Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Servant Leadership...Listening!

       Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. (Prov. 19:20)

Hello everyone! I wanted to get started on a series of posts that emphasizes servant leadership. You can find  part one here. I want to resume this series on servant leadership by breaking down the 10 principles of servant leadership.

Let's begin with the first principle, listening. Here's the summary of our first principle:

Listening - Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are communicating. 

Listening is a skill that very few people master successfully. I must admit, listening is somewhat of a challenge to me because I often become very outspoken when talking about a subject that I'm passionate about. I'm sure I'm not the first nor the last when it comes to this "struggle". I have heard this saying a number of different times...

"Listen more...talk less. That's why God gave us two ears and one mouth for." 

As comical as it sounds to us, there is an amazing amount of truth behind it especially as it relates to servant leadership. In the above summary on listening, it makes mention of how leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision making skills. As important as it is for those skills to be constantly reinforced, we must always be mindful of constantly being able to listen to not only those around us, but equally (and sometimes more importantly) be able to listen to one's "inner voice". 

From a christian's perspective, how are we able to listen to "one's inner voice"? 

Great question as far as I'm concerned. Here's two thoughts that have come to my mind when it comes to listening to one's inner voice.

1)PRAYER IS A MUST! -  Ideally, we want to begin and close our day in prayer. When we open our day in prayer, it provides us an opportunity to not only thank God for giving us a new day, which is great, but we give ourselves an opportunity to be able to listen to God more clearly as He maps out His plan for our day. THE ABILITY TO LISTEN IS CRITICAL HERE!  Simply put, if we fail to listen to God, you might as well expect all sorts of chaos to unfold throughout your day. When we end the day in prayer, we give ourselves an opportunity to be grateful for the day, the moment of prayer will also help us to reflect on what happened throughout the day as well as be able sleep a whole lot better too. Read Psalms 4.  Meditating in God throughout the day comes in handy too. 

2)LISTEN TO OTHERS...AND LISTEN WELL! - The Bible tells us in Proverbs 24:6  that there is safety in the multitude of counselors. In my honest opinion, it is one thing to surround yourself with people that think they know what's in your best interest. It's a totally different ballgame altogether when you can surround yourself with like-minded individuals who is connected to the source of all wisdom, God Himself. I don't know about you, but I really wanna get connected (and grounded) with like-minded people who are connected (and grounded) to God Himself. As a couple, Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 will also come to mind. I'm sure there are plenty of other verses that can be found to apply the art of listening in other settings, such as a small group. The relationship between Jesus, the ultimate servant leader, and His disciples come to mind.

No matter what kind of environment we find ourselves in relationally, the ability to listen is extremely important if we are to be successful in our relationships no matter what kind of relationship we are in. On a more personal note, I'm extremely thankful to my heavenly Father for surrounding me with so many wonderful people that I can call friends (and counselors). I would not be the person that I am today without God using these individuals to refine, rebuke, and encourage me whenever I get to proud (self-righteous) or too down on myself (low-self esteem). 

What have you been able to achieve in your life as you have learned the art of listening to God and to others?

Feel free to share your thoughts below my awesome friends! Thanks again for reading this far too! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! Jesus loves you and so do I!!!...:-)