Lessons from the Big Chair: Listen

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The church where I serve has been without a pastor since January, and I have had the privilege of serving alongside an incredibly wise, discerning, and experienced interim pastor over the past four months. As that time has drawn to an end and we have a new pastor coming next week, I thought I would spend some time reflecting on a few lessons I learned along the way.

I’ll never forget playing bass at a July 4th concert when I was in college. The band I was in had the opportunity to play as an opener for a Church organized July 4th event. The group playing after us featured an incredible guitar player.

Because he was friends with a couple of guys in our group, he decided to play one or two songs with us, having never played or practiced with us at all, and he nailed it.

I’ve never been the kind of musician who can play by ear, but this guy could. While he was playing some incredible licks, he was also listening to what was happening in the song, and could anticipate what came next.┬áThat was important.

So many times, we get too busy to listen.

And that was one of the most practical lessons I learned during our interim–sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and listen. People want to be heard, to know their voice matters.

Leadership is no different. Until we learn to take the time to listen to what is going on around us, to weigh the possibilities, and to evaluate the potential, it will be difficult to lead other people.

If someone suggests a change and I brush it off as unnecessary without full consideration, then my leadership influence takes a hit.

If someone offers a suggestion and I choose to not even consider it, my leadership influence suffers.

But most importantly, when I take the time to listen to someone’s story, I’m able to understand them better.

If you’re serious about increasing your leadership ability, take time today to listen.

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