One of the most frequently requested areas where priests and pastoral ministers request help is with ministerial supervision.  Giving ongoing and helpful feedback or "guidance" as Kim Scott describes it is essential to successfully serving the people of God and reaching for the particular vision one might have for the ministry they are responsible for or for the parish or church entity.

While instructive for when one is to give feedback, the Leadership Roundtable has found this matrix helpful in various pastoral circumstances.  For example when priests or pastoral leaders are concerned about how to give important but sometimes culturally challenging messages in homilies for instance, or when to make a change in a ministry.

Scott says that we want to be is the upper right quadrant - radical candor - where the person we are giving a potentially difficulty message to knows we care deeply about them (high on the vertical axis) and we are also able to challenge them directly with our feedback (high on the horizontal axis).  Conversely we know well what it feels like when there is a low sense of care or concern for our well-being or when someone is ambiguous with their feedback.

Organizations can have a persona, a personality.  And as a pastoral leader if the parish or the people within the Catholic organization we serve do not have a "common sense" that we care for it, it may be hard to make the important change we feel is needed or say the challenging words we might feel is warranted for this community to grow.

Consider the next time you might need to give someone difficult information or constructive guidance.  If we lack the relationship that demonstrates we care for the person personally, then they are less likely to receive what we have to say.  This seems to be at the heart of what Pope Francis is saying to us as pastoral leaders.  Our ability to lead begins with our ability to be in relationship.  That's not just good management.  That's good theology!

For a more in-depth article (Note: some adult language) click here.

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