Blowing it and your Boss

Maybe if I shake it, it will disarm… 

my bad…

Many of you can empathize with the before and after shot above.  One moment things are going well, and the next… not so much…  

We all have had things blow up in our face.  Sometimes our fault, sometimes not, sometimes both.  For those instances when you are able to tell that something has blown up on you, I have found these tips to be trustworthy aides in navigating the concussion and aftershocks of the blast that just happened.

Honesty is best (AND ONLY) Policy.

First, be honest.  Being able to recap exactly what happened and how things happened is essential for making amends and progress towards a solution.  Lets face it.  If you did something worth getting fired over, you already did it.   However, making the best out of a bad situation begins with your honesty and your character may just save your job.   Your boss would most likely prefer an honest mistake to a staff member who can’t tell the truth.

Get to boss first.

The worst thing as a boss, is getting ambushed by (potentially disturbing) allegations against someone you are in charge of.  If your boss doesn’t know what’s coming, he often may be led to judge by the other person’s viewpoint and creates a plan without your input to fix the problem.  If your boss is in the know, they can adapt and be ahead what is coming in the door; they are better able to discern the truth and are more likely to be able to mediate and start the healing process.

Explain what happened.

The best explanation of what happened is given clearly and concisely (along with honestly).  Avoid dramatics and sensational language.  Some feel this may help you “sell” your tale… but being over emotional may be the first clue that you acted out of emotion, was impulsive and exasperated the problem to begin with (even if you were “in the right).  If you feel or know where you messed up, point it out and be apologetic, if not, don’t blame (that’s the Boss’ conclusion to come to).

How you would like to fix it.

At the end of talking with your boss, offer a suggestion on how you could help be a part of the solution.  Be humble, but lay out a plan to fix it (apologize, pick up the mess, host a youth work day to clean the church, etc).  Doing this helps the boss feel like you’re not trying to dump problems on his plate.  Being able to come up with a plan helps show your sincerity in making amends and moving forward.

Be receptive to feedback.

Your boss may have something completely different in mind to fix it.  Listen to their input.  They may have other knowledge about what is going on in the background, or be able to help you make amends and build bridges towards your future ministry in the church.  Finally, be submissive to the leadership of your boss.

Do your best not to make the same mistake again.

Bosses understand freak accidents and the occasional misstep.  However, being a magnet for conflict, error and immaturity will only add to your bosses desire to stop the mistakes by stopping you from coming to work…

These tips are not failsafe, but are designed to help you navigate conflict in an organization that may be inclined to go to your boss when you mess up.  I prefer when people approach me directly, however, keeping your boss in the know can help you navigate difficult interactions in ministry.  Being good at this, doesn’t mean it will keep you from losing your job if you do it often.  Some conflict is unavoidable, but if you seek it out, it will eventually take you out.  

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