Have you ever been taken by surprise when a colleague suddenly does or says something? It brings you up with a jolt and illustrates how little you knew of the person at the next desk.
Sometimes it’s a pleasant surprise when you realise that he or she has
just completed the London Marathon, brought in a huge amount of
business or invented a brilliant device for the company. At other times
it’s not so pleasant when an affair, underhand deal or some criminal
activity comes to light revealing a side of your colleague that you never
“Be quick to listen and slow to speak”, is a quote from the book of
James. In fact the bible is full of information about listening skills. Listening is a
great skill and when used well becomes a gift from the listener to the
speaker. It communicates care, value, and interest. It also creates
understanding and trust. So rare is good listening that people are
drawn to it almost subconsciously. Many an unpleasant surprise can be
prevented by good listening and many a crisis can be averted.
It’s also fascinating. It unearths all kinds of gems in the characters
around us at work. No wonder managers are sometimes sent on
courses to develop their listening skills. A manager who listens will get
the best out of his or her team
James was the younger brother of Jesus. He almost certainly worked
with Jesus in the carpentry business. He had the opportunity to get to
know the most intriguing colleague in history, yet it wasn’t till after the
death of his brother that he became a follower.
Maybe he encouraged others to listen with a tinge of regret that he
didn’t listen enough to his older brother when he had the chance.
Who knows what you might learn from your co-worker today – if you
19My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
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