Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Hey Fletch … I met with our volunteer drummer last night. We talked for an hour about life and ministry. At the end of the time, just as we were about ready to leave, he said: “Oh, I’ve really enjoyed being in the band but I need to pull out. My schedule is too crazy right now.” Why would someone wait until the end of a meeting to make a big announcement like that?

DRF—Managing a big announcement is challenging. The timing of a major announcement is crucial and, unfortunately, your drummer acted like many leaders. He chose a bad time to make his departure known to you.

In an attempt to share information in a non-threatening way, people often make their announcement when there is no time for discussion. He has controlled the situation so that you have no time to interact with his decision. You are forced to accept it as is.

Perhaps he thinks that if there is discussion, that he might back down on his decision. He could be a poor negotiator and not process his thoughts or feelings as things happen. Either way, he has made it impossible for you to discuss his decision that day.

Some leaders do the same thing. Whether through a desire to have the power of controlling discussion, or the inability to have a discussion, some leaders make major announcements at the end of a meeting. It certainly puts a damper on the meeting. Most members feel cheated; if the announcement had been made earlier, they could have reset the agenda to work with the new information.

It gets down to helping people think through your decision. You can frame a decision so that it is firm: “I’ve thought through this and am certain that this is what I must do, but I want to talk with you about the transition.”

This treats others well. It lets them know that you care about the team and the ongoing needs of others. Yet, it also affirms to all that our decision is final.