A good leader is a good communicator, but a great leader is a great listener.
Now don’t get me wrong and think that I’m saying that the words of a great listener are not important, for they are. True communication requires dialogue, which is talking and listening, listening and talking.
But what we see and feel about what is being said is as important as what we hear—and maybe even more so. Jesus said that words are a good indication of the condition of a person’s heart. (Luke 6:45) The words that we hear often come from distress or fear or anger or jealousy in a person’s heart. This condition works its way to the surface of a life.
If we knew this fact, would it make a difference in how we hear the words and how we react to them? Would it help us see a hidden struggle that might cause someone to say things that they may one day regret? I think it would help a leader, especially if he or she wants to influence someone to find peace in the midst of his or her chaos and despair.
The greatest gift we can give someone can sometimes be to just listen and let him or her work through the process of finding an answer. When the time is right, a right word from us, spoken at the right time, can produce a harvest of fruit to our King’s glory. Wait for the right moment, and when God tees it up for you, speak the words He has given to you.