“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” Bernard Baruch
Talking is so much easier. When we are talking, we do not have to listen to the blah, blah, blah of people’s lives. We never get sucked into the vortex of people’s problems. There is no need to become vulnerable to our own inadequacies.
Worse still, when others are talking, we do not really listen. Instead, we think about what we want to say and we wait just long enough for the other person to draw breath so we can start talking.
Perhaps this is why people are more comfortable with talking.
The idea of today’s thought presents an interesting dichotomy because success is the outcome for those who do more listening. What is needed to help us become better listeners?
Remember, someone came to us because it was important and they trust us.
Remove distractions that prevent us from focusing on the other person.
Repeat what was heard to verify the accuracy of the message communicated.
These three steps will help make listening a successful adventure.
An old Chinese proverb claims that “limitations are the boundaries we place in our minds.” What do we consider impossible? Certainly, what is impossible for one person may not always be for another.
Added to this complexity is the inclusion or exclusion of God. While we claim that all things are possible with God, do we really believe it?
We say we have faith, then turn around and place limitations on what we hope to accomplish because it has not been done before. Do we really believe?
We quote Scripture regarding God’s ability “to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us,” yet stop short of great achievement because we cannot figure out how to do it in our minds. Do we really believe?
Since God is our strength and He made us fellow-workers in His kingdom, we need to stop thinking in the realm of impossibility. Either God is able or He is not. We are simply a tool. Maybe if we stopped talking and moved out of the way, God would do some incredible things.
Numerous books share a common thread when considering the subject of “spiritual formation.” Ecology, social justice, human dignity, community awareness, liberation, and tons of issues often come to the forefront of this discussion.
While these are important issues and worthy of our consideration as Christians, the light of the world; our participation in these issues alone does not result in spiritual formation.
Spiritual formation must involve the following:
1) God: Is it possible to have spiritual formation without God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the Giver of life?
2) Holy Spirit: We are limited in knowing the depths of the Holy Spirit’s role and activity, but what we find in Scripture is rich for spiritual development.
3) Jesus: He is the cornerstone of our building, without whom our growth into a spiritual house – built on this foundation – could not occur.
4) The Word: All of the above come together in perfect harmony to provide one book to guide us in the kind of spiritual formation needed to complete and perfect us for every task.
These four components are unequivocally essential to spiritual formation.
Whether written or spoken, this week’s word involves brevity and clarity. The ability to speak or write succinctly is learned, yet challenging.
Students often express a love for essay questions because of the opportunity to write enough “fluff” to possibly get the right answer. Sadly, our approach to leadership can be the same.
Uncertainty and a lack of clarity is often the result of focusing on the minutia of the trivial and an unwillingness to be direct. When we finish, no one seems to know what was communicated.
Here are a few suggestions to strengthen our succinctness in communication.
Think deeply. We are masters at allowing our words to flow with nothing to stop the thought developed in the mind and the formation on the tongue.
Write it down. This applies to written communication, but how beneficial would it be to write down our thoughts before we say them?
Edit. If there was ever a key word to succinct communication, this is it. Good communication is the result of writing and rewriting and rewriting until we are succinct.
These ideas lay the foundation for a key component to our leadership.
As we enter the last week of January, resolutions are a distant memory for most. By their influence, leaders share a perspective that needs to be considered when looking at resolutions worth keeping.
A recent Forbes article provides a final resolution to consider: get in touch with newer and emerging technologies.
Being a great leader is not contingent upon using or keeping up with emerging technology. There may be many leaders who never use current technology, past or present. This post is not for this leader.
We cannot deny, however, the incredible opportunities we have to use technology for developing and enhancing our leadership. Tools are available to provide training, mentoring, guidance, and encouragement that change the direction of leadership around the world.
If we remain complacent to these tools and opportunities, doing things the way they were done 50-75 years ago, the fact is we may have some influence.
However, if we have the opportunity to utilize the tools of technology to influence thousands, if not millions more, will God not hold us accountable for such? Something to think about!
“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” Wanda Skyes
Today’s thought is one designed to purely move us into action toward the areas of life where we are most passionate.
Too many people are involved in a career, job, or other activity that is filled with drudgery. They find it challenging to get out of bed and drag themselves through the day.
Life is too short to participate, by choice, in any area of life that we are not passionate about. When the direction of our life is purposed by our passion, we are excited to get up and go. The days fly by with a joy that cannot be touched by external circumstances.
This is not to say we can avoid experiencing bad days, disappointment, discouragement, or sadness. No matter what happens, however, the big picture of life is one filled with love and joy, one characterized by the satisfaction of purpose, value, and hope.
What are we passionate about and are we doing it?
To be “in sync” involves a leaders’ experience of harmony between their life (thoughts, intentions, goals, aspirations, actions, ideas, etc.) with the lives of others, especially those who are led.
Sadly, leaders often move in one direction while everyone else moves in a different direction. The result causes friction, confusion, confrontation, and potential division.
What can be done? How can leaders work with others in ways that leave both feeling “in sync?” Here a few suggestions.
Listen. The idea of active listening involves the ability to listen with the head and heart. Leaders must listen to what is said, how it is said, and understand why.
Equip. One of the most important and urgent requisites includes equipping others with the tools to accomplish the task. Frustration is eliminated when people feel ready to do the job.
Motivate. A leaders’ role to encourage others is key to working on the same page. Everyone wants and needs to know they contribute value to the process. Encouragement helps inspire the work.
Reward. When the job is done well and reaches its end, the achievement deserves a time to celebrate the victory.