Leading by listening

Posted: November 6, 2012 by efenster in Ideas

I just served on a Fruitful Congregation Journey consultation team for a local United Methodist church.  My role on the team was to serve as the church’s coach.  I have worked with literally hundreds of churches over the past 17 years, but primarily as a consultant and facilitator.  Coaching requires the art of listening and asking the appropriate questions at the right time.  It’s an art that I plan to continue to learn and practice. 

Last week I had the privilege of hearing George Barna, founder of the Barna Group, speak on leadership.  He said that “one of the most under-valued and least common skills among leaders is listening.”  He went on to ask the following questions:

1. To listen will you commit the time and energy?

2. Are you willing to have your mind changed?

3. Did you consider what they did not say?

4. Can you replay the message and allow them to edit it?

5. How does their message fit your goals or potential?

What questions would you add?  As a leader yourself, won’t you join me in becoming a better listener too?

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

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