Listen Like a Leader

September 19th, 2022 | Listening
Listen Like a Leader

Excerpted from Chapter 17 of “A Leader After God’s Own Heart” by Navy Seal Charles Crouch

Today’s politics in our great America is a joke to the rest of the world. Our Congress and Senate argue with each other like middle school kids on the playground. Gossiping, contradicting, making fun of people, and finding skeletons in their closet only to air them out in public. Defaming other Americans has become a political tool for gaining a seat in office.

On the other hand, silent pause for  emphasis, what it takes to be a good respected leader has become the opposite of what it takes to get elected to public office. Being elected isn’t to be confused with being a respected leader. One huge part of being a respected leader is being a good listener.

If you’re like me, you carry a ton of ideas and visions around with you. Carrying ideas around with you also comes the urge to tell others about them. Yet listening is what wins people over. I’ve had to learn that “people don’t care what you know until they know you care.” When they know you care, they’re ready to hear what you have to say.

Today I would like you to consider an element of listening that has for the most part gone unspoken. Maybe you’ve heard in the past people suggest that listening has mostly to do with eye contact and body language while someone else is talking. Restating what they told you is a plus for further communication acknowledgment. All that is great and shows a willingness to listen, but today consider the top tier of listening to somebody.

Check it, first and foremost, totally disregard your opinion about the matter and apply yourself to thinking about their position. Put yourself in their shoes, think of yourself with their color of skin. Think about things from their perspective. Most importantly consider yourself wrong about the subject while considering they are right. Throw off all previous knowledge you think you have on the subject and allow yourself to hear them out.

What happens is a whole new dimension of communication that leaders need to utilize, especially politicians. You’ll enter into someone else’s world. You’ll enter their perspective in their body using their eyes. Even while debating the two big no-no’s with friends and family, religion, and politics, you’ll find much success.

Now stop right there! I didn’t say to allow yourself to be persuaded by their opinion. Not at all! I said to listen to them. understanding and knowledge can be derived from others and added to your learning. If you hold on to your own beliefs and presumptions about life, business, and politics, you are limiting yourself.

Marketplace

This is the difference between being the president and being a senator. A senator debates a topic from his side of the aisle. While someone else is talking, they may have their eye contact and body language engaged but they are ready to reply with a right jab and left hook. No transfer of information has really taken place and no understanding has been gained by that senator. Just a waste of time, breath, and words.

Now to be presidential is to hear multiple people and make a decision about the best direction to go in. Listening to all sides is crucial for the top decision-maker to go in the best direction.  so, which are you? a senator or the president? Do you argue back and forth with people, or do you take in all the information and gain understanding?

Listen, true learning and gaining understanding is a big  barrier people place in front of themselves without knowing it. It takes a big drop in your pride to listen. You have to disrobe your ego and humble yourself like a child trying to eagerly learn about the world.

Military Side

Serving as a part of the most lethal units in the world has been one of the highest honors of my life. Yet make no mistake that make it into big boys’ club, you must learn to listen and leave your ego behind. Let me say it differently: you will be kicked out if your ego goes unchecked. A large ego makes you dangerous. In a profession like special warfare, you must allow others to give you advice. A big ego leads to a “do it on my own” attitude. That leads to complacency, and complacency kills.

To train for the teams we practiced many kinds of diving and did our best to perfect them all. Before every tactical combat dive we did, we would have a dive supervisor check. A “sup check” is conducted right before you enter the water by someone qualified to do so. With all the different systems we took into the water with us, it was important to have correctly donned the gear so that it properly works underwater.

Yes, we were knowledgeable about the items we dove with, but we all make mistakes. The check was to make sure we had everything in working order. Are the air tanks on? Do any straps overlap? Is our depth gauge zeroed? Knife strapped on? Weapons? Systems on? Mask and fins ready? Dry suit sealed? Everything was to be systematically checked. Sure, we mostly had things right, but mistakes are often made.

It all has to be in perfect working order before you enter the water. The risk is mission failure or death. Any correction given is received with sincere gratefulness. What’s at stake is life and death, especially when operating under the sea.

Same principle goes during all training. It takes great humility and an ability to absorb what you must to be the best.

Why do we think it is any different when trying to be the best leader possible? Do we think lowering our ego will be perceived as weakness to others? Do we think it’s important to trick people into thinking you have all the right answers already? Being the best takes curiosity for knowledge, and if we don’t throw off what you know, our learning will cease.

Mark Twain said, “What gets us into the most trouble is not what we do not know. what gets us in trouble is what we know for certain to be true that, turns out not to be true.”

Believe me. Listening with intent will catapult you to the top of any group.

Biblical Perspective

So, dig down deep in your soul. What would the reason be that someone doesn’t listen? What are the barriers to listening be? When you find the answer to your resistance, I bet you also find another reason to practice some good old-fashioned sanctification. You know, that thing that happens when you find out you’re not perfect. Paired with “the fear of the Lord,” transformation can happen.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)

Okay, a New Testament commandment to listen and not speak. We should put that in our pocket as a believer. But then our friend in the Lord, the apostle Paul, wrote a letter to the Corinthians. That talks, what I believe, to be a mirrored- listening trait in chapter 12. He talked about spiritual gifts. The list of spiritual gifts looks like this: Wisdom, Knowledge, Prophecy, Healing, Miraculous power, Distinguishing between spirits, Speaking in tongues and Interpreting tongues.

Okay, so great, but what does this have to do with this principle of listening? It’s all in the ending of the chapter, you see, then Paul gives us a little secret:

Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. And yet I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31)

What’s this most excellent way? Love.

If I do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Verse 1 says, “You are only a resounding gong without love.”

What he is saying is that love trumps the entire list of manifestations!

It is an incredible statement if you really ponder it! And he says that if you don’t have love, you cannot “fully know.” In this interesting word “fully know,” Paul links it to love.

So how will you show love and attempt to fully know anything about life under the sun if you don’t listen? Listening really comes out of love.

It is a decision you must make in your core to listen when your followers speak to you. It shows love on the most basic and primal levels.

What most humans do in a conversation is decide before someone talks as to whether they will accept or reject what the other person has to say. That or you decide that you are more intelligent than the other person.

Again, a decision you must make in your spirit before you speak with someone else that you are humble enough to consider them knowledgeable and valuable as a child of God to be respected and listened to.

Activation

Today I have three tasks for you. I want you to ask three different people three different questions.

First ask someone about why they believe in their faith; listen as though they are fully right.

Second, ask someone why they choose to belong to a political party and apply the same listening.

Third, ask someone who looks fit what you should do to get in shape.

Today’s drill isn’t for you to convert to a faith, vote like someone else or get fit. It’s to learn how to learn and discern like a true leader. The barriers inside of you need to fall, and this is practice.

Note from Bob: You can purchase Charles book, “A Leader After God’s Own Heart” by clicking HERE

Charles Crouch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Crouch is genuine, real and in your face. He is not shy to tell you how it is.  Not only is he a former Navy Seal, previous Crossfit gym owner, but also had been in high level security. Serving in the military his heart quickly grew towards family, being a good leader and doing speaking engagements. Charles now leads Truth at Worktable bringing leaders in the work place to a higher level of ownership. His mission, to see you succeed.   You can connect with Charles at CharlesCrouch.com

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