Advise vs. compel…

“To advise is not to compel.”

Anton Chekhov

When someone asks you for advice are you focused on giving them your perspective or your permission? If you are offering advice in a “tell people what to do” manner then you are creating and reinforcing a hierarchal culture that seeks permission before acting. So be very careful that when you offer advice isn’t seen as a directive.

If you cross the line and deliver a message that is focused on compelling others to do things your way, and only your way, you are killing creativity, innovation, engagement and discretionary effort. There is a time and a place for issuing a mandate, but by and large it isn’t when people are seeking advice or perspective.

Quicksand…

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.”

Jean Paul

How is it that you only start to really understand the value of life and time when you have gained some experiences and taken a few knocks? As the sand in our hourglass slides past are we focused on maximizing the value of each grain? Or are we lost because we are focusing on the next big thing that may or may not be important at all?

Don’t let a single grain of sand slip through unappreciated and unvalued. This is our one and only life. Why would you waste any of it?

Are you willing to be wrong?

“Always be willing to look at both sides of the argument. Understanding the other side is the best way to strengthen your own.”

Jim Rohn

Are you willing to be wrong? Maybe a better question to ask is “do you have to be right?” As a leader how do you make it safe for others to be wrong?

Following the wisdom outlined in the quote above is a great way to gain perspective and show your team and those around you that you don’t have all the answers. It demonstrates a willingness to be wrong, a capacity to be vulnerable. Understanding the other side of the argument might reinforce your own beliefs but it just might give you perspective that you didn’t have before you sought the additional information.

And just what if along the way to seeking understanding and perspective you learned something that changed your mind? What if the other side of the argument provided the answer you didn’t have before? What if you were wrong? In order to truly learn, you have to be willing to be wrong…

Surrender your ego…

“He who closes his ears to the views of others shows little confidence in the integrity of his own views.”

William Congreve

If you aren’t willing to listen to, and learn from others, then by default you are saying that your ideas are better, your thoughts are better, and that you are always right. That’s a pretty big gamble if you ask me.

I assume that others might know more, have a different perspective, or offer something that I haven’t considered. There is a great advantage in seeking input from others but only if you surrender your ego and truly listen to learn.

Outside in…

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Wayne Dyer

What challenge or opportunity in your life would be improved if you could get an outside-in perspective? There are only two ways to make this happen. Ask for help, or seek to change your own perspective. What’s preventing you from doing either one?

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