When is the appropriate time to raise your voice? [youtube _5dTdEb7XGk]
For the past two years I've had the opportunity to coach high school football. I had to adjust to the climate a bit when I moved from leading in a non-for-profit ministry to leading in a competitive environment. I quickly discovered that in a competitive environment a raised voice was pretty normal and that sometimes even screaming was required. No, I don't mean belittling some poor kid. What I do mean is that when you're trying to coach a kid from the sideline and they're on the field, the distance requires some screaming.
By nature, I am not a screamer. As an athlete, a coach screaming at me was rarely motivating. Now, however, I can't seem to separate the coach on the field and the coach in ministry. If I am put in a situation to call a group of people to something greater, my voice elevates and I even start pointing (I'm like an Eminem song, the tone just gets louder and louder!)
When was the last time you were passionate enough about something to raise your voice a little bit? Do the people you lead, work with, or volunteer with feel your passion? Do they hear it in your words? Do they see it in your body language?
My insecurities said, "Brad, why did you have to raise your voice?" But the feedback I got was, "That was AWESOME."
So here are some guidelines to decipher when to raise your voice:
WHEN NOT TO RAISE YOUR VOICE:
- When your ego has been hurt
- When you think you're right but no one is listening
- When you think "rattling someone's cage" will cause movement
- When someone has made an honest mistake
WHEN TO RAISE YOUR VOICE:
- When you see injustice
- When you see the powerful potential in someone but they refuse to let it out
- When you are speaking encouragement (Be loud as hell with this one)
- When you are defending the "least of these."
Here is the litmus test to find out whether you are being passionate or just being a jerk: Do you speak encouragement as loudly as you speak criticism?
What do you think? When is the right time to raise your voice and when is it not the right time?