Want to become a good leader? Become a good listener! Here are two stories of what happens when we do not take time to listen. The first is from a young woman hurt by a manager who constantly cut her off: "We expected he would wait and give us answers to serious questions about work. Many times he walked off when we were in mid-sentence, having heard nothing." The next is from a church youth director who was fired: "After serving the Lord there for two years, I was called into an elders' meeting. They took out a list of all the things I had done wrong in the past two years. Most of what they said was true, for I was brand new in this work. Then they called for my resignation. What did I learn? (a) Not once did anyone care enough to coach or shepherd me. (b) I had no idea or warning that I was doing anything wrong. (c) The church leaders never built a relationship with their staff."
Why is it hard for leaders to listen? Because leaders love to talk, and as they gain more authority they think they have less reason to listen. Leaders by their very nature tend to be removed from the front lines of battle. To win, they must constantly listen to those who are in the trenches and rely on that information to wise decisions. Before Ezekiel was qualified to prophesy or lead God's people, he wrote: "I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed. At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me" (Ezekiel 3:15 - 16).