How often have you heard it said that ‘it is rude to whisper!’ Probably a lot, especially if you have spent any time around children. Let’s put things straight, it is NOT rude to whisper….sometimes it is necessary and it can be the best way to communicate. Please don’t say it anymore.
It is rude to ignore people that are in the room with you or to deliberately leave them out of the communications that are happening in their presence but the volume of the communication is not the determining factor.
It is not rude to whisper.
One of the good changes within the christian world, in recent times, has been the move away from programme orientated ministry towards people orientated ministry. This may be more theoretical than shown in practice but it is a shift that needs to be commended. Over the last 10 years there have been many a meeting when the phrase, “people are our best asset” has been used. However, theory and practice often collide when people become busy.
This is demonstrated when people get together and talk. The busy worker will be listening but not hearing, no matter how good the communication is. This is a crisis point that needs addressing for any relationship to move forward. If you are not hearing when you listen, this may be a sign that you are over busy, people may have become a commodity to you and this commodity has a lower value than necessary. If this is true – people are no longer your best asset!
Are you hearing those that speak to you? If not, it may just be that you are too busy doing the wrong thing – this is the crisis of busy.
Yesterday, we looked at my objections to the language of the phrase, “people are your best asset“, whereas today I would like to look at the truth behind the words. The phrase contains half truth, not whole truth, this has to be addressed in the context where it is used.
A few years back, I was involved with teams who were competing in the Welsh 3000 in 24hrs challenge. It was my first year of involvement and so I agreed to join a support team for some groups who were doing the event as preparation for my own challenge a year later. It was one of the most wise decisions that I have ever made as I learned a great deal. At each of the pit stops you received a clear indication of which teams were doing well and which were imploding – not all people were an asset on their team. Having the right people on a team was vital – a year later, after choosing the right team and a valuable lesson learned, we finished the event in 17 hours.
I believe that every person has value, every person has a beauty that others do not but there are occasions were you must choose the right people for the right time – choose wisely.
The phrase “People are your best asset” is one that I have both used and heard relayed to me on numerous occasions over the years and one that raises different responses, usually dependant on the context, from me personally. As a result, I have decided to do a couple of posts to try and sharpen my own thinking.
More often than not, the phrase/expression is used to show value and is used in a context to demonstrate that people are important, people are valuable and that we must not forget the importance of people. However, I struggle with calling people an ‘asset’. Why?
People are not commodities to be used but individuals or communities that should be valued
It implies ownership of people and this has dreadful connotations
It is about the best for ‘me’….whereas, it should be about us
These three things alone convince me that it is a phrase that may not be the most suitable to use. Is there a better way to express the same thing? I think that there is and that it is one known to us all, particularly in a Christian context. What about, “love your neighbour as you love yourself“? I think this has a much better feel to it, what do you think?
The way we communicate and the things that we say are so important. It can be a little harder for those in church contexts because levels of expectation can be different.
This weekend, one church service, that I attended, had an opening to a sermon that got things completely wrong. The person speaking/preaching used an illustration that gave all the wrong messages. The introduction to the sermon spoke of a less glamorous job and described it as “going nowhere” and worthless. It was poor and I was really surprised and am left disappointed in the illustration, the message conveyed and the environment in which it was said.
How do we respond to this? How do we reflect on poor communication?
Firstly, we need to understand that the speaker (in the cold light of day) would not agree with the sentiments they expressed. They were trying to open up a long sermon with an illustration that captured people’s attention – it certainly captured attention, but for all the wrong reasons, it was poor communication and demonstrated a lack of thought. When speaking publicly we need to think through all our illustrations before we use them, you can’t be too careful.
Secondly, we need to weigh carefully the things we hear, understanding the speaker, the context and acknowledging that not all those that speak in a public context are experienced. Mistakes can happen!
Having a job is a blessing in current economic times, we cannot afford to dismiss those in less sought after positions, we should stand with them to encourage and support them. In truth we need to be more careful in our illustrations, in how we communicate and how we share any message.
The last couple of weeks have seen an extraordinary number of revelations regarding Jimmy Savile and the ‘open secrets’ regarding his off screen persona, character and habits. The stories are gross and heartbreaking.
However, the aspect of the stories that I have found astounding, concern the control that Jimmy Savile had over people. He kept the allegations of inappropriate behaviour hidden from the public gaze because people were afraid to challenge him. It was not just individuals but organisations and news agencies. This is an extraordinary hold that he had over people.
This type of control is not new, it can be seen in many leaders who have a control over their organisations, individuals, churches, in fact anywhere. Leaders who can sit in meetings and ‘paralyse’ other contributions, use their position to enforce control over proceedings and care only for the agenda that they desire. If individuals speak out, they are quickly silenced. These behaviours are unhealthy and should not be tolerated, yet they abound and go unchecked.
If only people would stand together against such abuse, unite against behaviours that are destructive and work together for a healthy style of leadership that begins with humility.
Thankfully not everyone is guilty of the types of crimes that have filled our papers this week, but there are still those who are broken and laid low because of individuals who abuse their power over others.
Are you prepared to stand up and be counted? If you are, I trust that you will not find yourself alone.