have all made communication mistakes. As ministry leaders, we are not exempt from communication pitfalls.

Given your role in the organization, how can you communicate well with those in leadership? Avoid others’ mistakes in organizational leadership and learn to communicate intentionally, excellently, and personally with those in leadership over you.

To do so, here are 3 practical tips to help you avoid mistakes in communication with leadership staff.

1. Begin with intentionality.

Clear and effective communication does not happen by chance. It occurs when you have a purpose behind what you are sharing and hearing.

One of my mantras or pet peeves in leadership is “no surprises.”

I don’t want to be blindsided by something I hear from someone else about a team member and be forced to defend or prop up without knowing what I am defending or propping up. This doesn’t mean I don’t trust the people I serve, but to fully support my team, knowing what is going on and why it’s going on builds trust and strengthens the working relationship.

What do you want those in leadership to know?

Be intentional in communicating this to them and then listen just as intently as you speak.

2. Communicate with excellence to those in leadership.

Know WHAT needs to be shared and WHEN it needs to be shared.

While you may feel that a good leader needs always to be ready to hear and respond to you, understand that you often don’t put that same burden on yourself. Their role may preclude them from being all-in with you when you think they should be. Show them the same grace you want to be shown to you.

Subsequently, when the time comes for that excellent communication to take place, be ready. Be prepared. Value their time. Appreciate their role and what they have on their plate. Be as interested in hearing from them as you are in speaking to them. And when you do this, speak their language.

3. Communicate personally to those in leadership.

This doesn’t mean always talk about your kids or your spouse when you begin the conversation. This also doesn’t mean you have to connect personally with small talk or listen to them go on about their world.

Know how your leadership likes to communicate. How are they wired? What is their profile? Are they an “as few words as possible kind of person,” or are they the type that needs to connect at a different level before moving into the conversation’s real purpose?

Read their body language. Are they in a hurry? Is there a heaviness they seem to be carrying? Are they laser-focused on something at the moment? Are they dealing with a significant organizational issue? The list goes on.

Understand that none of this gives a leader the right not to recognize those they work with or cast them or their thoughts to the side. Just make sure you give them the same grace that you desire to receive and strive to get to know and communicate with them the same way you want someone to treat you. Get to know how they operate. Show grace and humility and work hard to connect.

In Closing

Communication is key, and the relationship between those “in leadership” and those striving to “follow well” is incredibly important. Make sure you are holding up your end of the working relationship and ask the Lord to open doors for a more intentional, excellent, and personal conversation in the days to come.

Jason Pyron is the Ministries and Leadership Development Pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN. He has served there for 15 years, where he began as the Middle School Pastor. Jason serves as one of the executive pastors assisting in overseeing all age group ministries as well as the internship program. He also oversees the professional development of the staff and aids volunteers in their training and development. Jason is the husband to Dorie and father to two high schoolers and a middle schooler. You can find him on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram or email him at jpyron@bellevue.org.


For more on Communication, check out:

4 Mistakes Leaders Make in Communication with Parents

#005: The Power of Parent Communication with Michelle Craddock


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