During these times of uncertainty and frequent change, we need to get as many perspectives on an issue that we can. Employees, our boots in the field, have a very keen perspective of what’s happening that we, as leaders may not. The old expression “you can’t see the forest through the trees” has a lot of validity the further up the ladder you go. As James reminds us, “be quick to listen”; you might be surprised by what you hear. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.
The deeper down you dig, the less polish you’ll find on the things you hear or statements that are made. Listen to what is being said, not how it is being said. Search for the facts, they may not be stated in a way that you’re used to hearing them. Be slow to speak, let the speaker get everything out before you speak. There are times we simply justify why we are doing something or why we can’t change. Resist the urge to become angry in the face of criticism, remember there can be more than one right answer. If you want honest feedback and assessment of a situation from your employees, keep your emotions in check. The employees are giving you a gift, accept it with grace and they’ll do it again. If you don’t accept the gift well, you’ll never get a second chance.
James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we need to heed these words as well. Listen to the words contained in the bible; be slow to speak about why that isn’t realistic or how it’s impossible to follow the example of our savior Jesus Christ. How often do you actually hear the Word, is it only in worship? The Word is a guide for us to learn and apply but it’s hard to do when you only hear it once a week. As you listen to the Word, let the meaning sink in. Look for what is being said beyond the words. Be slow to become angry or frustrated when you read the bible as you compare your life to what you are reading. Don’t feel guilty about how you lead your life or think that acting in a Christ-like manner just won’t work; try it, you might be surprised.