When Wise People Act Like Fools

3 Feb

One of the most common ways leaders hurt people is by giving solutions without a clear understanding of what the problem actually is.

There are reasons for that I suppose.

Leaders are go getters. They are problem solvers. They have a history of working with people. They didn’t get where they are by sitting on their hands.

But please.

People are coming to you because they assume you are wise, but to answer a matter before you hear is not wise at all.

It is folly and shame to you.

In other words, it is not just dumb, it is embarrassing.

How can we change?

Develop a habit of asking questions and listening to answers.

Be careful that you are not only hearing what you want to hear. Asking questions with your mind made up is almost as bad as not asking questions at all.

Slow down. Yes things need to get done, but with people, patience really is a virtue. Try not to make judgments that will have wide ranging effects without at least speaking to all parties.

Don’t give a solution until you can describe the way everyone involved would explain the problem. In their own words, without your predetermined slant.

Be careful not to look down on people just because they are different than you. Be careful not to make determinations of people solely based on gossip you have heard from others.

I know for the person with a lot on his plate, it is much easier just to make snap decisions about people and problems without much investigation, but it has the potential of devastating people for whom Jesus died and while you may be an important person, Jesus is more important and what He wants is more important than what you want, so even if it isn’t really your personality to listen carefully to people, please, before you start throwing out solutions, DO everything you can to truly understand what the problem actually is.

One Response to “When Wise People Act Like Fools”

  1. Kathy February 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    Awesome insight, Josh! Thanks for reminding us that no matter how much you know, loving listening is more important!

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