If you are a leader or want to be one, do at least one thing well – LISTEN. As I am personally leading a new ministry initiative these past three months, I have had to do a few things. One of the most important is to initiate conversations in order to ask questions and listen to others, including those who have gone before me. Knowledge is gained. History is learned.. Perspectives, philosophies, and ongoing expectations are understood if we would make the priority and take the time to listen.
When starting something, or continuing something someone else started, I find it incredibly helpful to meet with everyone I can, especially the previous leader, to gain as much insight and knowledge as possible about what the other person knows. It baffles me when leaders don’t practice this. Granted, some items you’ll hear are healthy and helpful. Other things, not so much. However, there is much to be said about gaining some background about a church, a ministry, a person, a business, etc…. Be thorough. Be objective. Listen to what he or she is not saying. The alternative would be to create your own “thing” all on your lonesome either because you think you can or that you think you know it all..
Why wouldn’t you listen to others who have been in the shoes you now occupy? You don’t have to agree with everything they did or think. Transitions or new adventures are often tremendous windows to tweak things. The insights you gain might spare you some unnecessary pain going forward. All the while, keep in mind that everything can be improved upon except heaven. Heaven is un-improvable! Yet, become a specialist at listening well. You might actually learn something you did not know which in turn could help you be a stronger, smarter, more Christ-like leader.