Ken Boa -Leadership QualitiesAuthor: Dr. Ken Boa
16 Aug 2018

Ken Boa -Leadership Qualities

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Dr. Boa is the President of Reflections Ministries and Trinity House Publishers. Kenneth Boa is engaged in a ministry of relational evangelism and discipleship, teaching, writing, and speaking.

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    Communication Skills - Part 2

    A leader who cannot communicate will not lead well or long. Most leaders spend vast amounts of time and energy developing other skills, such as long-term planning, time management and public speaking. But what about taking time to develop the skill of listening? Those who wish to be good leaders will develop this skill. My friend Arthur Robertson, founder and president of Effective Communication and Development, Inc., wrote his book The Language of Effective Listening based on the premise that “effective listening is the number one communication skill requisite to success in your professional and personal life.”1 Dr. James Lynch, co-director of the Psychophysiological Clinic and Laboratories at the University of Maryland has documented that an actual healing of the cardiovascular system takes place when we listen. Blood pressure rises when people speak and lowers when they listen. In fact, his studies show that blood pressure is actually lower when people are listening than when they are silently staring at a blank wall.2 According to Dr. Lynch, listening skills aren’t just essential for good leadership; they’re essential for good health!

  • Posted on 14 May 2007

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    Communication Skills - Part 1

    Around the turn of the century, a wealthy but unsophisticated oil tycoon from Texas made his first trip to Europe on a ship. The first night at dinner, he found himself seated with a stranger, a Frenchman, who dutifully nodded and said, “Bon appetit.” Thinking the man was introducing himself, he replied, “Barnhouse.” For several days the ritual was repeated. The Frenchman would nod and say, “Bon appetit.” The Texan would smile and reply, “Barnhouse” a little louder and more distinctly than the time before. One afternoon, Mr. Barnhouse mentioned it to another passenger who set the oil baron straight. “You’ve got it all wrong. He wasn’t introducing himself. ‘Bon appetit’ is the French way of telling you to enjoy your meal.” Needless to say, Barnhouse was terribly embarrassed and determined to make things right. At dinner that evening, the Texan came in, nodded at his friend and said, “Bon appetit.” The Frenchman rose and answered, “Barnhouse.” In his famous prayer, St. Francis of Assisi asked God to help him to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This principle is the key to effective interpersonal communication. Actually, the book of Proverbs offered identical advice ages before St. Francis penned this prayer. In Proverbs 18:13 we read, “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.” Earlier in this same chapter Solomon offers a pointed evaluation of those who would rather talk than listen: “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (18:2).

  • Posted on 07 May 2007

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    Communicating Vision - Part 2

    A man was struggling to get his washing machine through the front door of his home as his neighbor was walking past. The neighbor, being a good neighbor, stopped and asked if he could help. The man breathed a sigh of relief and said, “That would be great. I’ll get it from the inside and you get it from the outside. We should be able to handle this quickly.” But after five minutes of continual struggle, they were both exhausted. Wiping the sweat from his brow, the neighbor said, “This thing is bigger than it looks. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get it into your house.” “Into my house? I’m trying to get this thing out of my house!” Few things are more vital than clear communication, particularly for leaders. The great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was notoriously bad at being able to communicate what he wanted to his musicians. His fits of frustration at his own lack of communication skills were legendary. After trying several times to convey something very particular to a trumpet player, he threw up his hands and shouted, “God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way!” On another occasion, during a rehearsal of Debussy’s La Mer, he found himself yet again at a loss for words to describe the effect he hoped to achieve from a particular passage. He thought for a moment, then took a silk handkerchief from his pocket and tossed it high in the air. The mesmerized musicians watched its slow and graceful descent through the air. “There,” said the maestro, “play it like that.”1 It is one thing to have vision, but without clear communication, vision will never become reality. Until others have understood the vision well enough to articulate it themselves, they cannot be expected to pursue it with passion. Leonard Sweet wisely reminds us, “It’s not people who are right who change the world. It’s people who can communicate their definition of right to others who change the world.”2

  • Posted on 30 Apr 2007

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    Communicating Vision - Part 1

    A man was struggling to get his washing machine through the front door of his home as his neighbor was walking past. The neighbor, being a good neighbor, stopped and asked if he could help. The man breathed a sigh of relief and said, “That would be great. I’ll get it from the inside and you get it from the outside. We should be able to handle this quickly.” But after five minutes of continual struggle, they were both exhausted. Wiping the sweat from his brow, the neighbor said, “This thing is bigger than it looks. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to get it into your house.” “Into my house? I’m trying to get this thing out of my house!” Few things are more vital than clear communication, particularly for leaders. The great Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini was notoriously bad at being able to communicate what he wanted to his musicians. His fits of frustration at his own lack of communication skills were legendary. After trying several times to convey something very particular to a trumpet player, he threw up his hands and shouted, “God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way!” On another occasion, during a rehearsal of Debussy’s La Mer, he found himself yet again at a loss for words to describe the effect he hoped to achieve from a particular passage. He thought for a moment, then took a silk handkerchief from his pocket and tossed it high in the air. The mesmerized musicians watched its slow and graceful descent through the air. “There,” said the maestro, “play it like that.”1 It is one thing to have vision, but without clear communication, vision will never become reality. Until others have understood the vision well enough to articulate it themselves, they cannot be expected to pursue it with passion. Leonard Sweet wisely reminds us, “It’s not people who are right who change the world. It’s people who can communicate their definition of right to others who change the world.”2

  • Posted on 22 Apr 2007

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    Change and Innovation

    A cartoon I saw in The New Yorker showed a CEO winding up his speech at a board meeting with the following sentence: “And so, while the end-of-the-world scenario will be rife with unimaginable horrors, we believe that the pre-end period will be filled with unprecedented opportunities for profit.”1 Somehow that seems to capture the spirit of our times. Many of us live with the same perspective as King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:19. After being told that, because of his pride and arrogance, his wealth and posterity would fall into the hands of the Babylonians, he actually says, “The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good…. Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?” Hezekiah was only concerned with how things would be during his own time here on earth. He gave no thought to the hardships others would endure after he was gone. Many of our environmental and financial decisions demonstrate this same outlook. And yet our time on earth is only a speck in cosmic terms. A.W. Tozer was rightly said, The days of the years of our lives are few, and swifter than a weaver’s shuttle. Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give. Just when we appear to have gained some proficiency, we are forced to lay our instruments down. There is simply not time enough to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicates we are capable of.2 If life here on earth is all there is, then our mortality is distressing. But the Bible invites us to see that there is more to this life than the constant pendulum-swing from happiness to regret. You are not defined by your past; you are defined by your future. You have a destiny, a hope and a future. The past is finite, but the future is unbounded. The past is fixed, but lasting change is possible for those of us who are united with the God who makes all things new (Revelation 21:5). In fact, change is not only possible, it is normative for those who live their lives with a sense of holy calling, a determination to follow Jesus wherever he leads.

  • Posted on 15 Apr 2007

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