How to be nice to curates – part ii

Well I got back yesterday from three days in the Surrey countryside looking at the vexed issue of “how to be nice to your new curate” – otherwise known as Incumbent Training.

So what did I learn?

Well lots of different things:

I learnt that a curate is lucky to be in Southwark Diocese as their annual submission to the dicoese on what they have got up to is limited to 7,000 words whereas Oxford diocese is limited to 5kg!

That if you wish to dye your hair you really do need to talk to your incumbent especially if its a catholic parish (you really really ought to know your incumbent may well have strong views)

There are some great incumbents that Donna could have trained with in Southwark. Sorry Donna, you can’t win everytime.

That incumbents really don’t want things to go wrong and we really do wish the curate to succeed but please do remember that we are the boss!

What you cannot say will ‘run’ you. Great piece of advice. It means the thing that you can’t say will dominate your thinking and your actions.

Most curates want a trainer. Someone who wants to know what to do and does the right things. Our role is to help them into a place of being. The doing/knowing side is merely preliminary to becoming. People won’t say “I loved how you held the chalice”, they will say “aren’t they a lovely person” (we hope!).

People never change unless they feel that they have been understood first.

There are two types of Trust. There is Rule-keeping trust: trusting someone to act in a predictable manner. Secondly, Care-giving trust: Trusting someone to look after your interests

There are two groups of leadership style. These are Pulling and Pushing. Pushing is where you will see Prescribing, Directing, Confronting and Informing types of behaviour in your leadership. Pulling is where you will see Catalytic, Releasing, Enabling and Supporting types of behaviour in your leadership. Neither is wrong and people have a default to one or other, but knowing what you are doing allows you to vary styles as appropriate to the person and situation.

Although a curate is a colleague the incumbent is the trainer – and woe-betide them if they forget!!!! And they won’t be able to as there will be a supervision every fortnight!

Forget how your college told you how to modulate your voice or how to preach a sermon that will intellectually satisfy your professors. People don’t give a monkeys about your professor, they want to know if you are human and you can relate to their experiences and that you share something of yourself in the sermon.

Real growth comes from moving from the “I know, I know” to “I Know, I Don’t know” and in doing so we learn “I don’t know, I don’t know”. In other words if we stay in the safety zone of the things that I know that I know we don’t grow and can get stuck. But if we seek answers to things we don’t know we grow and find things out and even learn things that we didn’t even know that we didn’t know! In other words Rumsfeld was right!

No-one knows how the new common tenure contracts will work out in practise. All we know is that none us really like them. It is not thought that 3-4 years would be enough time to get rid of clergy who haven’t been guilty of gross misconduct even though there are now capability procedures available!

Don’t mix motivational and developmental feedback. Motivational feedback is telling someone how well they are doing and what they are doing. You can have 64 pieces of good motivational feedback and if you add a “but” on the end to allow for a developmental piece of feedback then people forget the 64 pieces. Developmental is a piece of feedback that describes what a person could do differently so that they will change what they are doing to build competence. They are different and must be addressed separately.

So welcome Donna. Have a great time!


One comment on “How to be nice to curates – part ii

  1. Sue Cooke
    May 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Thanks – your last two posts have been interesting, challenging and terrifying all at the same time!! But, they are definitely helping me to think about what I want in a curacy, what the real purpose of it is and what to look for in a potential incumbent. I shall pray tho’ that God does not think Oxford would be a good place for me!

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