In starting this post, I just want you to read the short excerpt at this link about William Booth.

I must admit to having a chuckle as I read it! I’m sure each of us have had instances in our experience that highlight the fact that we can all be insensitive at times. The trouble with someone being insensitive is that if often depends on the temperament on the individual as what may be insensitivity to one person may not be to another. This should give us a sense of caution as we proceed. Of course, the other end of the stick is where someone is oblivious to the havoc they wreak as they interact with other people. So what to do?

At a conference for leaders many years ago the speaker made a poignant statement. He said that you will never succeed as a leader without the quality of self-awareness. Since that time this statement has reared its head a number of times. Particularly when leaders have publicly displayed insensitivity with sad effect in the lives of other people.

So firstly, we need self-awareness. This means we need to understand the effect we have when we meet people. It includes a most important taming of the tongue. We must be aware of what we say and most importantly, how we say it. Over the years many people have said unkind things in unkind ways and given the phrase, “I said it/did it in love”. Of course saying we did it in love does not mean we did! Love is not only expressed by what we say but also in how we say it. If we are correct in one but not the other, love has not been expressed. I find this most difficult when something needs to be said that can cause offence. The temptation is to just blurt it out and run. However, I’ve learned that especially in these circumstances I need to spend more time formulating what I’m going to say. You’ll notice the world does this rather well by preparing statements. This is not a bad thing. In fact, I think it a good thing. Surely it is better to carefully think through what we’re going to say before we say it? Better still, write it down as the mind may forget at the moment of delivery.

Tim Elmore on his blog gives us some helpful advice:

Four Steps You Can Take

It seems we all have blind spots—and half the battle to overcoming them is simple awareness; admitting that they exist. Here are steps you can take to address them.

1. Invite friends you respect to hold you accountable for your conduct. Give them permission to reveal to you the quirks and habits that could sabotage your growth.

2. Capture yourself on video as much as you can. Watch the footage and evaluate how you come across to others.

3. Ask your supervisor, at work, to clue you in on your damaging patterns. In fact, invite a 360-degree assessment from bosses, colleagues and teammates under you.

4. Invest time daily evaluating your performance and other’s reactions at the end of the day. Ask yourself: If you were your own boss, what advice would you give? The only one I would add to this is be open to the Holy Spirit. I find the Holy Spirit is very willing to stop us before we say or do something inappropriate, but we must be open to him.

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