At the Easter Mass on Saturday, the priest in his sermon requested his parishioners to reflect on the meaning of the Holy Week and the realities of the world we live in.
On one hand, he spoke of the sacrifice which Jesus made and then caustically talked of the ‘shoe’ culture we see around us, referencing the recent trend of dissatisfied people throwing shoes to showcase their protest – journalists at the former US president George Bush, India’s Home Minister P C Chidambaram and politician Naveen Jindal.
I was impressed by his understanding of ‘external’ media and its influences on ‘internal’ communication – in this case a pastor’s sermon to his parishioners. The referencing had it advantages. The knowledge of the communicator (the priest) of current affairs and creating a ‘hook’ to hold his audience’s attention is of relevance for internal communicators. By staying in touch with the realities of the world, he highlighted his interest in what goes on over and beyond his ‘small universe’. This openness to change and flexibility to learning will help any leader to gain trust and acceptance.
These are fantastic qualities to exhibit considering even the priest has challenges of ‘engaging’ and ‘retaining’ his flock! There are enough and more ‘diversions’ (read: vices) that can derail his honest efforts. As a leader, he needs to maintain constant upward and peer level communication channels alive through regular meetings, newsletters and events all with the support of his parishioners.
Be it a church in a village or an organization in our city, the leader’s role in articulating and retaining interest in messages is vital to his or her survival.