Striving to be a wise and attentive leader

Talking AND listening with World Concern President, Dave Eller at CRISTA's 2011 Summer Picnic
Talking AND listening with World Concern President, Dave Eller at CRISTA's 2011 Summer Picnic

Proverbs 1:20 “Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech.”

I can’t think of a better thing to seek after, or to pray for, than wisdom.  Especially if you are a leader who is called upon to make decisions every day.  In the first chapter of Proverbs, this verse outlines a simple truth—wisdom is readily available to us. She calls out every day in public places, she cries aloud on the street corners.  For many years I have struggled to understand this passage along with the many others like it in the great book of Proverbs. I had always thought of wisdom as a mysterious gift that God gives us. Even so, I somehow sensed this “mysterious” wisdom is probably not the whole picture.

More recently I’ve started hearing a lot about listening as a key trait of a leader. In reality though, this concept isn’t a new one for me. I have heard this for a long time and simply not recognized it as an essential component for every leader. The concept of listening even made the list of Dr. Steven Covey’s7 Habits of Highly Effective People. For me, the path to being a more attentive listener continues to be quite the journey.

One thing I am discovering is that listening well, comes from within—when we  develop a deep curiosity about other people’s perspectives, because we believe that each person is unique, valuable and has insights that we may not see immediately.  Most people will share their thoughts with you openly and freely if they believe you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and—now this is important—if you stick with the conversation until it is over.

This idea of truly listening presents a fundamental personal problem.  It is the lifelong battle between humility and pride. If you really care more about your own ideas, point of view, and feelings, it will be difficult to sincerely tune in to others.  Most of us struggle with pride. Give it up! Get over it! If you want wisdom, humility is the way to go.

So my take-away is that wisdom is readily available. Every place we go, we need to have our ears perked up and eyes wide open to start tuning in. Just as God speaks to us through other people; wisdom is calling us through others.

Wisdom is readily available if you want it!

Bob Lonac

Bob Lonac
President & CEO
CRISTA Ministries

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