I was in my second job as a Tech Director for only about 6 months, when the strangest thing happened to me. Being there for only 6 months, I was still considered new and fresh on the job. After a Saturday night service I had my first major sour communication with the Lead Pastor about the service order and we both left with the sour taste in our mouths. If your relationship with your pastor is also souring, whether it is the worship pastor or preaching pastor, there are some things YOU can do to help it improve. Let’s get plugged into leadership!
1. Start with heart
One of my favorite quotes from Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High says, “Our problem is not that our behavior degenerates. It’s that our motives do— a fact that we usually miss.” As techs, we need to have a heart to heart with ourselves and make sure that we are starting with the right motives. What is the reason you got into doing tech in the first place? For me, I am a musician. It was mainly because I hung out with friends in a band. There was no room for me in the band, but since I liked hanging out with them I ran their sound instead. I enjoyed it and I guess I was good at it, so I turned it into a job. What is your reason? Revisit this question often. If you ever find yourself not serving for the right reasons, you will see your behavior slip. You may get stressed out more easily and this will cause the relationship with your leader to be very difficult. Remember to spend time on you. We are prone to serve, and that is great, but don’t neglect your soul health.
- Speak THEIR Language
I can’t count the amount of times I sat in a meeting speaking words that NO ONE understood. “We can’t do that! We don’t have long enough NL4 cables to connect the power amps to the dual 18s, and then we need at least 100 amps for the dimmer packs alone!” All they heard was “we can’t do that, and you are dumb.” It is easy for us, and natural sometimes, to “talk tech”. But you have to resist doing it with your pastor. If you need an outlet to talk tech, email me! I would love to talk shop with you anytime. John C. Maxwell reminds us in Everyone Communicates, Few Connect that, “Making things simple is a skill, and it’s a necessary one if you want to connect with people when you communicate.” Your pastor knows you are smart! Be smart enough to make it simple for them.
- Be willing to say “NO”, but say it the right way
I know some techs do not have an issue with this. I followed someone that liked saying “no” into a position one time. Saying “yes” was a badge I wore with honor, until I couldn’t deliver, got terrible migraines every weekend, and went on anti depressants. I said yes too much! The pressure to deliver was too high and it ruined me as a human being for a time. I am sure your story is different, but if you have trouble saying “no”, learn to. I found that the best way to say no is to start with affirming that the idea is good and you would really like to say “yes”. Then be clear about what it means if you say yes. Let them prioritize for you. “Sure we can build that set design of the castle on stage in 3 days, I would love to, but who is going to do my other weekend tasks if I divert my energy to this?” If they say that you have to just “make it happen” ask them how are you suppose to do that. Let them do the heavy lifting, and don’t cave in. Be respectful! Chris Voss’s book Never Split the Difference was massively helpful in this area.
- Under Promise, and Over deliver
As I wrote about in #3, we need to be ok with “no”. I find it is helpful in the brain-storming process of service planning to over a few different options. A low price, low time, medium price medium time, and a high price high time. Then let the team decide. Be clear what each will cost with dollars, time and what will be sacrificed or gained with each option. Then whichever option is chosen, over deliver! You will gain great respect when you do.
- Ask the Right Questions
Good Leaders Ask Great Questions is another book by John C. Maxwell, and the title alone holds a great deal of truth. The book is filled with great suggestions for questions every leader should be asking him or herself, his or her leaders, and the people on his or her team. One that is most important for any tech is “What do I need to know?” Too many times I have left a meeting thinking I had all the information, and then too late I found out I didn’t. As a result, I wasn’t able to over deliver, and I felt like a failure who had lost the trust of my leader. It is up to you as the expert to ask the right questions. Get a clear vision before you leave the meeting, or schedule a follow up meeting to go over details, and get the details in writing! I would suggest a project management software like Basecamp, or even Evernote, to see all of the meeting details organized.
A very important thing any leader can do is listen. Listen to your pastor; find out how you can best add value to him or her. Doing these five things will set you up for a healthy relationship with your pastor and put you well on your way to a job nicely done.
As always, share this article, like us on Facebook, and remember, “Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership” (John Maxwell).