How To Have Difficult Conversations With Your Team Members

Difficult conversations are an inevitable part of being a leader. But difficult conversations don’t have to be viewed in a negative light. In fact, helping a team member grow is a very positive thing, and is actually commanded in scripture (Ephesians 4). In this month’s episode, Brenton Collyer and I share how to reframe your mindset regarding difficult conversations, and give you very practical tips on how to have them in a variety of contexts (auditions, sin, bad team behavior, etc.)

Also See: What To Do When A Team Member Sins

Example Worship Team Expectations Docs

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Transcript

Alex Enfiedjian 00:12 Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the worship ministry training podcast, a monthly podcast for worship leaders and worship team members. In today’s episode, we’re talking about having those dreaded confrontational conversations with your worship team members. We all hate to have hard conversations, nobody likes it. But the truth is, if you’re a leader, you have to have them. In fact, you will never have the ministry you want. If you do not have corrective conversations, and speak the truth in love. You need to learn how to do that. If you don’t do it, you will literally just be the grumpy worship leader who sits in your office and hates everybody for not being how you want them to be and doing what you want them to do. You’ll complain about them behind their backs instead of speaking the truth in love to their face. And if you do that, speak the truth in love, you will begin to form the Dream Team. It is possible but you have to have hard conversations to get there. So in today’s episode, Brenton Collier and I share some really practical tips on how to successfully navigate those conversations. Before we get to the episode though, our recommended product of the month is pads live and incredible app to make your worship team sound huge. With pads live, you can easily play ambient backing pads in any key with multiple high quality sounds. These things fill the space of your band and create seamless transitions between songs and times of prayer, the app is totally free to try and you can unlock more sounds by going to core sound pads calm. If you purchase new packs, be sure to use the promo code w empty podcast to save 20% off any purchase. There really is no reason for you to not check this app out. It’s amazing. All the links are in the show notes. Okay with that, let’s jump into today’s episode on how to have difficult conversations with your team members.

Alex Enfiedjian 02:07 Everybody I’m here with my good friend Brenton Collier, who is a wise genius have a worship leader. Hey, Brent. Hey, Alex. So just like the old days, Brenton, when we used to sit side by side in your office, we have a list here of a bunch of things about having difficult conversations with team members. And we’ll just go back and forth on this until we get to the end. And hopefully there’s a bunch of helpful stuff for people who are struggling to have hard conversations. Awesome. Sounds great. Awesome. And I will start by saying that if you are a worship leader, you will have hard conversations with team members. And if you don’t, you will not get the ministry that you want. And that’s just the truth is you can’t have the team that you want without confronting bad behavior. And so if you are a conflict averse person, do not be a leader. That’s my suggestion to you.

Brenton Collyer 03:02 Yeah, and if you’re listening and wondering if that’s actually true, you know, just think about any kind of leadership role like a family, you know, parents with their children or business, you know, boss at their employees or a coach with their athletes or whatever dynamic there is there some type of hard conversation, being honest with somebody telling them something, maybe they don’t totally want to hear in all of those scenarios, like, that’s essential, you got to have that that’s just part of life. And so it’s really no different as a worship leader leading a ministry or worship ministry,

Alex Enfiedjian 03:34 right. And I think we have to flip the whole concept of hard conversations on its head and not view it so negatively, but rather view it in a positive way. Because I think with the right attitude, and the right approach, these conversations don’t really have to be bad. And you can actually begin to approach them with boldness and confidence. And for me, over time, they’ve actually gotten easier and more fruitful. And I actually enjoy them sort of now in a weird twisted sort of way. And I and I see the necessity and the benefit of having them. In fact, I had kind of what could be an awkward conversation yesterday. So it’s, it just happens all the time. And you will have the ministry you want if you’re willing to talk about things that you’d rather brush under the rug. And so with that kind of mindset of viewing these things in a positive way I wanted to look at real quickly, just a 45 second Bible study of Ephesians chapter four before we talk about all these different practical things you can actually do to make these conversations better. So just quickly, I was reading Ephesians chapter four last week, which we’ve all read, you know, God gives gifts of whatever to equip the saints for the work of the ministry, build up the body, blah, blah, blah, right? We all know that verse. And if you don’t go read Ephesians chapter four. But if you break it down, he basically says this. He says, God gave the church leaders that’s you and me to equip the saints. That’s our team members. congregants to equip them for ministry and build them up to maturity. In other words, we’re coaching them, and we’re developing them in their calling and in their faith. And we do that, by us speaking the truth in love, which makes the whole body grow stronger. And so it’s actually a very positive thing to have hard conversations. It’s done out of love or speaking the truth in love for the individual. And the intent is for positive growth, for coaching, for empowering, and for encouraging. And you’re basically you’re a life coach, or a ministry coach, and you want everyone to be their best, and their most godly and effective version of themselves. And so that’s, that’s the approach we take, when we have these conversations. It’s, it’s out of love to build up the body. And so I think if you guys think about this concept in those terms, I think you won’t be so scared of these conversations. So. So let’s jump into kind of some really practical ways that our listeners can begin having these difficult conversations. So the first thing I have on my list and Brenton at any time, feel free to jump in, the first thing is envision your perfect team, I really believe the first thing you need to do is in your head, have a picture of your perfect team. It’s sort of the standard or the desired outcome that you’d like to see achieved. And then once you have that vision in your mind, you can begin coaching towards that standard. So just I mean, even right now, as you’re listening to this podcast, imagine your perfect team. Everyone shows up on time, right? They all know their parts. They all have good attitudes. There’s no divas. There’s no gossip, there’s encouragement, the tech is all set up. So whatever it is your perfect team, just envision it. Because you can’t coach towards that end, there’s no standard to begin pointing people towards if you don’t have it in your head and your heart first, you know, obviously like Brendan, you and I know that our perfect team will never exist, because people are people. But it is something to aim towards. You know, yeah.

Brenton Collyer 07:08 Yeah, that’s great. And I think we’ll probably get into this. But as you’re talking, Alex, it sounds like there’s maybe two different types of difficult conversation. There’s, there’s a conversation you’re having with someone more like towards their team development and like building up the type of team and culture that you want to have. And then I’m sure we’ll get into, on the other hand, maybe like a bigger issue in someone’s life, maybe a spiritual issue or a sin issue, or even bigger or beyond that. And I’m sure there’s some like, gray area in between. But does that sound right? There’s kind of the like, encouraging someone towards being on time and learning their parts. And like that type of a conversation. I think of that in one way. And then I almost think of approaching more of like a major issue conversation a little bit differently. Would you say that’s true? Or do you kind of Yeah, all the same?

Alex Enfiedjian 07:59 No, you’re right. But they all are uncomfortable, right? It’s uncomfortable to tell the bass player Hey, it seems like you didn’t prepare, you know, or, hey, I’ve noticed you’ve been really late, like every single week, can we work on that? That’s still uncomfortable. And that’s still conflict. But yeah, there are the other issues that are like sin issues, or, and we’ll talk about all that stuff. In fact, Brenton, maybe we can just spout off a couple of examples of types of conversations that would be considered as hard or uncomfortable. So, for example, one of them, like you said, is a team member falls into sin? Maybe another one is a staff member who is failing to perform their duties. Maybe there’s someone on your team with a toxic attitude, maybe it’s an audition? That’s a no, maybe a team member has really awkward stage presence, you know, so what are maybe a couple other people that you might have to have a hard conversation with

Brenton Collyer 08:49 other people, you know, want to be on the team, who are obviously living with someone they’re not married to. And so before, you know, I’ve got to talk to them about that, before we go any further. I’ve had team members who, you know, really, really want to be a part of the team, but their schedule, they’re just like always gone out of town, you can pick it never be around. So you got to talk to him about that their commitment to the team. Or it might be someone that you talked about this, I think in a recent podcast, Alex about inheriting a team or you’ve got a singer that can’t sing or something. A lot of times for worship leaders, you inherit these kind of difficult conversations, because there’s someone a part of your team that you didn’t necessarily audition or give the green light on. But now you’ve got to come back around and kind of have some of those conversations with that person. So now there’s a few more examples.

Alex Enfiedjian 09:37 Yeah. And again, if you don’t have those conversations, you’re going to be stuck in your current situation. So you know, you got to have those. And Brendan, I was actually thinking over the last maybe month I’ve had a bunch of hard conversations with people and I knew I was going to do this episode, and I thought it would be awesome if I could just illegally record the conversation and just play those calls. Conversations for our listeners. So there’s an example. Here’s how it sounds in real life. But maybe we will share a few role playing situations later in the podcast, where we kind of put into words what we’re talking about, I think that might be helpful for some people. Because like I said, even yesterday, I had a difficult conversation with a team member. And it was very helpful and healthy. And she walked away edified and excited to move forward. And so, you know, I will share a couple of those kind of phrases that are really important. But let’s get back to our list here. So like I said, first thing, envision your perfect team. And then the second thing is to communicate that vision to people. And the way I word it is to have clear expectations, and to have them upfront, because clear expectations up front are the thing that you point back to when people aren’t performing to the level that you want. You know, if they don’t know they’re supposed to practice at home before they arrive to rehearsal, then you can’t blame them if they don’t, you know, right. So we really have to communicate clear expectations. Now, I know Brenton at your church, you give people like a packet of information. Yeah. You want to maybe just real quickly describe that packet.

Brenton Collyer 11:12 Yeah, totally. So I have a volunteer handbook. And when someone wants to participate with a team, after we’ve gone through an audition, and it looks like we’re gonna invite them to join the music team, then I’ll ask them to read through our volunteer handbook. And I’ll follow up with them and say, Hey, does that all make sense? Sound good? Do you agree with that? Do you feel like you can commit to that, and if they do, then we’ll move forward. So that handbook has information about the expectations of the team member spiritually, the expectations that are on them, and their time commitment for cert volunteering in the team, specifically how to prepare and like an estimate of like how much time that’ll probably take just so they can be aware of that and be prepared for that talks about even things like what to wear, like, you know, you don’t want to wear any clothes that are all torn up or beat up or looks like you just came from doing yard work or something like that, you know, little things like that. And then also, at the end, there’s a statement that talks about, Hey, this is the level of spiritual maturity that we’re expecting our team members to have. And I share a few specific things there. So all that’s laid out for them. And you said it so well, Alex, if you know, having that is great, because I’ve been many times that I’ve had to talk to people and say, Hey, remember, you know, when you received the handbook, it talked about whatever it may be. And it seems like you’re not doing that, you know, that is something that’s important to our team. So what’s going on there. So that’s super helpful.

Alex Enfiedjian 12:36 Yeah, and there are a lot of ways to do it, you guys can do it online, you can create a little Handbook, you know, something that you give them and then also verbally communicate to them. And then reiterate maybe every year at your annual yearly meeting, if you don’t have one of those, you should probably plan one of those, but reiterate the expectations up front. And then do it every year, you know. And then once you’ve communicated clear expectations, and somebody is failing to hit those standards, maybe it’s a dress code issue, maybe it’s a tardiness issue. The next thing that I have on our list is first before you have a conversation with them, give it time, give it time and give it grace, determine really, if something merits a conversation or not, you know, don’t jump on somebody just because they hit a few bad notes. One Sunday, maybe they had a rough weekend with their family, you know, maybe their head wasn’t in the game, maybe they didn’t get a lot of sleep because their baby was keeping them up. So you know, case by case basis, give it some time and some space. Now if it’s a pattern, then you need to address it. Now I will say there are some things that need to be addressed right away like sexual immorality, maybe an extremely rude comment from a team member to another team member or like a really toxic attitude, things that are damaging the person or the team or the church that has to be addressed right away. You know, I had a female on my team recently, it came to my attention that she was posting, I would say inappropriate pictures online. And I pulled her off the upcoming plans. And I scheduled a meeting with her and a mature female team member. And I let her know through email like hey, I need to talk to you I need to check in with how you’re doing in your relationship with Christ. You know, so that was like, no right away, I need to deal with this because I’m representing the team. She’s representing the church and this is not good. But for other behaviors like tardiness or bad notes here and there. Give it grace and give it time.

Brenton Collyer 14:32 Yeah, no, that’s a great word. I love just kind of that attitude of if you’re going to err, err on the side of grace, you know, err on the side of being, you know, thoughtful and generous towards people because like he said, You never know. So

Alex Enfiedjian 14:45 yeah. But when you realize, okay, this is an issue I need to address it. That’s where you need to pick a time and a setting. And here are a few tips about picking a time in a setting to have a hard conversation. Number one you Do not do it in public. Okay. You never want to rebuke in front of other people. No

Brenton Collyer 15:04 way, man. Get your whole team together and call that person out.

Alex Enfiedjian 15:08 Yeah, get the stones. Take them outside the city gave a stone for everybody. Yeah, exactly. Now you want to always praise in public criticize, in private, you know, or correct and private is a better way to say it. So that means an office. Now, I will say I always say this on the podcast, but it’s worth repeating. If it’s a female, when you do it in private, you need a third party there, okay, or if it’s a male, and you’re a female listening, but if it’s opposite gender, you always want to have a third party. They’re just above reproach in all senses. But that means an office, that means a room somewhere else in the church, but a private place where you can sit down and talk, I actually screwed up on this one once I had to talk to a team member about their bad notes, because they were hitting them multiple times every time they were scheduled. And I needed to finally kind of address it. And it was really hard to find the right time because I didn’t want to talk to them before they served, because then I would get in their head, you know, right, right before service. And I didn’t want to talk to them right after they served because they just spent all Sunday serving. And they gave themselves you know, and all their time and energy. And so I was like, man, when do I do this? So I ended up meeting with them on a Sunday that they weren’t scheduled to play. So like right after service, I got down from the stage and I waved to them. And I said, Hey, come here and pulled him aside and said, Hey, you know, I noticed these things. The way that I screwed up, though, was I did it out in the sanctuary. And like a congregant came up and started to want to talk to me. And I’m having this conversation, hey, I noticed this and this, and it got awkward, like, it got awkward, and it was not the right setting. So don’t do that everybody. Okay. But it is important to pick the right timing, like I said, Not right before service, or not right after they serve, but try to find a neutral time. Yeah,

Brenton Collyer 17:07 yeah, I think there’s definitely like you said, sometimes you err on the side of gray, sometimes you do something immediately, there’s kind of a spectrum there. And I think the same thing applies could apply to this situation, you know, saying, hey, call a volunteer, hey, I’d like you to come, can you come up to the my office? You know, 4pm, next Tuesday afternoon, I need to talk to you, you know, that carries one level of weight. And if you know, you do all that, and you get there, and you’re like, Hey, you were playing drums out of time, a little bit like maybe practice with a metronome. Thanks, man. That is like, oh, oh, jeez, that was probably more, you know, they’re probably thinking they were like being x communicators that, you know, I don’t know. But, you know, for me, what I try to do sometimes is Yeah, like you said, always, you know, you don’t want to give corrective words to people in front of other people. But for my team at our church, I just tried to have that culture of feedback. And we might talk about that more in a minute. But, you know, the volunteers know, it’s not uncommon for me to hear them say, like to say, Hey, this is something I’d love to see you work on. So I’ll almost make it a point to try if it’s something like that, like a musical thing, or not a real big issue, but you know, something, almost like purposely try to do it casually. And I know, again, not when people are going to be walking by and all that kind of stuff. But I’ll try to make it a point to find that person after service and be like, yeah, I need to talk to the drummer, you know, he’s doing good, but I need him to, you know, play on time a little bit better. And so, I’ll just do that kind of briefly and casually after service a great job. You know, this is something I feel like you could work on, you know, would you commit to working on that a little bit? You know, you’re right there, but, you know, keep it up. And, and that’s it, you know, so I think there’s there could be a spectrum to have kind of how much you kind of outline these conversations a little bit.

Alex Enfiedjian 18:55 Yeah, I think that’s really wise. How heavy is the invitation because it right issue is not heavy. If it’s just like, Hey, I noticed like, you’re not hitting a lot of the right notes. Like what’s going on? That is a quick little after service type thing. Whereas Hey, I found out you’re sleeping with your boyfriend, right, so much more weighty issue and needs to be the invitation into that conversation almost needs to hold a little bit of weight to so. So that’s really good. The next thing on the list is to do it in person. And I’ve made a mistake on this one before as well, where I actually confronted a sound guy over the phone. And I was like, Hey, you disregarded my instruction or whatever. And the conversation did not go well. And he actually he resigned. Whoa. Yeah. Because there’s something happens when you’re looking into someone’s eyes. The escalation level of anger and emotion can kind of be abated when you are looking at a human being, but when it’s like just a voice, or it’s a text, so much can go wrong? Yeah. So I would say always, always do it in person, if possible. Yeah. Then the next thing is when you do set a time, and you do do it in person, act normal, you know, I, it’s just weird. But sometimes you feel like, Okay, I got to talk to this person, and it’s gonna get all awkward and weird. And I don’t know, I don’t think you need to act that way. So I was meeting with a team member to confront somebody about this, it was a sand issue, it was a heart issue and a behavior issue, a sand issue. And we were walking back to my office, and I just tried to act normal, like ask questions like, hey, it’s so good to see you. Like, give me high five? How you doing? Like, what’s going on? What’s been going on with life? You know, it, it doesn’t have to be awkward, because you’re not against them. You know, we have to remember we are for people. Yeah, we are for them. And so we love them. And we are glad to partner with them in their walk with the Lord and have this conversation. So

Brenton Collyer 21:01 any thoughts on that? No, I think that that’s, that’s great. You know, and that’s hard for people to do. You know, it’s hard not for the leader not to kind of clam up and be like, Okay. And so if you’re listening, you’re having a hard time with that. Honestly, it just takes like practice and experience and kind of doing that over and over to get to a place where as the leader, you’re comfortable having a tough conversation or giving a corrective word to someone in a way that where you don’t like totally kind of clam up in. And so if you’re listening, and you’re like, I couldn’t do that, that’s really tough. Yeah, it is tough. But the more you do it, the more natural thing that becomes.

Alex Enfiedjian 21:38 Yeah. And again, I think you have to, again, flip it on its head. It’s not punitive, it’s restorative. You’re not punishing people. You’re helping people grow, and you love them. And they’re part of your team, and you care about them. And so if you come at it from a posture of care, they will feel that and you will feel less afraid to share the things that are on your heart. And we’ll speak practically now into actually how to have that conversation. But it’s a caring thing that you’re doing. So I don’t know about you, Brenton. But every time I sit down with somebody, you know, we’ve scheduled a meeting, we were sitting down in my office, I always I start with prayer, and I don’t make it super heavy. I just kind of I say, hey, let’s pray. And I slap my knees for some reason. And I say, Lord, thank you for this team member. And thank you for this time we have together and we just pray that you would give us love and understanding and wisdom and help us to encourage one another and build one another up in Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Right, amen. And then I just look at them. And I say, Hey, I’m so thankful that you are taking the time today to meet with me. And I just want you to know, first and foremost, like, I love you, we love you, we are glad you are part of our team, we are glad you’re a part of our family. And that is the foundation for everything else that we’re going to talk about today. And so then you just share like observations, that’s the next thing I do is I just share some observations like, Hey, I noticed that x or I noticed that why and share kind of what I thought. And here’s the thing, the next thing is to assume the best because there’s almost always a reason for something. And you and I as leaders, we just don’t have all the facts. And so what I’m trying to do in these conversations, is I’m trying to just see what’s going on in their lives and gather the facts and figure out what is the root issue behind this behavioral problem that we’re having. And so yeah, for me, that means asking a lot of questions. So I start with prayer. I reaffirm love, I share some observations, I’ve noticed this, I noticed that I assume the best and then I ask questions. And so for example, that that gal who was you know, she was posting inappropriate things online. I started like this, I said, Hey, I noticed that you are probably in a healthy place in your relationship with the Lord, like I could just tell and other leaders on the team could tell that maybe something was wrong in your life. And so I guess just how are you? Like, how are you doing? You know, say her name? How are you doing? Like, what’s going on? And then pause like don’t try to answer or imply just period or question mark, and let the girl answer, you know, yeah, yeah. And so there is power in questions, because a lot of times Brenton, this is something I’m learning. Recently. A lot of times I just want to tell people, this, this, this, this, this, this, this is what I see. This is what you doing wrong? This this is this? Yeah. But lately, I’ve been just trying to ask my team members or my staff team questions. And it’s very interesting. They almost always know all the issues, and they answer them themselves. So like, I debrief with one of our worship leaders recently about a men’s retreat, and I said, What do you think went well, and he shared what went well, and then I said, What do you think you could have done better and he literally answered every single issue that I wanted to address. with him, Oh, wow. So he already knew the answers. And he knew what was wrong. He just needed to be asked the questions. And so I’m like starting to take that approach, because I have another conversation with a staff member that I have to have seen. And I’m just going to ask him questions, and I’m gonna, I guarantee you, he probably will answer everything that I would have told him myself, but it’s better because it’s coming from internally from inside of them. So

Brenton Collyer 25:24 yeah, that’s great. That’s not something I do a ton in the moment, like, while I’m having that difficult conversation, but I love that. That’s great advice.

Alex Enfiedjian 25:33 Something that you talked about on a recent podcast Brenton was when we do have hard conversations to be straight to the point. So do you want to maybe share a little bit about that?

Brenton Collyer 25:42 Oh, yeah, totally. I have this one vivid encounter with a potential volunteer from years ago that just has stuck with me. And I think about all the time and I had a series of auditions, and had some vocalists try out. And there’s one vocalist that just didn’t do well and didn’t have good pitch, or timing or tone, and wasn’t singing the parts, well, just wasn’t a strong singer. What threw me off, though, was that this particular person thought that they were so good. And so sometimes people come and they’re nervous, and they’re insecure. And like, I’m just gonna try. And in those circumstances, it’s a little easier I found to be like, hey, you didn’t do that great. And they’re like, I know, you know. But for someone that really thinks they’re great, and they’re not, it’s hard to find the words to just like, come out and tell them that anyways. So this is one of those circumstances. So I get on the phone with this person, I’m, you know, have a whole list of people to call back. So I’m doing this over the phone, and I’m talking to them, and I just cannot quite just get the words out, like, hey, you’re not a good singer, or whatever it is, like, I just couldn’t plainly state what it was and, and I kept talking around it and beating around the bush. And I just could feel myself saying, Man, this is not going well, this isn’t working out. And I finally said some version of you didn’t do a good job, I’m not gonna invite you on the team. And they were pretty offended. And I don’t think they totally understood why. And I just got off the phone saying, I’m never doing that, again. Like, I’ve got to just plainly tell people, and so for me, yeah, it’s so important. And sometimes I’ll even write down specifically what I want to say. And that helps me collect my own thoughts. And if I’m doing it over the phone, where someone can’t see me, I’ll sometimes even read, you know, try not to make it sound like I’m reading but read something if it’s if it’s really tough, I remember having a conversation with a volunteer that I had inherited years ago, that was a neat guy and pretty talented musician, but just so different stylistically from like a modern worship style, which is what you know, how I lead and how a lot of people lead that I tried a number of times, and there’s just no musical chemistry, it was just not clicking at all. So he’s a good guy, faithful volunteers. So that’s where it’s like, and this is, I’m gonna have to ask this person, I’m gonna dismiss them from our music team. But that’s hard. You know, they didn’t do anything wrong, really. And so that was an instance, I remember where I wrote out specifically how I was going to say, Hey, I’m not going to have you continue to participate with the team. Because musically and stylistically, your taste and musical choices are just so outside of what, you know, the style of music that we’re playing, is that it’s not fitting, it’s not connecting, you know, I’m sorry, I’m sure that maybe disappointed but thought a lot about it and prayed about it and talk to some of our leaders. And we agree that that’s a good decision. So that’s what we’re going to do. You know, he took it relatively well, but I, I’m so glad I just came out and said it clearly, as opposed to trying to find a way to say that for 15 minutes, you know,

Alex Enfiedjian 28:46 yeah, so don’t water down. And like, if you do water down, they may misunderstand the whole conversation, and then you just wasted all that stress. And there’s no correction actually involved. So be clear, be direct to look them in the eye. And maybe I don’t know if this is weird, but maybe even ask them what they heard you mean by what you’ve said. It is a potential way to make it clear. But yeah, yeah, be straight to the point. The next thing I have on the list is to take ownership. And what this means is there’s a couple things that it means but I would say don’t pass the blame. So for example, don’t say, a couple guys on the team have mentioned to me, yeah, because you’ll lose respect, because now it’s like, oh, you’re not really the leader. You’re just like, you’re just, you know, just say I’ve noticed that this, so don’t pass the blame, take ownership. And the other way you can take ownership is to say, How can I help you improve? Yeah, so ask them like what can I do as your leader to help you fix this problem? Because I want to help you like I am for you. So for example, I found out a couple weeks ago, that one of the gals on our team who plays keyboards didn’t have an instrument at home. Like she never practiced, the only time she practice was when she was actually on the stage. And I was like, okay, that explains some things to me. Yeah. So what did I do? I said, Hey, Sister, I have an old MIDI keyboard that is not being used, do you have a Mac? Yes, I have a Mac, here, I will give you my MIDI keyboard for the foreseeable future. So you can take it home, plug it into your Mac, and play GarageBand along with the song so you can actually prepare at home. So I’m trying to come alongside and take ownership of her problem to give her a solution. And I think as leaders, that’s what we should do. Absolutely. with everybody. So that’s great. That’s on that. No, I

Brenton Collyer 30:38 totally agree. And as a leader, that is your responsibility. I mean, you gotta walk hand in hand with people as you’re helping them grow and mature. Absolutely.

Alex Enfiedjian 30:46 Yeah. And that goes into the next thing that we want to talk about, which is give people a clear path forward, give people a clear path forward. So for example, I had a background vocalist text me and say, hey, I want to sing lead this coming Sunday. And I personally was like, I don’t think she’s ready to do that. And so I had to inform her, Hey, there’s a process that we have. And I’ll just, I’m gonna read you the text message that I sent to her when she asked me, I want to sing lead this Sunday, on this song. And so I this is what I wrote, again, this is I just want you guys to hear the tone that I take with my volunteers, and I make it as normal as I can. Good morning, sis. Thanks for letting me have the evening with my girls. Because she I told her, Hey, I’m not gonna respond tonight, because I’m going to play with my girls. Thanks for letting me have the evening with my girls. We played board games, hide and seek and wrestled, we all needed that heart. Okay. And then as for your question about leading this Sunday, I don’t typically let people leave vocally without first assessing them. And then subsequently working with them for a few weeks to make sure they will be successful, and that the church will be most blessed. For example, I met with so and so’s singer three times before I let her lead a song and I worked with so and so singer number two, four times with her before I let her lead a song. So if you believe God may have given you a lead vocal tone, and are interested in leading, let’s try to meet soon to assess that gift, and then talk about what that looks like to move forward. So that was oh, you know, hey, I’m, I like you. I’m not mad at you. But we don’t do it that way. Here. Yes. How we do it. This is the next step. Let’s try to meet and assess that gift. And it wasn’t making any promises. I didn’t say, Sure. You know, because, you know, if I was a coward, or if I was younger and more cowardly, which I used to be, I’d be like, Oh, my gosh, what do I tell her? Okay, sure, you can sing because I don’t want to offend you, you know what I mean? But no, like, I’m the leader of this thing. And one thing that I want to say is you have to be confident and comfortable in the role God has called you to, like he has called you to lead this ministry. And so you have to be comfortable in your own skin, you know, yeah. And just say like, hey, this isn’t how we do it, we we have a process. And this is how the process goes. So here’s the pathway for it. And so Let me loop it all the way back around. This is the person that I met with yesterday to assess, and we assess her gifts. And so what I do, so if you’re looking for, like, how do you have a hard audition conversation, here’s, here’s the Golden Nugget for you. Okay, so when I assess a singer, I bring in one other person with me. So it’s not just my subjective opinion. And so it was me and our sound guy who’s also a musician. And we sat in the room with her. And I do this with every singer. So I sit down and say, Hey, this is exciting. And first of all, I just want to thank you for your faithfulness to serve this team for the last four years, you’re awesome, and you’ve just been a blessing. And I’m excited that you’re interested in singing lead, and we’re going to just find out what this looks like and sounds like and you know, if God’s gifted you in this area, and so this is what I do with all our singers, by the way, first of all, before we even start, we have a culture of feedback here. So we’re going to tell you the truth. You know, I say those things. And then I say, this is how it works. I’m going to you’re going to hold my iPhone, I’m going to press record. And I’m going to play the guitar and you’re going to sing and then when we get done with a song, we’re going to stop the iPhone, and we’re going to listen to it together and talk through the areas that you’re strong, and the areas that you need to grow in. And so that’s just what we did. We played through it. She’s saying she so it’s really important that you do that with singers because they don’t know what they sound like until they hear a recording of themselves. And then we just talk through it like hey, first of all, your tone is very nice. I think, you know, you need to add more emphasis to your words because now you’re taking a lead role and you don’t want to be so soft on the edges and you’re a little pitchy, here and here and you know, okay, right here, you had multiple notes back to back and you kind of struggled to hit those notes. So So here’s what I want you to do. I want you to go listen to your favorite artists and pick apart how they phrase each See, it was more detailed than like the follow up steps for her moving forward was more detailed than what I’m giving right now. But the point is like It was honest, it was positive. It was a clear assessment of where she’s at and where she needs to grow. And she

Alex Enfiedjian 35:05 walked away going, Okay, I know where I’m at. And I know what I need to do to get better. And so now she has a clear pathway forward. And so I think that is, what you want to do is you want to give people clear next steps for what they need to do to improve. And you know, what, if she was horrible, I would have been like, hey, sister, like, I’m so thankful that you took the time. But I think your gift is not as a lead vocalist, but as a background vocalist, and you’re a great background vocalist. And so serving that gift with joy, and I think it’s Romans. Oh, it’s Romans 12. It’s after the whole verse about worship, it talks about using the gifting God gave you and just being that individual unique piece of the body and not viewing yourself more highly than you ought to.

Brenton Collyer 35:53 Yeah, having a clear path forward. You know, like you said, that’s, that’s so important, especially coming out of an audition type of circumstance, because a lot of people this is probably when some of these difficult conversations are going to come up is after an audition. Okay, how do I respond? And internally with our team, every person that auditions is going to get one of three answers. Yes, he did a great job. I’d like to invite you to be a part of our music team. No, I don’t feel you’re gifted and skilled, and music, so not gonna invite you to be a part of music team. Or not yet. There’s potential there. But Now’s not the time for one reason or another. So there’s only three options. But the second part of that, that I think a lot of people miss, I’m so glad you mentioned this, Alex is the next step. So every one of those answers gets its own next steps. If it’s a yes, there are a series of next steps to onboard that person as a volunteer and, and kind of a little bit of a trial period. If it’s a no, there’s a series of next steps to work with that person to find another area of ministry to serve and volunteer in that they are gifted in. So it’ll just drop them. And if it’s not yet, that one’s tailored to every person individually, where it’s like, okay for you, I’d like to free to spend about this much time and work on these specific things. And at that point, we’ll get back together and have another audition. And so I try to tailor the next steps to each individual person.

Alex Enfiedjian 37:19 Yeah, and I think for an audition situation, it’s good to lay it out upfront, like you said, Hey, we’re gonna sit down, this is what we’re going to do. And there’s going to be three outcomes, you know, three possible outcomes. So you say it up front, or like I said, Hey, we’re, you know, for us, it’s a culture of growing and feedback. And so we’re going to work on this, and we’re going to talk about what you did well, and what you didn’t do well, so everybody knows upfront what, what’s going to happen at the end, you know, and another thing that I will say is something that I’ve been saying a lot lately is, this is how we do things here. And even if I’m making it up on the spot, for the first time ever, it’s gonna be it’s gonna be how we do things here, you know, because you’re helping them understand that they’re fitting into a larger context. And this is just how it works, right? Like, this is how we do it. And this is the way we do it. And you’re a part of it, you know, so, dive in and hold on, you know, the last thing on the list is to make it a culture of feedback. And you had talked about this at the very beginning Brenton is to make these conversations, a regular part of your ministry. Like course, correction should be happening every single week, almost, you know, something that we do is right after first service. Every week, we do a debrief, how did it go? What do we need to change? What can I do better? As the leader, I asked that question, and I model being open to feedback from my team members. And then I receive their input with humility and receptiveness. And when I do that, it shows them that they can do that. And that this is a normal dialogue. This is not weird. This isn’t scary. They’re not any less valued. If we model it for them, they see that this is okay. And this is cool. And when you make it a culture of feedback, then the problems can begin getting addressed in smaller intervals along the way, instead of building up into this huge issue.

Brenton Collyer 39:15 Yeah, absolutely. Oh, that’s a great idea with the the debrief after the service. Yeah, I was just I think this is so important. I was just thinking of this past Sunday. I can give a few examples. If someone’s curious what this looks like. So for our church, we definitely have a culture of feedback. And so all throughout the rehearsal, for instance, you know, I’ll just let people know, you know, hey, don’t play there. Please play there. Don’t sing there. Play the beat this way. And so that were some result always just like little musical feedback, which I think probably most worship leaders do that and are pretty comfortable with that. So that’s happening all throughout the rehearsal. And then, after the rehearsal, I asked the the two vocalists I had to stick around for just a minute. And again, real casually, I went They’re, and they have a tendency to like, hold on to their mic stands and kind of stand real still said, Hey guys, like I’d love for you today. I know you’d like to hold on your mics down, but just try taking your hands off of it and just being a little bit more loose physically. And I talked to them a little bit about stage presence and giving them a few tips and just say, you know, you guys are saying so well today. I love it. Just just, you know, work on that. Think about that. Okay, great. Okay, sweet. And so walked away. It was not, you know, for someone that might feel like, Oh, my gosh, how could I ever tell someone that they stand still and look like, maybe they’re not totally engaged on stage or something like that. But if you have that culture, then it’s easy. Just do that real quick, sweet. All right. And then I went back and the lyrics operator had stepped away for a minute and wasn’t there for when we ran through our announcements before the service, because they run through the slides along with the campus host. So afterwards, I made a note, Okay, I gotta check with him and see what happened there. And there was a reason he had to step away. And he knew that he needed to stay, but he missed it. So we caught up on some of the details. So again, that’s the give the benefit of the doubt, don’t jump to the conclusions. And then Sunday night, we had a new guy run and sound and he did a great job. And after the service, we’re doing a mic check for the pastor. And he I don’t think was totally aware of that and may be forgotten. So he was staying out in the hallway chat with somebody that’s walked over and waited a second and then eventually said, Hey, sorry to interrupt. And then you’re not quite done yet. We’re doing the mic check right now. So hop back on the soundboard. Make sure we’re good to go. And he was like, Oh, yeah, sorry, I ran in there. So he realized, Oh, that was a mistake. So in a single Sunday, there might be two or three or four or five different little conversations like you have where you’re saying, oh, remember, you got to do that? Or did you realize that this is the case? Or hey, this is an area I’d like to see you grow in? Those are just examples I can think of from from yesterday, and they’re all received well, and I think just doing that regularly helps your team really grown to get a lot stronger.

Alex Enfiedjian 41:50 Yeah. And if you don’t do that, you’re going to just go in your office and be like, I hate everybody. My team is horrible. You know, it’s like, just just tell them hey, you screwed up here. Yeah, no, don’t say like that. But it’s just just share it. Just like Brendan said, it’s not a big deal. It’s not the end of the world. You don’t hate them, you’re not against them. And you’ll feel much happier. And again, you cannot have the team you want if you are not willing to have these types of conversations. Yeah. And so, you know, really everything boils down to training, you’re training your team to the envisioned, and that you have in your mind. And so yeah, you know, for the glory of God and the good of your team members have hard conversations. Yeah. Do you feel like there’s anything we missed that we could hit real quick.

Brenton Collyer 42:38 The only thing that came to mind throughout this was, as a good leader, make sure that you’re communicating with your volunteers and team members regularly. Both encouragement, you know what I mean, you don’t want everything you say to them to be corrective. But I believe, also just communicate with them on a casual level, ask them about life, about their family, talk to them about schools, go and talk to them about how it works going with them. You know, tell them about a new album, you heard that you really like you know, asking about, you know, movie they just saw. And so your conversations and your interactions and your communication, text, email, phone call, whatever, I think should be a pretty good blend of totally non church related, just stuff that friends talk about. And also encouragement and positive feedback. And then also some of this corrective feedback. So so just really think about, you know, ask yourself, okay, how much of the communication that I’m giving is corrective feedback and how much is just talking to people and enjoying people. And make sure there’s a balance there. That’s just something to keep in mind. Amen.

Alex Enfiedjian 43:40 All right, guys. Well, I hope this conversation helped you have hard conversations. Do it for Jesus. Yeah. Amen. Thanks. Brenton. All right. Well, that’s all we have time for today. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you were challenged and encouraged that you can have your dream team if you have these hard conversations. So don’t be afraid just dive in and do it for the glory of God and the good of your team. And also be sure to check out our sponsor core sound pads and the pads live app by going to core sound pads comm or by clicking any of the links in the show notes. I will see you guys next month for another helpful episode. And thank you so much for being a part of this training.