By their very nature staff evaluations deal with both strengths and weaknesses. Most of us would prefer to hear totally positive feedback from our leaders. Despite all our best efforts to do these evaluations in ways that minimize bad, sometimes very ungodly, reactions to negative feedback, sometimes it happens. How do we respond to these reactions? How do we keep from stoking the fire?
A Leader’s Response to Ungodly Reactions
A fleshly response to people’s bad reaction might be to get defensive and fight back, leading to conflict and hurt feelings on both sides. However, God exhorts us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom. 12:18). We’re to make an intentional pursuit to guard unity in our relationships with one another.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Rom. 14:19)
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3)
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy … (Heb. 12:14)
With the potential of discord in staff evaluations due to what might need to be discussed, certainly a leader should go into that meeting spiritually prepared to respond in a Christ-like, godly manner.
Godly Responses in Staff Evaluations Dependent on the Holy Spirit
The way leaders spiritually prepare themselves is to make sure they’re walking in the Spirit for it is then we “will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Among the fruit of the Spirit, we find peace (Gal. 5:22). So, if we aren’t making every effort, as far as it depends on us, to maintain peace with the person, we obviously haven’t come spiritually prepared.
Here are some suggestions for making sure you are keeping in step with the Spirit to help ensure godly responses in staff evaluations:
- Before going into the staff evaluation, take time to make sure your own heart is right with God, confessing any sin (1 Jn. 1:9), admitting where you have failed to keep in step with His Spirit (Gal. 5:25) in all areas of your life, not just that which might seem relevant to the upcoming evaluation. A plank in our own eye, of any sort, could block our vision, leading us to wrongly deal with what might be wrong in someone else’s life.
- Look over what needs to be shared with the person, and how you plan to share it, to make sure the expectations truly line up with God’s purposes, design, mission, and character as defined in His Word. The Spirit will never contradict God and His Word. Make any adjustments to bring it into alignment.
- Ask God to search your heart (Ps. 139:23-24) to help you see any part you might have had in problems this staff member might be having (i.e., not enough support or training, not enough encouragement, failure to pray for, etc.) and ask God to give you the humble spirit needed to admit your part, seek their forgiveness, and make changes.
- Never go into a staff evaluation without having thoroughly and fervently prayed over all you believe needs to be shared. Pray for Christ-like, godly reactions and responses in both you and the person being evaluated. Depend on God, through His Spirit, to go before the meeting and work in both of your hearts. Depend on Him produce the fruit of peace among you during the meeting, along with love, joy, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Pray His Spirit would guard your hearts and minds after the evaluation so resentment or bitterness has no room to grow.