Friday, February 04, 2005


The natural reaction to criticism for people in positions of authority is to defend their own actions. It is extremely difficult for anyone to understand a complaint or suggestion when they are reacting defensively. Church leaders need to be able to suppress their own natural reaction and then be able to empathize with complainers if they are ever going to handle complaints and suggestions effectively.

Listening to an entire complaint and then probing to get more details from the complainer helps the leader to clarify the complaint before they decide to defend their actions or suggest a solution. Just as importantly, it lets the complainer know that the leader cares about them and their opinion. Expressing care and concern towards the person making the complaint is almost as important to the complainer as actually resolving the complaint.

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