At some point as a leader, you will have to make a hard announcement.
It might be about letting a staff member go, layoffs, cutting a budget, killing a program or ministry, moving locations, changing service times. Anything that will disrupt the normal and what people are used to can be a hard announcement. It doesn’t even have to be a major change, it could simply be a change.
While it is difficult to do this, there are some things you can do to set yourself up to succeed and for a hard announcement to go smoothly and create momentum.
Here are 4 ways:
1. Be clear. Say whatever it is you need to say. Don’t beat around the busy. Don’t be mean about it, but be clear. At the end of the conversation or announcement, there should be clarity on what was communicated. There should be no questions about what moving forward looks like. When things are gray or unanswered, people create their own answers and this is when a church or team gets into trouble.
2. Be honest. Depending on the announcement and situation, you may not be able to share everything or all the details. But, you should be honest about it. Leaders often want to cloak announcements in cliche’s about how God is moving or calling, etc. People see through this. Be honest. Don’t throw anyone under the bus, but be honest. In this honesty, you should be as positive as possible. It does no good to launch an attack against the person leaving.
3. Say what everyone is thinking. Leaders need to give their people more credit than they do. Often leaders think their teams or people in their church are stupid. They wouldn’t say that, but they communicate with them like they do. If you are heading into a hard season for your church, say so. Admit, this will be hard. Admit something hurts. Admit something is not what you’d like. Don’t always feel the need to put a smile on something. Now, your level of confidence will be felt in your church but there is a difference between confidence to get through a situation and trying to put a false smile on something. Don’t be afraid to say what everyone is thinking about something. It will also validate what everyone thinking and tell them it is okay and normal to think that.
4. Everyone only remembers the last day. When a transition happens and it will, everyone will only remember the last day. I know you did so much at your church, but people will only remember the last time they saw or heard you. If you let a staff member go and they had a number of fans in the church, those fans will remember how you acted and treated them when you publicly said goodbye. Don’t be fake or false in this, but be respectful and take the high road.