Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How to Offer Constructive Criticism

There is no question that complaining is not Biblical. However, constructive criticism offered from a sincere heart, motivated by ministry rather than by personal preferences, and communicated in love is very valuable. But what I have discovered is that often constructive criticism is ignored, not because its content is bad, but because of how it is communicated. So whenever you feel led by the Lord to offer constructive criticism to one of our staff members here at Grace Church, think through the following principles first.

Check your motive. Is what you are about to communicate stemming from what is best for the overall ministry and purpose of Grace Church or is it selfishly rooted in your own personal preferences, likes and dislikes?

Check your words. Think through your communication before actually communicating. Be sure to avoid statements that come across as sarcastic, rude, extreme, or attacking.

Check your timing. The very worst time to stop a staff member to verbally dump on them is right before a service, in between services, or right after a service.

Check your method. Face-to-face will always be the best way to communicate any kind of constructive criticism. Remember, only 8% of communication is our words. That means that to write your constructive criticism in a letter, in an e-mail, or God-forbid, on a Sunday Connection Card, is the absolute worst way to communicate. When you do, we can’t hear your tone or see your heart through your non-verbal actions. At best, all we can do is guess, and more times than not, it will skew your intended message. Communicating criticism over the phone isn’t much better either. 55% of communication is non-verbal. Our staff can’t see your non-verbal over the phone. Again, we are left to guessing, which is always dangerous. Instead, call the church and set up an appointment with the staff member you would like to communicate with. Take the time to come in and talk face to face so that communication can happen at its optimum level.

Check your source. What is it that is driving you to share what is on your heart? Is it God or is it your own flesh or the result of a conversation with someone else? In other words, take time to pray first and be sure you are being led by the Spirit of God.

Check your facts. Speak truth in love but don’t exaggerate. Comments like, “Everyone is unhappy” is not factual. Don’t speak for others. Let them speak for themselves.

Check your content. If there is a specific issue that God has laid on your heart to communicate properly, please do. But don’t use the opportunity to “dump” on the staff member by sharing three dozen other things that you wish were different.

Check your attitude. People that come across as “know it alls” or “self-pronounced experts” are rarely heard by anyone. Humility and grace are essential.


kutlessgirl4ever said...

thats really good

Corey said...

Colossians 3:1-17

Put On the New Self
1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Anonymous said...

That's yet another reason why I love you, brother. Not afraid to speak, or write in this case, the truth! I am so blessed with the opportunity to be coming on staff to work with people who have such a passion for Christ and His truths. What a privilege. Thank you, Scott, and thank you Jesus!