Thursday, May 16, 2024

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Dear Pastors


Leaders talk a lot. That’s neither a negative or a positive…….. its simply what we do. Building solid connections, inspiring the team, and the ability to articulate a path to move forward are only some of the things we do day in and day out. Pastors on average talk even more than the average leader because we get to say somewhere between 3500---4000 words most Sunday mornings of the year. Talking is our gig and by and large we are very good at it.

However, listening is much harder but just as important. As a matter of fact, when it comes to effective communication, active listening is essential. Active listening is when we are listening to understand not just to reply. It involves much more than just hearing the words. It involves careful attentiveness, empathy and the regulating of your own emotions especially if what we are hearing is hard to hear.

Active listening is really tested when the person we are interacting with is giving us some personal feedback. These conversations are never easy but ever so important as these quotes point out:-

If you stop listening, don’t be surprised when people stop talking”. Andy Stanley

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things”. Winston Churchill

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry”. James 1:19 (NLT)

So, feedback is good for us. It’s a bit like eating brussel sprouts. As Ken Blanchard famously said, “feedback is the breakfast of champions”. It’s a great analogy. Champions in whatever sporting endeavour depend on a coaches evaluation and feedback which often times is not delivered particularly gently or delicately. But that is another subject for another day.

Active listening has much to be commended:-

1. Builds trust and strong relationships.
2. Helps you resolve conflict.
3. Provides you with greater understanding about an issue.
4. Makes you more self-aware…..hopefully.

The leader that learns to humbly listen to friend, foe and critic will ultimately be the champion.


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