Saturday, August 4, 2012

Listening is the Sincerest form of Flattery

Listening, not imitation, is the sincerest form of flattery.” (Joyce Brothers)

When I asked students about the best leader they ever known (so far), one quality is always stand out very obvious is that – most of them are good listeners. I’m not surprise because the very people that I admire most are also good listeners. When you talk to them, they respond by keeping focus on us; not themselves. If you express a concern to them, they don’t express their concern as a reply (like ‘bad-listeners’ always did) but eagerly listening to yours’.

My senior, one of leaders that I admire most, Annette Arulrajah, also my counseling teacher taught us, “Sometime I myself don’t know how to help people… I simply listen to them… to just be there for them and love them… listen… try to provide a safe place where people can come and just share what’s in their mind knowing that you’re not there to judge but to be a friend who listens.” Okay, she might not say exactly that (oh, just my audible memory) – but the essence is very clear here: Be a good listener.

Ken Blanchard in his book We Are the Beloved writes, “If God had wanted us to talk more than listen, He would have given us two mouths rather than two ears.” Agree. His point is that God wanted us to spend twice as much time listening than talking. But let me add some more: I think, God knew, since He is the Creator, that listening was twice as hard as talking. Proverbs 12:15 reminds, “A fool thinks he needs no advice, but a wise man listens to others.”

And you know what? People are hunger for those who would spend time to sit down with them and listen. William Shakespeare once said, “Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.

The first step to wisdom is silence; the second is listening.

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