Archive for the ‘feedback’ Tag

Is Serving enough?   Leave a comment

At our church we are  beginning an extensive discussion of our values. This was prompted by a podcast from Craig Groeschel, along with the realization that 2017 will be our 10th birthday. This significant milestone provides a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the past and look to the future. Our observations of our church currently indicate that it is a  healthy and an interesting and exciting place, one where we can confidently invite others. However we recognize that we are, for the most part, “insiders” and so biased. In addition we lack clarity on the “why” of our current  perceived well being, hence the need to articulate, not just the values we would like to have, but more importantly the one others would identify in our activities and behaviors.

In the course of this discussion we listed ” service” as an important value. As I thought about this I wondered if “service” alone was sufficient to express our value. After all multitudes of people , people of faith and no faith would say that serving others and community involvement was important to them and for everyone service is often hard, inconvenient and even painful.

However if  we list “service” as a value for our church family perhaps we  need to dig a little deeper to describe the uniqueness of Christian service. As I pondered this I remembered that Jesus himself said the he came “not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45  This struck me in a new way with the emphasis on the first and last parts “not to be served” and “give his life …”. If we are to follow our Savior’s example then the special qualities of our service are not what, we do but how and why we do it. In seeking “ not to be served” and ” to give” we act solely in response to the amazing sacrifice of love made for us by Jesus. We do this joyfully and at the expense of our our own wants and desires because, once again, this was the pattern that He gave us.

This is important because it provides a distinct contrast to what Lyons and Kinnaman (Good Faith – Being a Christian when Society thinks you are Irrelevant and Extreme) describe as the “new morality of self fulfillment.” Tragically  the prevailing cultural values are leaking into the Christian community. Recent research indicates that more than 60% of “practicing Christians” agree  with statements that “the highest goals in life are to enjoy it as much a possible’ and ” to be fulfilled in life you should pursue the things you desire most.” Serving others can fall within either of these objectives. However as Christians we are called to serve because He served and sacrificed for us. To do so we must frequently and joyfully set aside our own desires. So how then should we express the value of service in a way that is uniquely applicable to followers of Jesus… any suggestions?

 

Give and Take Pt 2   Leave a comment

I promised further insight from“Thanks for the Feedback” by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone, so here is part 2

It would seem that there may be more to learn about receiving feedback than we first think (See post 8/15).  At the end of their first chapter Heen and Stone ask this question ” Why is it that when we give feedback we often feel so right, yet when we receive feedback it so often feels wrong?”  A more detailed look at the “triggers” enumerated in my last post will help. In order to give more objective attention to the feedback we receive, we must first be able to recognize the type of feedback we are receiving. The authors list three; Appreciation, Coaching  and Evaluation.  The first, appreciation, is about our relationship with the giver. An indication that the hard work one has done is valued or simply that they like to have you around! Coaching often takes the form of helpful, constructive suggestions about how something can be improved. Evaluation is simply a statement of performance against a known standard. All three types of feedback are extremely valuable in the right context, but when we expect or want one type and get another, our response can range from frustration to anger and hurt. When we just need someone to tell us they value us and they give us some handy tips on cooking steak, or indeed when we would value some help and all that is forthcoming is an “attaboy” we are left disappointed!  Whereas it maybe difficult to avoid negative responses altogether, being conscious of the type of feedback we are seeking and  recognizing the type we are in fact getting can at least help>

Give and Take   1 comment

We have all been told many times that it is better to give than receive, but is that always true? John Gottman, a marriage researcher, has found that a person’s willingness to receive  and accept influence (feedback) from their spouse is a key predictor of a healthy, stable marriage. I can recall receiving professional feedback that  for some reason lived on in my mind for years.  For  parents it is frightening to realize that our children will learn  how to respond to correction and coaching by watching our responses to  the various forms of feedback we receive. All this would suggest that the art of receiving feedback might be more important that we think.

In their recent book “Thanks for the Feedback” Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone‘s research indicates that this is indeed true. At the recent the Global Leadership Summit Sheila taught on the subject. Her content was so compelling that I immediately purchased the book and I want to share some of the lessons I am learning as I read.

Whether it is  graded assignments at school, “likes” on our facebook posts  or simply a warm smile when enjoying a carefully prepared meal, feed back washes over us from all sides. Our reactions can range from joy to anger and there is much we can learn that will  help us both understand  our responses and handle them more constructively. Firstly feed back is received at the intersection of two of our most fundamental  needs,  our desire to learn and improve and our yearning to be accepted and loved as we are.  Many of our negative reactions are caused by a series of  what the authors call “triggers”. “Truth triggers”  are set off by a sense that the content of the feedback is somehow without substance while “Relationship Triggers” are a consequence of the type of relationship we have with the person offering the feed back. “Identity Triggers” result in us doubting who we are and shaking all our insecurities regardless of the content of the message. Without exception when these triggers are activated we are disabled from any constructive conversation about the content of the feedback itself.  However when we recognize their existence and are ready for them we have a much better chance of benefiting from what is said.   If we do indeed want to learn and improve there is of course much more to come so watch this space for more nuggets from this excellent book.