What Are You Really Asking?
A high percentage of the communications that I receive from others in “Church Communications Land” are asking me about conversations they’re about to have with their leadership. Things like “I’ve never been given a budget, how do I ask for one?” or “My Pastor keeps announcing things from the stage before letting the staff know it’s coming. How would I ask him to let us know beforehand at staff meeting?”
I don’t think the answer you’re looking for from me is “May I have a budget?” or “Would you let me know what you’re going to announce before you announce it?” but that’s the answer I often give. Why? Because when you respond back “It’s not that simple” it bring something else to light, which opens the door for me to ask “What are you really asking?”
If you’re honest, you might really be asking “Why am I not trusted on the team enough to make a decision about spending money?” or “Why is my leadership not allowing me to have access to resources?” or “Why doesn’t my Pastor trust me to have confidential information before it’s public?” or “Why is my Pastor so selfish that he announces things as if they’re planned and then forces our team to follow through on them because it’s public?”
I don’t know yet what you’re really asking, but I know it’s not about a budget worksheet or about the content of your staff meeting each week. Before you make up what the other person is thinking and live like that’s the truth, ask them in a way that opens to door to hearing their genuine response.
I wouldn’t ask “Why don’t you trust me with a budget?” I would say “Having a written budget would be helpful for me for ( this reason ) primarily. Would that be possible?” This is the start of your conversation.
“Knowing what’s coming before it’s announced would help me prepare graphics for Social Media. Would that be possible?”
“Having a key to the building would allow me to stay a few minutes after work if I’m in the middle of a project. Would that be possible?”
“Removing other admins from our Facebook page so we’re not all posting at the same time would help stream line of communication. Would that be possible?”
And now, I’m asking you: What are you really asking?