How often do we say “how ‘ya doing?” to others with good intention, but while hurried or focused on something else as we pass by them? However, if we do stop briefly, and concerns are voiced, do we later seek them out to connect in meaningful dialogue? As much as it’s possible, as leaders we should not be distracted, disinterested, or disengaged whenever we encounter command personnel, family members, or others.
Our leadership style should mirror the kind of engaged, caring, and authentic servant leadership as passionately lived out by Jesus Christ. During His time on earth, sometimes people came to Jesus and engaged Him. Other times, He initiated conversation with them. But the epitome of our Lord’s care, concern, and compassion could always be encapsulated as, “How ‘ya doing? How can I help you?”
Men and women will follow a leader who cares about them. Military personnel salute and obey a senior rank. But it’s a servant leader they admire and will follow anywhere. Recall the Roman centurion, a military leader of 100 soldiers, who sought Jesus’ help for his paralyzed servant suffering at home. Or the leper who broke through the crowd to kneel before Jesus for His cleansing touch (Matthew 8:1-5).
The two blind men along the roadside repeatedly cried out to Jesus for mercy despite the crowd’s rebuke. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked when He stopped. “We want to see,” they responded. Jesus in His compassion reached out to them by restoring their eyesight. And they followed Him (Matthew 20:34).
In interpersonal encounters, do we too often commence talking and telling what we think before we really listen to the other person? It has been said that effective evangelism is more about listening than talking. Jesus frequently asked questions. He listened, engaged, drew out, and dialogued with people. The key to His deep care of others was the way He stopped, looked, and listened to them.
Likewise, we should first listen to learn of their personal needs, understand their life questions, or even appreciate their faith questions, doubts, or objections.