Seven Ways to Spot Advice You Should Follow
Wise leaders listen to wise leaders. But, the danger of seeking advice is listening to fools.
Avoid advice from arrogant know-it-alls who are eager to tell you what to do.
3 ways to find wise advisers:
- Look for vulnerability, transparency, and courageous candor. (Essentials for successful advisers.)
- Reach beyond your circle of friends. Step outside your organization.
- Listen for unexpected, contrarian, or discomforting statements. Leaders who are stuck don’t need affirmation.
Wise advice is a window to your future.
- Lifts perspective above the waterline. Good advisers build platforms above issues not in them.
- Includes imperfect solutions. Fear of making mistakes motivates advice seeking. When it comes to moving forward, almost perfect is perfect. An idea that feels 70% or 80% right is worth a shot.
- Looks to the future more than fixing the past. One reason you seek advice is frustration with the past. But, only the future can be changed. Successful advisers shift your focus.
- Applies to the situation. Are you dealing with pressing issues? You need tactical, skills-based advice. Are you plotting the future? You need strategic values-based advice.
- Creates clarity with simplicity. Any fool can make something complex. Successful advisers clear the fog. The only way to find simplicity is to face and confront complexity.
- Includes what not to do. “What’s not working,” is a powerful conversation, if you can bear it.
- Aligns with your values and strengths. Advising a fish to fly won’t help. Good advisers know as much about you as the situation you’re facing. Listen for questions like, “What’s important to you,” and, “What are you great at?”
Bonus: Wise advisers work to generate more than one option.
What does good advice look like to you?
How do you get good advice?
An article by Lolly Daskal got me thinking about this topic.
What you say is true. My experience with my last boss,and my last CEO was that, under the garb of true exchange, all they wanted to hear was how right they are
Thanks Rajiv. In those situations, silence is advised. 🙂
That was always my political error. I never knew when to keep my mouth shut!
Thanx A Million..LeaderShipFreak Is A Wise Mentor!
Dan, I think your blog proves every day that wise advice is often posed as searching question. In asking a question the process is more instructive and usually more challenging as the recipient has to engage with a question, whereas a statement is optional both as response and engagement. See I just made one and nobody listened!
So my question is; do wise leaders listen to wise leaders or are they listening to the questions the wise leader is asking (even if they are questions the recipients asks in their own mind)?
Thanks Richard. I listened! 😉
I enjoy how you switched this conversation from talking to asking. Personally, I think it takes more skill to ask a great question than to make a great statement. As you say, questions invite engagement and response–powerful.
My questions is; is it more important to listen to questions or ask questions?
The answer is yes 😉
In a great conversations i think we do both, in fact maybe you’ve hit on the definition of a great conversation…
Timely as usual Dan.
Experience trumps theory. 9 times out of 10.
Only the person who has WALKED that road can possibly empathize with another soul going through it.
Lip service is foolish. Parroting theories is foolish advice if it lacks the experience to back it up and the emotional intelligence to go with it.
No one needs another snake oil salesman or woman when good advice and sound wisdom is CRITICAL.
Thanks for sharing.
And I certainly quit listening to the advice of anyone who’s idea of help and hope is to tell me that anything bad that I’ve experienced was a result of something bad I did in a past life.
Literally… a past life.
Let’s stick with THIS life….shall we?
Samantha, don’t you sometimes think of “theory” as your own new ideas for making things better, or for example Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? Just because a theory is novel does not mean you or Einstein don’t know what you’re talking about.
And, don’t you sometimes think about experience as “the way it’s always been done?” Perhaps there’s a better way—which is why new leadership and management theories evolve by persons who may or may not be in our specific profession. Yet we know leadership is leadership, and management irrespective of where it’s practiced.
Insofar as bad advice by well-intentioned persons—blaming our woes on our past life or something we did or didn’t do—the story of Job in the bible’s Old Testament tells us this is a road we all travel. People—especially those closest to us like family and friends–try to explain away our troubles, problems, issues perhaps by offering the source of their genesis…”our past life.” Bunk—except that people think they’re helping us!
Wisdom trumps experience. And like you always say in your posts, love and understanding trumps everything.
My comment was specifically referring to first hand experience by specific coaches where they were pulling information out of books they read but actually had ZERO hands on experience to speak of.
I”m also coming from a nursing background where ‘theory’ cannot be without hands on experience.
If you want to get on a plane knowing your pilot only read about flying and has zero experience, be my guest! 😉
That’s the sort of thing I’m referring to.
Parroting out of books WITHOUT experience makes for poor advise and bad advisers.
In your specific contexts, I would also agree. They just weren’t what I had in mind this time. : )
Thanks Samantha. In this context, I think experience provides the ability to make specific applications within a narrow context. Ultimately, experience seems to open the door to application.
I am reading a novel by Richard Flanagan called The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2013). The life story of Dorrigo Evans, a flawed war hero and survivor of the Death Railway, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Flanagan
I am about halfway through and Dorrigo is grappling with his hero status versus his consciousness of his own flawed nature. Very interesting juxtaposition.
In terms of advice, I think we should always keep an open mind and listen to people from all walks of life as you don’t always know where you will find wisdom. Wisdom doesn’t necessary equate with wealth and status.
Thanks Roweeee. The grapplings of Dorrigo sound interesting. Anytime we encounter new success we feel a bit like an impostor. After all, we are who we were when we were 13 yrs. old.
Regarding open mindedness: I find it easier to talk about than to maintain. 🙂
Reminds me of the advice boss tried to give me yesterday about staying at job. He spent twenty minutes detailing the growth potential for my salary and then as a side not mentioned it might be possible to move to a department doing the work I’d like to be doing.
My decision to leave is based mostly on the fact that I want to move on to something I enjoy more and to try out working freelance. He knows this and it seems that he still does not get it. Definitily not advice given with my goals in mind.
Thanks lexc13. It’s difficult to give advice when you have something to lose or gain. It happens but personal agendas usually get mixed in. Best wishes in your pursuits.
Yes you’re absolutely right and respecting him I almost let myself be convinced. But at this point parting ways will be best for both. Thank you
How do you do it, Dan? You almost say it all with “Wise advice is a window.” It isn’t “what to…” but “what if?” Wise advice opens the shutter, it is up to me to interpret the view and then act.
Each of your seven points is strong and immediately applicable. I am working on a project right now in which I am “seeking wise advice.” One additional point I might add is, “Look for Humility.” Every time someone says to me, “I’m not sure I have anything to offer” I listen even more carefully than before. I almost always find gold.
By the way, I had to retire the Rockwall; I ran out of space. I have had to organize your best posts into a binder instead. A catchy name eludes me for the moment.
Thanks Steven. Glad you enjoyed the window illustration. Advice often is just being lifted to a new perspective, then the answers come all by themselves.
I’m going to adopt your approach to people who say, “I might not have anything to offer…” 🙂
Your encouragements mean a lot to me. Thank you.
The wise will lead and enjoy their journey, the fools will merely flounder and fade away.
I listen to those who intrigue me with their expertise and knowledge, their ways of life and how they live send a picture of all the possibilities to either follow or change my course. Each of us can find happiness in similar ways or separate ways, for the journey is ours to create!
Thanks Dan for differentiating the good from the bad. Many a times unsolicited advice is given when we are better off without it. I also agree with one point made elsewhere. Good advice needs to be sought. No one will come forward to advice unless the rapport is so good that they feel it necessary to advice and take us through the right direction.
“Look for vulnerability, transparency, and courageous candor.” These are tough things to look for but, important to find. A true adviser shares there mistakes too and helps you make the right choice. Everyone has made mistakes, many prefer to hide them away, when that might be the best advice we can give someone.
Thanks Tom. Yes, listen to see if they share their own mistakes, laugh at themselves, and celebrate the success of others. Glad you joined in.
I agree that a wise advice is a window to our future. Thanks!!
Pingback: Seven Ways to Spot Wise Advice You Should Follow | Morris County NJ Real Estate (& Beyond)