Between The Lines Leadership #leaders

After over 20 years of ministry/leadership I have learned that just because someone says or does something that does not necessarily mean they are actually saying or doing what they literally think. It’s crazy, but it is so true. People make statements all the time – but there are always statements within a statement. Learning to read between the lines is a critical component of leadership.

It would be nice if we lived in a world were we could take what people say or do at face value – but we cannot always read the motives of peoples lives – so we must learn to read between the lines. It’s not an easy task – but vital. To be honest, there are times when I misread between the lines and there are other moments when I read well and it spared a lot of heartbreak.

Leaders must read between what others say.

You may have had someone come to you and say, “I heard a few people … {fill in the rest for your situation},” only to find out they were the only one who had that opinion. I have discovered that just because someone says it does not mean others are joining in their supporting cast.

Jesus had the amazing capacity to read between the lines. Listen to what Scripture says, “Jesus knew their thoughts …” (Matthew 12:25). Strong leaders have to find ways to not just hear what someone says, but know why they say it.

Leaders must read between what others reveal.

Too many leaders just accept when someone tells them something. I always try and figure out why this person told me this bit of information. I remember one person letting me know that “others were talking about me” and they just had to tell me. I asked a few questions, but never asked them for names. This individual tried to move their way into my inner circle by giving me information. I find out later that this person was the one talking about me.

Check the source. Don’t just embrace the details people give you. Fact check. Dig deeper. Ask questions.

Leaders must read between what others forget.

This is huge. There are some people that use forgetfulness as an excuse. “I forgot to tell you.” “I forgot about that meeting.” Oh man, this one drives me nuts. When people forget – read between the lines – it was not that important! Nothing pushes me to the limits when I am in a meeting and someone is not writing anything down. It simply says, “I don’t need to remember.”

Some people just use “I forgot” as an excuse for their laziness or incompetence!

Leaders must read between what others do.

Many years ago I had someone shower me with gifts. They were so kind – it seemed. Their motives were revealed when they started trying to direct my leadership. They used what they did to try and change what I would or would not do.

Every leader must be aware of the reality that not everyone’s intentions are right. That’s why we need to read between what others do.

The secret to long-term
leadership is discernment!

Every leader must learn to walk in discernment. It is a lost art in today’s world. Discernment is the spiritual gift to read between the lines of what others say, reveal, forget and do. Unless a leader has strong discernment they will get blindsided every time.

Leaders must see what others cannot & do what others will not. That’s why discernment is the key. It will give us the wisdom to read between the lines.


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