What Is Admonishment?

One of the places I find good examples of leadership is the Bible.

Today, I was leading a lesson about a community that was struggling to be effective.  The author Paul offered advice to the leaders. Here’s what he said to the leaders:

  1. Respect your teammates.
  2. Encourage your teammates.
  3. Help your teammates
  4. Admonish your teammates.

I get respect. If you want to be respected, you start with being respectful.

I get encouragement. Being one on the team who notices effort, acknowledges progress and voices affirmation causes one to be a positive force.

Certainly, we get helping. Being one who lends a hand rather than stands off at a distance fosters team building.

But, what about admonishing? What does that mean.

Candidly, I associate the verb with judges, preachers and school principals who correct with a wagging finger as they peer over the top of their glasses. I was puzzled at how that verb fit in with the others.

I looked it up. Admonishment isn’t stern. It isn’t forceful. What is admonishment?

It’s correction with a “light touch”. It’s accepting responsibility to teach again. It’s withholding judgment about ability, character and effort. It’s assuming everyone is trying and wants to learn.

As a leader, when you believe those things, you can admonish. You can offer advice. You can thoughtfully address performance that’s falling short. You can teach and advise with your arm around a shoulder. That’s admonishment.

You can’t admonish without choosing patience. You can admonish when you have confidence in your ability to lead and to teach.

Correct with a soft touch.