I ran into one of my friends from a long time ago. We were both excited to see one another and of course had a million things that each of us wanted to share. I was sooo tempted to talk forever and let him know all the good stuff that was going on in my life. But then I remembered what John Maxwell said about listening to others. Leaders learn to listen intently and actively. And so I did what did not come natural to me. I listened to him and asked questions and had a genuine and sincere interest in what had been going on in his life for the past several years. When we were done catching up about an hour later, I would have to say he dominated the conversation with about eighty percent of the words. And I must say, I was much more satisfied with learning about him than I would have been telling my story. I mean, I already know MY story. I gained much by listening to his.
I guess my question today is, When is the last time you listened sincerely to someone else’s story? I mean really listened and cared and took a genuine interest in his or her life? You will be surprised all you can learn from others. Whether they are younger, older, smarter, whatever. I would challenge each of us to hold our tongue next time we are in conversation. Try it… it’s harder than you think. We are usually just waiting for our turn to talk. But true leaders take a real interest in others and want to know their stories, for no reason more than simply knowing who they are leading.