By Rick Boxx
A study cited in the prestigious business periodical, Wall Street Journal, found people holding positions of authority, such as managers, tend to dismiss others’ advice when making decisions. The extensive research also showed, though not very surprising, that these leaders’ final judgments were frequently less accurate than they would have been if they had considered the advice available to them.
The reason for their reluctance to accept counsel, according to the authors of the workplace study, was overconfidence in their own judgment, a trait often known as arrogance. “No one is as smart as I am,” they believe. In other instances, some business and professional people in leadership roles are reluctant to ask others for counsel or help, fearing they might be regarded as “weak” or inadequate to fulfill their appointed responsibilities. They feel they must be in control. Have you ever met people like this?
Interestingly, this study also discovered that women were more likely to take advice than men. It seems that men, as they climb the corporate ladder and become more powerful, grow in arrogance and self-assurance. Confidence is good – we all need it to pursue our goals and responsibilities effectively. However, overconfidence often results in disastrous self-reliance, even recklessness.
Perhaps many women intuitively know what men are more inclined to forget: That a wise person still listens to advice. However, we do not require strong intuition to understand the need to consult others for advice and wisdom on key decisions. The Bible affirms this repeatedly. Here are some examples:
The peril of plunging ahead. “I have made up my mind. Do not confuse me with the facts!” Sometimes we take this approach to decision-making, determined to do what we want, the way we want to do it, even though employees, coworkers and peers might advise us to do otherwise. Proverbs 12:15 describes this scenario: “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”
The problem of acting in isolation. Pride is a problem we all struggle with, in one way or another. Often it is pride that insists we have no need for the support or assistance of others. Unfortunately, this can result in failure, even disaster. This is why Ecclesiastes 4:10-11 makes this observation: “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”
The prize of trusting in others. When we consult others for advice, they might not always tell us what we want to hear. But different perspectives, as well as hearing alternatives solutions to the problems we must address, could bring about far better results. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Proverbs 11:14).“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
The power of working in shared mission. There is strength in numbers, the adage reminds us, and there truly is great value in working with others, sharing talents and experiences for a common goal. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Until next week!
Copyright 2010, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org.
© MONDAY MANNA is a weekly issue of CBMC INTERNATIONAL a non-profit, evangelical ministry that exists to serve business and professional people as followers of Jesus; to present Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to business and professional men.