“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” Pr 18:15 NIV
The story’s told of two Irishmen out hunting, when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911. Frantically, he tells the operator, “Paddy is dead! What can I do?” The operator says, “Just take it easy. First let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line and says, “Okay, he’s dead, now what?” When you are under pressure you can fail to hear what’s being communicated, and the results can be fatal. So: (1) In order to lead people you must first understand them. You must have insight into the human heart. Sensitivity toward the hopes and dreams of people is essential for connecting with people and motivating them. (2) Listening can keep problems from escalating. Good leaders are attentive to small issues. They pay attention to their intuition. Not only do they listen to what’s being said, they also hear what’s not being said. They are secure enough to ask for honest feedback, and not become defensive when they receive it. (3) Listening establishes trust. Dr. David Burns, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “The biggest mistake you can make in trying to talk convincingly, is to put your highest priority in expressing your own ideas and feelings. What people really want is to be listened to, respected, and understood. The moment they are, they become more motivated to understand your point of view.”
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