June 25, 2007 Most recent posts-

Listening is a Lifestyle

One of the first signs of an endangered leader is a decrease in his/her willingness to hear and learn from the experiences of others. Protection and direction comes from listening, hearing, and aligning with the truth others have to tell us. What are some practical ways we can maintain open communication and "listening" to those with whom we serve?

Some practices that have worked for me include regular brainstorming sessions with my leadership team geared at coming up with innovative solutions. Dialoguing with others in this way removes the blinders we so often unconsciously find ourselves wearing. This works whether I am wearing my executive hat, my teacher hat, or my ministries leader hat.

Setting up a regularly scheduled town hall session with the community at large- whether in a corporate or congregational setting has yielded great results since it keeps eveyone informed of the state of the union. It also empowers people to have a voice. Publication of the notes of such gatherings facilitates an environment where followup and accountability is important.

Listening one on one with a partner- a friend, wife, prayer or accountability partner should be part of our worldview. It's an intentional way to make ourselves vulnerable and open to critique. Critique is different than criticism- In my fine arts background it was important to be a part of the culture of critique and to take it seriously in a give and take manner. That was the key to freshness and creativity in one's work. And humility becomes a valued asset since one is not so ready to take a defensive position.

Listening in the Scriptures implies true hearing- "if you have ears to hear, then hear this"... so taking good notes, putting suggestions down on a "parking lot" pad and later praying and meditating over them for the Spirit to reveal the true reality of the situation (thus aligning with the truth) is another of those "much" resource which the prayers of the righteous avail. That's another way of saying homologeo- confessing and then repenting lest we get hard hearted in even our mundane attitudes. We also need to read widely in order to challenge our preconceived narrow presuppositions. God sends competent voices in so many gracious ways.

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From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/