I'm about a month and a half into a new position. I sent this email out the day after a rehearsal, and it threw everyone into a tizzy in a BIG way! Was there something wrong with this? Here is the email, verbatim:
Thanks for staying so late last night for rehearsal! You all did great, and I think we can look forward to another great Sunday coming up.
There are a couple of things that will help us to have more efficient rehearsal time, and help everyone have a better experience over all.
1. Please do not coach one another on parts. There is nothing more deflating than to have two or three people trying to tell you what to do when you are having trouble with a part. Things can get chaotic fast when there is more than one "director." Also, if you need help with a part, or arrangement etc., please direct those questions to me.
2. When I'm working through a part with someone, please help by not playing your instrument during that time. We'll get through things quicker if we're better able to focus without all the chatter.
I appreciate your help with this guys. Can't wait to see you all Sunday!!
Peace and love,
~Shahan "Shawn" Manalp
Worship/Music director at Concord UMC, Concord Michigan.
Oh my goodness I so understand where you're coming from!! Our team is pretty good with the instrument playing thing, but there's always someone (not the leader) who LOVES to put in their two cents whenever ANY question is asked. So there's two and three people talking at the same time. Drives me crazy.
I, personally, would NOT be offended about this. Primarily because you didn't single anyone out. And the email was quite respectful and to the point.
It's a leader's job to see that things run smoothly and time is used effectively. If folks get wound up about this email, there might be other issues to deal with! For me, I'd be appreciative of a strong leader!
All that hath life and breath, praise ye the Lord!
In His Name,
From my perspective, neither the tone nor the content of the email are offensive in any way. In fact, that kind of rehearsal etiquette seems pretty common sense to me.
I see nothing wrong with your email other than you sent it. LOL! If the group is used to a lot of talking and noodling and you have not talked about it personally, they may get a bit sideways. You do need feedback, but there has to be an organized way to do this. Getting disciplined behavior in practice is a big step forward in the life of a band. In our band, it seemed like coaching was a pile on thing, and noodling was non-stop. Things didn't get better until one of our band members tried to conduct a practice on his own. Let's just say he did not have much fun. He has been a perfect band mate since. You might try that if progress is not made.
Blessings and best wishes...
It's all about context. The email alone is neutral. Obviously, something about your context that the rest of us are unaware of has turned this email into something negative. Nothing we can say to you here can bring any light to that...you've got to ask the people who received the email.
It sounds like there might be some cultural issues that might have been missed with you only being a month and a half into the position. Maybe in your last role, the team was ok with emails like this. Perhaps here, they are not.
The only thing I see with that e-mail, it's something that should have been discussed as a team, not an e-mail. Stuff like this needs to be handled with personal communication, not e-mail. Although the tone of the e-mail appears fairly neutral, "tone of voice" and the like don't come through in an e-mail, and people interpret things differently. More often than not, it will cause more problems than it cures. From a leadership perspective, it's a lot more effective to pull everyone together, where you can have eye contact, answer questions, and reinforce your message. You will earn more respect from the team.
Here's a great word picture of how communication was was explained to me- you have to communicate in a way where people can receive it- like throwing a ball. Picture a wild baseball pitch or one over someone's head. If the catcher doesn't catch the ball, a play didn't happen and the team looks bad. This is the same thing. If the message wasn't received, communication didn't happen. If you deliver a message like this in person, you can see people's reaction and how they are receiving what you are saying, and make adjustments to your message.
Putting myself in the recipient's shoes a minute, I would like to tackle the first part of the e-mail about coaching.
I can see where someone might have an issue with that because the people coaching are just trying to help (usually). We do this to each other in my bands, it's not a big deal. But, some people don't receive that kind of feedback well. It can be overwhelming. However, 'deflating' shouldn't be happening. That might be an ego issue with the person being coached. I've had more than one 'coach' at times, and it's helped me. I've coached people like that and it's helped them. Just like when I played sports- many time the best coaching I got was from teammates. If there is deeper issues going on, that has to be handled by more than an e-mail.
In this situation, I can see where someone just trying to help would get defensive at an e-mail with that kind of wording.
Punch line- they are trying to help. If the people being helped are having a problem with it, if the helpers are too helpful, sit down and have some dialogue to work it out.
The second part- that's an issue with every band I have been in. Again, it's a situation that you can talk to people at practice. Noodling when people are trying to work things out is definitely annoying. But again, it's something to sit down with the offenders and ask them politely, one on one, to refrain from playing while you and another person are working through something.
So overall, the points are valid, but I do think that e-mail was not the right way to deliver the message.
Last edited by Mike on Bass; 05-08-2012 at 09:52 AM. Reason: double post and other weird stuff...
I think it was well put, gracious and to the point. I would say it depends on the philosophy of the church. I've lead worship in churches where the approach is somewhat evangelistic. That is, they don't mind non-Christians on the team. In that case a little more tact and gentleness is required. My preferred approach is discipleship. That is, I like to have mature Christians who have a solid, somewhat proven, relationship with Christ. I view my role as more of a coach/pastor/discipler. If I were to get negative feedback from a letter like that, I might schedule meetings with the individuals to try to smooth over misconceptions and to clarify my position, but I can't imagine a rational/mature Christian having an issue with this letter.
Of course, I can't know the exact nature of the rehearsal that was referred to. The letter may have pricked some hurt feelings from something that happened there. My assumption is that someone who was hurt might have a little too much pride to be "serving" on the Praise Team. (And now I realize how judgmental my statement is!)
The line between purging, starting form scratch (even if that means leading by yourself for a time) and patiently enduring while helping the team grow up, is too subjective and situational for me to comment with too much confidence, so I'll say a prayer for you as you decide how to deal with this.
Worship Pastor of First Baptist of Pekin, IL
There's nothing wrong with the email. What everyone has said about the receivers of the email is true, you may want to address those issues as a teaching in a team meeting. I talk about that stuff, with the whole team present. That means everyone gets to pose questions and hear my responses to them. There ends up being no stone left unturned and the whole team know what to expect.
~Shahan "Shawn" Manalp
Worship/Music director at Concord UMC, Concord Michigan.
To me, this political 'miscommunication' stuff is the worst part of dealing with people. Personalities and learning styles often clash, and gives the devil a foothold, in many church groups and worship ministries. Somebody thinks something in an email is directed at them and takes offense.
Once I emailed a link to an article about worship leading to our leaders - and I got questioned by the Pastor about it! I didn't mean any disrespect or 'telling them what to do', but it was taken that way and they complained. That taught me to go face-to-face with issues, even though it is far easier to express myself in writing than in person.