When I wrote this post about responding to advice, a friend asked me to elaborate on how to respond. Here are some followup thoughts:
- There are people in my life in positions of authority (spiritual and organizational). Whenever they offer advice, I automatically accept and receive what they tell me. Those who are above me do not get evaluated like others do. They have been placed in my life for a reason, and it is my duty for follow them (unless they are telling me to do something illegal or immoral).
- There are other people in my life who seem to be regular sources of inspiration, encouragement, and wisdom. Whenever they give advice, I listen to them with a completely different ear. I have learned to trust them because of who they are, not because of their position. I give them the same trust as if it were coming from a leader above me.
- If my peers (people on my team) give me advice, I listen closely because I know they have insights to offer that I might not have. I know they want the team to succeed like I do. Although I might not take their advice unconditionally, I don’t dismiss it either.
- If people I supervise give me advice, I pay close attention and make sure I understand what they are sharing with me. They have my back and I want to have theirs in return. Again, we are all chasing the same goal and therefore listen to each other.
- If the people I serve (customers, clients, members of the church, etc) give me advice, I take it to heart. They have a perspective that I need to hear. They see the results of my labors and can give important feedback that I need to hear.
So…that is a lot of people to listen to. Who gets ignored? It depends. I usually don’t spend a lot of time evaluating advice from people when:
- They don’t know me well
- They don’t have experience on the issue
- They don’t have a fresh perspective
- They have given advice in the past that proved unwise
I hope this helps.
Thanks for listening.