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What’s the most important thing I’ve heard today?

A local leader shared an encounter he had with an employee.

He said:

I sat with someone who worked for me the other day. I had an errand to run, and I wasn’t planning on spending an hour with this young man. I wasn’t happy with his performance. When we hired him, he seemed like he was going to be a superstar. He wasn’t a bad employee. He wasn’t doing anything wrong,  but he wasn’t being ‘great.’ We expected him to be great when we hired him. He was good, barely good. He was better than average, but who wants to hire average? We’ve got a lot of employees and average employees are OK, but we wanted this guy to be a rock star. As I sat with him, he opened up. He shared things that were keeping him from being great. He explained why he was have difficulty working with some people. He shed light on some of the things people around him were doing to hold him back. I saw some things I could help him with. I saw ways I could leverage my position to advance him in his. I don’t know if he’ll ever be great, but the potential we saw when we hired him is still there. We aren’t giving up on him yet. We are going to work to help him get better. I want winners on my team. I want people who are going to reach and stretch things. Sometimes they’ll reach far and fall, and other times they’ll stretch hard and snap, but at least they’re trying. At least, they are striving for greatness. I don’t want to be comfortable with a mildly good employee. Listening helps me help others to be greater. Listening to this young man was more important than anything I could say to him.

Christian leaders are always trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. We spend hours preparing for sermons, speeches, meetings and classes. We teach, we preach, we consult and we counsel. We make our living talking. It comes easily, and we work hard at it. Will all this talking we forget how to listen. Jesus taught lessons and He asked questions. He asked questions because He cared. He let people talk because He wanted to hear their hearts and because they need to say things. People have things they need to talk about. They have things to say that we need to hear.

Do we keep our mouths closed long enough to listen? Do we close our mouths so that we can open our ears?

When we listen we get better information to help us solve problems, and better communication helps us connect with people. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. The best thing to do can be to listen. Listening to people refines our focus. It forces us to see the problems before us.

Our spouses have something to say. Have we listened to that employee we aren’t pleased. Do we know what are kids went through today?

When you end the day ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing I’ve heard today?”

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