Advice are central to effective leadership and decision making. Probably the reason why even Prophet Muhammad SAW often, or always, make syura (or meeting) before deciding on a matter. Yet, we seldom view them as practical skills which can be learned and improve.
Receiving guidance is often seen as passive consumption of wisdom while giving advice is treated as a matter of “good judgment”. Meaning, you either have it, or you don’t, again rather than consider it as a competency to be mastered.
Plus, giving sound advice, as in any other form of giving, put us is a better position mentally with the one whom we’ve given advice to. Since providing expert advice often creates an implicit debt that recipients will way to repay. Remember, there’s so such thing as free lunch.
There’s no such things as free lunch.
Now, one of the main hurdle we need to consider when receiving or giving advice is our own personal biases. Worse, if we act as if we don’t have personal biases. We all have it, everyone does. But we can recognized it and do our best to manage it. In short, we have a great inclination to prefer our own opinions, irrespective of their merit, and the fact that carefully listening is hard and time consuming work. So, indeed this is one of the personal mastery everyone should aim to achieve.
Obstacles to Receiving Advice
When you’re seeking advice, watch out for these obstacles.
Thinking that we already have the answer
In deciding whether we need help, they often have difficulty in assessing our own competency and place too much faith in our intuition. Therefore, we usually became overconfident in our ability and tend to make solo decision making as a default setting on the basis of our limited prior knowledge and assumption.
Most of the time, we ask for advice as a means to boost our own ego by validation and praise. We do this when they strongly believe we’ve solved the problem but still want to “check the box” with bosses and peers.
So, remember to ask for advice with a clear attention.
Sometimes, we have our preferred answer, therefore, we often chosen like-minded advisers. Several Harvard studies even suggest that advice seekers are more receptive to guidance from friends or other likeable people.
Though friendship, accessibility, and non-threatening personalities all impart high levels of comfort and trust, they have no relation to the quality or thoughtfulness of the advice.
We could also at times fail to think creatively about the expertise that we need. Hence, would limit valuable insight, especially on those who has faced similar problems before, or those whose experience would best fit to help to solve the current issues at hand.
Poorly Defined Problem
Before we can solve a problem, we first need to properly define the problem. We often have trouble reaching a mutual understanding with their advisers which sometimes because of imprecise or ineffective communication, and at times could also comes from cognitive or emotional blinders.
So, defined the problem properly, makes sure every information are conveyed in correct context and data are available for analysis.
Misjudging the Advice Quality
Research shows that we value an advice more if it comes from a confident source, even though confident doesn’t signal validity.
In contrast, seekers tend to dismiss an advice when it comes veers from the “norms” or comes from people with whom we frequently discord.
So, that among few obstacles we should keep a watchful eyes on.
More Book Reviews
- The Principles by Ray Dalio (10/10★)
- Lead Right for Your Company’s Type (How to Connect Your Culture with Your Customer Promise) , William E. Schneider, AMACOM, 2017
- The Social Organism, A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life, Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey (Hachette Book Group USA, 2016) (6/10 ★)
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo, (Ten Speed Press, 2014) (7/10★)
- How to Speak Money, What the Money People Say – and What It Really Means, John Lanchester (2014)
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