Archives For communication

I recently posted at the For the Church site. I’m including the beginning of the post below with a link to the full article.

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Nobody wants to hear a boy band play the blues. Whatever the polished pretty boys might know of hurt and heartbreak, they surely can’t dive deeply into the hardship of life. Even if they sang the words and notes all right, the feeling would be all wrong.

Sadly, I feel that too many preachers are like a boy band trying to play the blues. We find a nice melody, locate a catchy hook, and auto-tune our voices so that we sound pitch perfect. People nod along in pleasant agreement, enjoying themselves, and maybe even remembering a line or two for the drive home. The song (or the sermon) was entertaining but never really engaged their hearts.

It’s time to give up the boy band and start singing the blues. Blues music has a rawness and authenticity that is birthed out of real struggle. The blues are honest about hard times, but in a hopeful way that also convinces us that a time of trial is not the end of the story…

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Read the full article at



As with most of the sports world, I’ve been sucked into the drama that has surrounded the Texas Tech football program over the last week. I won’t drift into sports reporting here, as everyone from the NY to LA is covering it, but as I’ve read several articles over the last few days, I’ve seen some things that made me want to offer a few observations that, though somewhat obvious, are still important reminders.

Leach_PirateOf course, there are the humorous and obvious lessons: Pirates like gold and have authority issues; never get involved in a West Texas turf war with people that idolize a mask-wearing rider of a black horse. Resisting the temptation to comment on coaches who are also lawyers or players with famous daddies, I’ll move on.

Five rambling observations on some things that matter in working relationships…

Trust Matters
Where trust is absent, speculation swirls. Too often, people focus on the external conflict and neglect the internal reality of a relationship. There is a presenting problem: a conflict, a review, a decision, a disagreement. It’s easier to resolve the situation of the presenting problem than it is to reconcile the relationship. However, if the relationship is not restored, there will always be another issue waiting to drive a wedge between those involved. It is important to remember that you must work harder at rebuilding trust than you do at creating formal agreements, structures and contracts.

Culture Matters
Different regions approach life in different ways. If you are going to mix it up, you’d better be willing to deal with the differences. These differences are not insurmountable, but they do require an extra commitment to be flexible and overcome the differences. This is why so many organizations are run by “good ol’ boy” networks – it’s just easier (well, that and the whole power/control thing). Diversity is a good thing and worth pursuing, but it will mean dealing with some misunderstanding and longer conversations to sort things out.

Communication Matters
Email is a bad form of communication. Sure, it serves a great purpose for transferring information in a technological world, but it often leads to misunderstanding. Unless your last name is King, Wolfe, or Rushdie, I’d assume your email won’t communicate what you want it to. If you need to discuss something that deals with emotion, humor, crisis, conflict, or people, don’t lead out with email. That piece of technology to the right of your computer is called a phone. Use it. Try the phone or a personal visit, and then send an email with details or other info as a follow-up.

Humility Matters
Pride isolates and anger divides, but humility connects and unites. Humility has a unique power to overcome differences in opinion, personality and approach. Many people think of humility as a benefit at church but a hindrance in the “real world.” Thoughtful people will recognize that humility and backbone can go together. When they do, strength emerges in a person that can work through differences and not just around them.

Timing Matters
Know when it’s time to go. We don’t like to admit it when things are no longer a good fit. I’m not sure why. Maybe we are still hurt by the sixth grade break-up with blue-eyed Susie. Maybe it feels like weakness when we can’t make things work. Usually, there is enough agreement on the goals that you feel like you ought to be able to work things out, but when things are swirling for months or even years without improvement, you are almost never going to turn the corner. When that’s the case, seek wise counsel to make sure you are seeing things accurately, and then look for an exit ramp that will allow for a healthy and graceful transition.