“What Did You Say?”
Three Essential Steps in Communicating Effectively

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Published June 2022

CBF Biblical Leadership Principle for the Month of June 2022
By Rev. Dr. Don More
Executive Director Executive Director
Canadian Christian Business Federation

At times, communication can seem like two ships passing in the night! The leader states what he thinks is well understood, while the employee hears what he thinks the leader said only to find out that the message was completely misunderstood.

The bottom line is a leader must first listen carefully in order to learn another’s perspective before leadership can be effective. Looking into scripture, we find these three essential steps of LISTEN – LEARN – LEAD for effective communication.

1. Listen
The skill of listening is tough to develop because we’re so intent on saying what’s on our minds that we don’t even consider what’s going on in another person’s mind. Out of frustration with His people, God told Isaiah how they would respond to his message:

And he said, “Yes, go. But tell my people this: ‘Though you hear my
words repeatedly, you won’t understand them. Though you watch
and watch as I perform my miracles, still you
won’t know what they mean.’
Isaiah 6:9 (TLB)

Taking time to listen to another person genuinely is a gift of seeking their best interests before your own. Asking clarification questions about what they are expressing will build understanding, which will result in a relationship of trust and respect. This is essential for quality communication. Proverb throws out this warning:

To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
Proverbs 18:13

Ask a colleague privately to observe your listening skills
in a group meeting and then to suggest ways
to improve your skill.

2. Learn
The more you listen, the more you will learn about another person’s thinking and frame of reference. In fact, with those insights, what you had intended to say may need some modification for your message to be fully understood.

Not taking time to learn cannot only lead to misunderstanding but also frustration and even anger, as James so aptly pointed out:

Everyone should be quick to listen
slow to speak and slow to become angry,
because human anger does not produce
the righteousness that God desires.
James 1:19-20

Taking time to learn the perspective of another, may lead to changing the message, the timing of its delivery or even how it’s communicated. This will increase the likelihood of the message being fully understood, increasing the value you have for one another.

How much time have you taken to really listen
and learn more about your employees?

3. Lead
Time is well spent listening and learning from your employee because it equips you to lead in ways you couldn’t before. In addition, the employee feels they are being heard, respected and understood. Following your lead will become more natural and comfortable rather than being stress-filled and even a struggle.

You can become wise and even more respected as a leader by listening and learning with humility. James put it this way:

Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let them show it by their good life, by deed
done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
James 3:13

When you find your leadership lacking in its effectiveness
take time to listen and learn from each person on the team
for that time will be well-spent opening new
channels of communication.

Don Moore
Executive Director Canadian Christian Business Federation

Don strongly believes that people are our nation’s most valuable asset. His Listen-Learn-Lead” approach to leadership has made him highly effective in executive roles in a variety of organizations with local, regional, national, and international reach.

An entrepreneurial thinker and strategist, Don built a grassroots movement of denominational and ministry leaders committed to evangelism with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and led a National Consultation in Ottawa.

Canadian Christian Business Federation
5792 Eighth Line East
Ariss, ON N0B 1B0