I had an interesting question recently:
Do you have a “7 ethical things to know if you are going to blog while serving in a local church” blog post?
Although not always as succinct as that one, it’s actually a fairly common question. Basically, how should you blog about—or more popular—speak about problems in leadership when the problems exist where you are currently leading?
When you don’t agree with leadership, but you don’t feel released from your position, is there any way to ethically talk about that?
Well, I would say first and foremost: BE CAREFUL!
That’s a slippery slope. You should know the risks in advance. People likely read your blog that you don’t think read your blog. (And your other social media also.) I previously blogged about ways I blog about current leadership problems.
But, if you must, I do have some suggestions.
Here are five suggestions when blogging about current leadership struggles:
Be humble. God resists the proud. And, as if you need another reason, it’s wrong to be otherwise. You can usually spot a weak or arrogant leader by one who refuses to be challenged. Don’t be that one. And don’t assume your way is the right way. It might be. It might not be.
Be helpful. The reason to blog is not to get your opinion out there. Honestly, not trying to be cute, but who cares if that’s the only reason? Everyone has an opinion. The ethical thing to do is to write in an attempt to help others. That controls many times how you say something as much as what you say.
Be truthful. Whatever you say—say it honestly. Don’t share innuendos. Don’t insinuate hoping people will read more than what you wrote. You can do more harm than good and may implicate and injure people you don’t intend to hurt. If it’s worth sharing—especially if you feel convicted to do so—do it with complete transparency about what you’re talking about. That doesn’t mean you have to name names, but it does mean those who are in the “know” shouldn’t be wondering if you mean them.
Don’t be hurtful. That goes along with the be helpful one, but it merits a stand-alone mention. Don’t try to divide people. Your point may force people to choose. It may indeed divide. But this is not the way to fight a battle. It’s not fair to those above you and it never helps to build a team. It won’t accomplish what you hope to accomplish.
Be general. Again, your goal should be to be helpful. Most people will not care about nor be able to identify with all the unique aspects of your situation. It creates confusion and is harder to translate into another context. The more you can generalize your thoughts, the more others will be able to implement your suggestions.
Those are my suggestions. Sorry I didn’t get to seven.
It should be noted that there may be times the only way you have to express yourself is in writing. I’m talking primarily about settings where the “boss” is not completely out of your reach—you know them. I’m not addressing national issues, for example. But some of these could apply there as well. I personally have a hard time finding the reason to ever use writing as a forum to do harm or cause further division. Seems like we have enough of that.