You know how there are times that you say something to your spouse and they totally hear something else? For instance I might say, “Whatcha been doing today?” and my wife might hear, “Why have you been sitting on your butt all day? Get up and do something productive!” Soon after asking your perfect harmless question, you notice the fire burning in their eyes; and you know that what was said was not in fact what was said. Know what I mean?
Sometimes the same thing can happen with those we work with. When faced with the situation of needing to confront an issue with a volunteer or otherwise; I usually use the sandwich method. (Say something good, squeeze in the constructive criticism, then say something good again.) But sometimes people don’t hear the good you say, and they hear nothing from you when you praise them. However if you say something critical, or even suggesting a change in their methods, they are suddenly ALL EARS.
As a leader of staff and volunteers, I cannot let what others ‘hear’ affect what I say to them. I feel that as long as I’m not living on the extreme edge of criticism that I’m in a safe place as a leader. But my flesh wants to say what will make people feel the most comfortable, but my Spirit knows that changes must be made. What a battle it is…
“The Lord disciplines those he loves” Hebrews 12:6
“Blessed is the man you discipline, O LORD, the man you teach from your law” Psalms 94:12
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline” Revelations 3:19