I lead a staff meeting every Tuesday morning. Everybody “reports” on what’s going on in their area of ministry. Questions are asked. Plans are made. And then, at the end, I offer a devotional. It is usually from a Daily Devotional on Leadership. Yesterday’s was about listening and how important it is to leadership.
The gist of the devotional was that, to be a good leader you need to be a good communicator. And to be a good communicator, you have to also be a good listener. It stressed that, if people feel you aren’t/don’t listen to them, they lose faith in you as a leader. The devotional stressed that we should look at our life and evaluate how well we do and don’t listen.
I agreed completely with the devotional. But, I gave them more concrete ways to evaluate their listening skills. I said that, if you find yourself saying things like, “That was great, but do you know what would have made it better?” or “If only you would THIS (what I say), things would be better”, you really aren’t listening- you’re simply waiting to talk and tell them how smart YOU are. People are prone to stop telling you things if you always want to “fix” them and you ALWAYS know what they need.
Further, if someone is trying to say something and you find yourself, knowing what they are saying is wrong, interrupt them and say something like, “No wait. Stop. LISTEN.” and then, once you have stopped them, you proceed to correct them- tell why you are right and they are wrong, you are NOT listening. How ironic, in your frustration over THEM not listening (you even tell then to LISTEN), you are guilty of the EXACT same thing.
If you want to be a better leader, be a better communicator. And if you want to be a better communicator, be a better listener. It may take a little longer, but life with others is a collaborative effort, and they simply DO take longer. But in the end, they make the organization stronger.
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