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Don’t Overlook This Secret to Effective Leadership

As consolers, leaders are comforters, obligers and listeners. Today we take a closer look at what it means to be a listener.

Leaders should set a high priority on developing a listening ear.

Roughly 45 percent of a pastor’s communication each day is spent in listening. The balance, roughly, works out to this: speaking 30 percent, reading 16 percent and writing 9 percent.

Of the total day, about 80 percent is spent in some form of communication. Improvements in the leader’s communication can dramatically improve overall effectiveness.

To listen means to make a conscious effort to hear, to attend closely, to give earnest heed to what someone is trying to communicate.

Listening is the attempt to attach meaning to oral symbols. To truly listen, one must accurately and seriously decode the encoded message of the speaker.

The very heart of the meaning of the word “listen” or “hear” is expressed in the definition of the related Hebrew word. It means to hear intelligently, to hear correctly, and to give careful and diligent attention to the possible hidden meaning.

Leaders must teach themselves, as well as the people, the key to listening and hearing the Lord: a pure heart. It is through a Christian’s pure heart and spirit that he or she hears God.

Here are some characteristics of poor listeners and good listeners. These characteristics will help you see practically how to become a great listener.

Poor listeners:

Tune out subjects they find uninteresting or boring.

Judge the speaker by his or her outward appearance or manner.

Grow overstimulated by one thought of the speaker, so they cannot concentrate on the rest of what the speaker is sharing.

Expend little or no energy or concentration upon the one who is sharing.

Avoid new challenges and do not appreciate the unfamiliar areas the speaker is relating.

Operate with a closed mind; allow emotional words to interfere with a careful evaluation of the situation.

Good listeners:

Search for information to acquire additional insights on how to help a person.

Judge by the content of what is said, rather than the speaker or the speaker’s manner or method.

Withhold emotional reactions until comprehending the whole idea that the speaker is sharing.

Expend much energy on the communicator, and work hard at listening.

Minimize and ignore possible distractions whenever possible.

Listen to all material in its variety, and attempt to see some significance in all of it.

May we as leaders keep our hearts and spirits pure before the Lord so that we can be a good example to the people of hearing the Lord and others. 

From the book, The Making of a Leader. Click here to read more about it!