Why do my leaders roll their eyes when I share a new idea?
When will my pastor start letting me do what I know is best?
Why does my leadership question my methods so often?
These questions aren’t unique to any one individual, or church. In fact, at some point in time, almost all of us have gone through these exact questions. But, when we hear about other churches that aren’t struggling with these problems, we start to wonder why we’re always being questioned.
It comes down to trust.
Leadership experts have debated for a long time whether trust is given or trust is earned, and it’s probably a combination of both. But, before you give up assuming that there’s nothing you can do until other people start to trust you, you have to realize that trust is built on consistency. If you’re not being consistent in what you say and do, then there will probably never be a platform for trust.
Here are 3 ways that you can build the foundation of trust by being consistent:
1. Show Up When You Say You Will
When you click “Accept” on a Planning Center serving request, it’s important. Beyond that, when you’re supposed to be at your post at a certain time, it’s your responsibility to be there.
What about when the kids are sick, or I get a flat tire, or something unexpected goes wrong? Then communicate—let your leadership know when you’ll be there. These examples are fringe examples, though. Most of the time, you stayed up late the night before then slept in, or started working on something and lost track of time, or weren’t motivated to go to “another one of those meetings.” Regardless of how you feel, make being on time a priority.
Show up when you say you’ll show up every time. Communicate if something changes.
2. Do What You Have Been Asked To Do
Nothing erodes trust with your leaders more than when you don’t do what you’ve been clearly asked to do. What does it say when you’re working hard to complete an idea that you came up with, but haven’t fulfilled the tasks that you were clearly given by your pastor?
Too often, we set our priorities based on what we think is important rather than honoring our defined job description or requested jobs.
You will be surprised to see how much more receptive your leaders are to hearing your ideas when you’ve built a reputation for honoring their requests.
3. Take Responsibility For Your Actions
If you make a mistake, own it. Let your leadership know how you’ll handle it differently next time. There’s nothing more frustrating to a leader than to ask for details on why something went wrong, didn’t happen, timing was off, etc. and then get a shrug.
A better answer is, “I’m sorry for the trouble. I’m working on making sure that doesn’t happen again by doing this…”
If you can’t tell your leader how you’ll resolve a concern, they won’t be quick to trust that it will resolve itself.
A lot of times, following these three principles is easier said than done. In the heat of the moment, it’s much easier to show up on your own schedule, do things your own way, or assign the blame of your mistake to someone else. But, all of your actions don’t go unseen. Over time, you build a reputation either as someone that is easy to work with or someone that’s difficult.
As you put in the hard work of following these guidelines, you will earn trust with your leaders that will propel you to a greater role.