A few weeks ago, I sat down with a gentleman whose role is to equip and encourage pastors. As our conversation progressed, he explained that many churches struggle to lead change. Whether they are encouraging their congregation to be more hospitable to outsiders or presenting a proposal to remodel the church building, he said that church leaders need to carefully consider their approach. He said: “If someone is going to effectively lead change, they need to turn up the care.”
His statement painted a vivid image in my mind of a physical care dial that needs to be turned up. If I want to lead change, I need to crank up the level of care and turn up my care dial for the people in my organization.
That visual reminds me of what a producer says when I’m on TV or filming a video. A director will often push me to increase my energy by 25%, to a point that might even make me feel uncomfortable, but when it comes through the screen, it feels right for the audience. The same is true when you’re leading change. You may feel overboard caring for your people 25-50% more than you normally do, but that’s the level of care that’s needed to get them through an important transition like trying to implement a new strategy, asking them to do something uncomfortable, shifting the style of your work, changing their job descriptions, or reorganizing their positions in your organization.
Why does this matter? Because when people feel cared for, they are far more willing to follow.
In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey explains that the speed at which an organization can change is directly correlated to the level of trust within that organization. In other words, the more that people trust each other, the more quickly people will move toward a proposed change. If someone believes (trusts) that their leader’s intentions are pure, that they act for the good of their employees, volunteers, or church members, they are more willing to endure discomfort for a season as they adjust to change.
So if trust is essential to helping any group change and grow, how can we improve that trust? It all goes back to care. We gain trust by genuinely caring for people.
Practically caring for people can look drastically different depending on the relationship and situation.
It might be taking the time to write one volunteer a note each week, expressing your appreciation for their hard work.
Maybe it’s sending that personal text message to the church member that you saw go out of their way to connect with a visitor.
It could be providing a bonus to your team members that put in hours outside of work to complete a big project that helped your business to grow.
In your family, it could be encouraging your children in the everyday victories like being kind and generous to their siblings without being asked.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not encouraging you to employ care as a strategy to manipulate or coerce individuals into doing what you want. Caring for your people should be a habit and a posture you adopt every single day.
Then, when you’re trying to make those extra moves or substantial shifts, you double down and increase that care, so they are reminded of what they already know to be true.
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