When we talk about conversations, the first thing that will come to your mind will be the speaking part. Speaking is but a part of a conversation. What makes a difference is what is heard, accepted, and internalized, more than what is being said.
According to Krisco (1997), the power of listening gives you the power to be creative and to absorb what other people are saying to you. Learning to manage your ability to listen unleashes your power of speaking. When you treat your listening with the same care and concern you put into your speaking, then your conversations will have the influence and effect you intend.
As a leader, you intend to serve the group you are leading and you intend to be a positive contribution to the world. This is especially if you desire to create a space for a world that works for “you and me.” What does it take really to be a source of contribution? Is it about being good at fixing this? Is it about being a doer? Is it about being and doing the right thing all the time? These things are well and good. But the cause of being able to do these things first and foremost is to simply be present and to genuinely listen to others (Iqbal, 2013).
When you listen without judgment, when you listen without any fixing, listening without being right, then you allow for yourself the ability to be a source of contribution. You need to bring about a listening that keeps the attention on the other person who is doing the speaking and always on the person doing the speaking.
When you are speaking to someone who is in pain, what is your impulse?
Your urge will be to try to fix, to minimize the other person’s suffering, or to give advice. While your intentions are well, you are taking away an important opportunity from the conversation. When you allow yourself to listen, then you become enrolled in the story of the person. True empathy comes this way.
Studying the Word of God is about equipping yourself to live out in practical ways the standard of the Bible. Archbishop Jordan’s book, The Group: Space for Transformation is now available exclusively via the Book of the Month Club.
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How powerful is the word within your group? What change can it create?