Wise leaders listen to wise people. Because the people we listen to impact our decisions, our attitudes and our perceptions, it is critical that we listen to the right people. A leader who listens to the wrong people is just as foolish as a leader who doesn’t listen at all. Here are four types of people leaders must not listen to:
1. Those without character
The Scripture teaches us, “How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked” (Psalm 1:1). One sure way to rob your life and leadership of joy is to allow those without character to influence your decision-making.
2. Those without courage
When David committed adultery with a married woman, Bathsheba, he asked men in his palace to go and get her. They pointed out that she “is the wife of Uriah” but lacked the courage to refuse the request that would destroy a season of David’s life. If leaders listen to people without courage, they are only listening to people who tell them what they want to hear. Never receiving correction may be good for the leader’s ego, but it is horrible for the leader.
3. Those without compassion
The 12 tribes of Israel were restless after Solomon’s death, and an influential leader (Jeroboam) from the northern tribes approached Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) on behalf of the people. The people wanted Rehoboam to lighten the load of forced labor. The elders, those with wisdom, encouraged Rehoboam to serve the people and to speak with kindness, but young men who served Rehoboam, men who did not care for the people, encouraged him to declare that the load would be heavier and he would be harsher. He listened to their counsel, the people rebelled and the nation split. Leaders exist for people, so leaders who listen to those without compassion will eventually forfeit their leadership.
4. Those without commitment
Leaders will never lack for people willing to offer their advice and opinions. But many of these people are not committed to the ministry, the organization or the team. Some lob directives or critiques without a deep commitment to the mission of the team. Wise leaders only listen to those who are committed to the team and her mission.