The Every Day Leader: The Art of Listening

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I watched her as she thought about just how she was going to convince her mom to allow her to have another piece of candy…before dinner.  After all, it seemed rational since we had an Easter egg hunt in the yard earlier and found eggs filled with candy.  Her eyes seem to twinkle as she approached her mother with her reasoning. I also really enjoyed watching her face as her mother took the time to listen to her  ‘why’.

I was reminded of the importance for all of us to see the other person’s perspective.  It may not seem to be the right perspective to us; but the bigger picture is the message of what transpires during that time of listening.

My little granddaughter felt heard.

For that moment, she felt important and valued.  It didn’t even matter if she didn’t get the answer she wanted, because the message she took away was that her thoughts mattered.

Her mother had the wisdom to understand that.

It’s what we do as every day leaders.  We understand the importance of not only listening to someone when they are hurting, but listening to them when they are expressing their opinions – even if they are different from ours.

By listening, we send a message that we value them.

Listening takes time.  Sometimes, time is hard to give.  Every day leaders learn the skill of taking the time, hearing and listening; but also the art of boundaries when needed.

Most of all, we learn to give the message that people matter. 

We show this not just by our words,  not just by our actions, but sometimes by taking the time to sit quietly and listening to them.  This is true, even if it is a crazy idea like candy before dinner! 

How are your listening skills?  Have you taken the time to listen to another’s opinion lately?  Do they feel valued?

Every day leaders choose to listen.  They intentionally choose to make another feel valued, showing them that their opinion matters.  Every day leaders choose to influence – making a difference in the lives of those around us.

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The Every Day Leader: Indecisiveness is a killer

There it was.. a squirrel lying in the middle of the road. Lying on his back with his little legs sticking straight up. 

It was as if he was caught totally off guard….

How many times have you seen a squirrel lying in the road?  Fairly common isn’t it?  We have all witnessed them stopping suddenly as if they are paralyzed for that moment of crisis when they see the car coming at them…trying to make the decision which way they should go.  What I have noticed is the ones that actually make a decision are usually the ones that make it.  Those that waver in their indecisiveness often don’t fare as well!

Making decisions is something we all have to do, some of us struggle with this more than others, simply because of the way we are wired.  In the end, as everyday leaders it really DOES matter how we make our decisions. What we don’t often realize is the effect of NOT making a decision in a timely manner. Being indecisive can catch us even US off guard with unexpected consequences. Just like the squirrel in the middle of the road, our indecisiveness can have devastating effects on our own personal lives, those we lead or the ministries or businesses that God has entrusted us to oversee. 

Taking time to think through and act wisely is indeed important.  Taking too long can be disastrous, just as much as making a rash decision without thinking it through.  How are you at making decisions?  Do you drag your feet?  Are you afraid of making a wrong move?  Are you someone who thinks more of pleasing others than making the hard choices? Do you simply make them quick to get it over with without really looking at all aspects?  Don’t be caught off guard!  Take the time to look at the big picture – but don’t stay there, waffling.  Be the intentional leader; be wise in how you respond to situations.

What are you facing today?  Is it something in your personal life that may be affecting your influence on others?  Is there something that you are facing in your organization?  As you look at the decision facing you, may you first think about how you, as an everyday leader make decisions.  It is never too late to improve how we do things.  Choose to be a better leader!

The Every Day Leader:  Living a life of intention.  Making a difference in the lives of others.