Doug Crandall and Matt Kincaid’s secular, business world-oriented book, Permission To Speak Freely, makes a great, challenging read for Christian leaders.
Here’s the bottom line premise of the book, from page ix of the Foreword (by Shann Ray Ferch):
That sounds to me like Ephesians 4:15, which talks about the Church growing up to be what it has been called to be, by way of all of its members “speaking the truth in love.”
The value of speaking the truth in love, literally “truthing” in the Greek, came home to me a thousand times over my fifteen years as a church-whisperer, a redevelopment-oriented, transitional pastor, who kept finding it necessary, in church after church, to tackle the intractable, by simply listening well to the brutal facts and then speaking the truth in love.
Simple, but hard, as anyone knows who has had to speak the truth in love or listen to the truth spoken by others. If anyone should be able to grant their peers and subordinates the liberty to share whatever is on their hearts, without fear of reprisal, it should be those of us who have the deep down soul security that can be ours through a close, tight, personal relationship with the living, loving Christ.
I’m also reminded of the great thinking and writing of Patrick Lencioni, particularly in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. To paraphrase this classic: Teams become effective when the members speak the truth to each other. They speak the truth to each other when they trust each other. They trust each other when they come to like each other. They come to like each other when they’ve gotten to know each other.
Therefore, get your teammates together enough so that they can know, like, trust and speak truth to each other. Then you have a team. Then you get the best out of every team member.
The following are a few more challenging thoughts from Speak Freely:
Quoting the book, Multipliers, by Liz Wiseman, “Multipliers…don’t focus on what they know but on how to know what others know…They are interested in every relevant insight people can offer.” (p. 1)
“…study after study finds that candid communication enhances innovation, ownership, engagement, and overall performance.” (p. 6)
“When people expose themselves as unknowing, they immediately feel vulnerable. If they speak up and ask a question, they will search for the right way to ask – a way that doesn’t sound ‘dumb.’ The leader’s response to their questions will have a significant impact on whether or not they ask again. And a culture of candor or a culture of silence will have been reinforced. It happens that quickly. We believe that all leaders need to hear the unfiltered thoughts and ideas from their people.” (pp. 12, 13)
There is much more in this book that is worthy of our careful consideration. If you are a Christian leader, this is worth a slow, thoughtful read.
The “catch” to all of this of course is the need for the leader/listener to get to such a place of security and confidence that he or she is ready and willing to grant “permission to speak freely.” As believers we know how and where to find that security.
For the sake of those we lead, we need to dig down deep into the security that is ours in Christ and take full advantage of the wisdom of those we seek to lead.