Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leaders Need to Listen

9 Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear,let them hear.” 10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“ʻthey may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!ʼ [a]” ~ Mark 4:9-12a

Iʼve been toying – at the urging of my wife – to consider getting hearing aids. Not going to happen: too expensive and a little vanity. I know hearing is important but…

By the time you are reading this, I expect the work of the bipartisan “Super Committee” will have come to the prescribed deadline for its task to solve our nationʼs debt crises without resolve. Each side is blaming the other for the mess and no one is listening. And many middle-class citizens are expressing their feelings that neither is or has been listening to them.

Leaders need to listen.

Even if they believe they have all the answers, the clearest vision, the skill and wisdom needed, they still need to listen! As hard as it might be
for them to imagine someone else might have a good idea, they need to listen. It will be interesting to see what happens come election day. Our leaders may find that those who are expected to follow their lead have gone in another direction. A leader cannot be a leader without followers.

To respond to those who ask for a hearing with arrogance or attribute dissension to “thatʼs the way those folks are” are not signs of a true leader.

Of course, no one can lead without a certain degree of authority and power,
but those who wield power with authority must never forget that both of these tools are granted as gifts and signs of trust by those who are being governed.

It started with the milk industry as an advertising slogan and has been used or abused by one group or another ever since. I will continue the practice as I ask leaders of all ilk and party: “Got Ears?”

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