Am I in the wrong profession? That was my question for today as I read another chapter in The College Administrator’s Survival Guide. Gunsalus states, the most powerful way to increase your influence is to listen more effectively, intensely and genuinely to others. Then he describes how listening is a skill that most people are neither taught nor practice. Especially in the academic setting where there is often an atmosphere of arrogance, competition and insecurity among peers. Many will listen ahead (jumping to conclusions) while others are talking … leaping to conclusions and thinking they know more about what others are trying to say than they actually do. In the academic setting many demonstrate self-protective behaviors to keep from being exposed for who they really are before their students, peers and administrators.
Gunsalus concludes this section on active listening by encouraging administrators to talk less and ask more questions for two reasons. First, asking questions demonstrates your interest in the other person’s thoughts, feelings and opinions. Second, administrators should ask questions in order to uncover the underlying motivation of people. Gunsalus states that everyone has underlying motives because ultimately positions are what people want, and interests are why they want them.
Wow, if I had to deal with this behavior in my duties at Barclay College then I would quickly conclude that I am in the wrong line of work! Praise God the influence of Jesus Christ permeates the faculty and staff of this campus and is manifest in our constituents. I am convinced that Barclay is different from other institutions not just because she is a Christian College but because of the doctrine she holds dear to her mission. I have enough experience with other Christian institutions to know that motives and behaviors are frequently not in the best interest of the college. So what’s so different at Barclay College? Holiness … Our Board and administration is committed to the teaching and practice of Christ-centered holiness.
We believe the atonement of Jesus Christ makes provision for the complete transformation of the heart for those who will consecrate their life completely to the Savior and subject themselves to the infilling and control of the Holy Spirit. Full consecration to Christ purges the heart of selfishness and replaces it with the righteousness, peace and joy of Christ. It imparts to man a nature that desires full devotion to God and service and love for others.
The selfish, self-protective behavior described by Gunsalus is consequential based upon the sin nature in man… so is the purging of the heart through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Through heart purity motives become pure, people are free to look to the interests of others, have relationship without living in the fear of rejection, and they can live in a community of acceptance and peace. It seems to me that if one wants to be a positive influence for others (academic or not) they should begin with heart transformation. Only then can a person manifest the nature of Jesus Christ. This is the practice and testimony of Barclay College to which she must remain ever true.
Based upon my studies I see that I may not have much of a future in academia outside of my employment at Barclay College. I realize I would be a round peg in a square hole (so to speak), at most institutions today. So for now, I had better have Lisa help me improve my listening skills and pray to God that I can keep this job for awhile!
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