What I Learned from a Week of Advice-Seeking

Those eager to give advice may not know what the heck they’re talking about.

The trouble with receiving advice is YOU didn’t think of it. That makes you skeptical. It means you’re reluctant to explore it.

Wise leaders seek advice:

Wisdom isn’t about knowing. It’s about learning and practice.

The first sign of wisdom is seeking wisdom.

Seek advice or the responsibility of leadership will grind you up. 

A week of advice-seeking:

I spent last week practicing the skill of seeking advice. It’s not natural for me, but it’s good for others and it’s healthy for me.

I learned about humility, openness, and identifying skillful advisors.

#1. Be intentional about seeking advice.

Advice-seeking forces you to be open and openness expands your leadership. 

Real confidence is open. Don’t let “self-confidence” close your mind.

#2. Ask questions when advice doesn’t feel right.

Experts know more than you know. Their advice might seem wrong. 

Go with YOUR gut only where you have experience and expertise.

The exception to the “Gut Rule” is in areas of integrity. Dig in if someone seems manipulative or dishonest, but remember you could be wrong. Your gut isn’t always right.

We had lunch with a computer expert. His advice feels confusing sometimes. Confusion is the reason to ask questions. “I’m confused about…” Or, “I don’t understand what you mean when …”

The fear of looking dumb propagates ignorance.

I had a contractor tell me we had black mold. I said, “Show me.” He pointed at something that wasn’t there. I said, “I don’t see anything. What are you seeing?” Asking questions made it obvious he was being manipulative.

Some advisors will prove themselves wise when you explore their suggestions. Other will reveal their ignorance or hidden agenda.

Project: Focus on advice-seeking for a week.

How might leaders be skillful advice-seekers?

What warnings do you have about seeking advice?