Listen to advice and accept discipline and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20 NIV
To whom should we accept advice? Not every person to whom we run with a problem is a problem-solver, but they are problem-causers and we know this by their conduct.
Some people–are problem causers–they spread gossip faster than the wind creates havoc in a storm and the results are just as deadly. The intent is to create a hostile environment in which they think they will be victorious, not realizing that they are simply exposing their true character.
The problem-causers have not solved problems, but created them and they tend to think they are a great source of counsel–wanting attention from everyone–when in fact they need to be counselled. They do not want advice because they think they are great advisers and they resent any attempt by anyone to point them in the right direction.
Problem-solvers analyze information and events and research solutions that will benefit all; they have demonstrated ability and integrity in all they do and have no need to seek any glory for themselves.
Before we accept advice from people we must consider the source. Can this person (or people) provide wise counsel and direction if they do not demonstrate knowledge of such?
In this society–we elect a president of the United States based upon their ability to get the job done–not how much they know, but their willingness to heed wise counsel in making decisions. Therefore, every elected president of the United States must choose a cabinet of advisers who know what they’re doing.
On a smaller scale–anyone in a position of leadership should know to seek sound advice and to listen to it. When they’re headed in the wrong direction, they should be willing to hear and change course, based upon the sound advice.
One of the biggest mistakes people make–on almost any level–is putting unqualified people in qualified positions of leadership.
The most effective leader in any given situation is not the one who assumes the position to make something of themselves, but the one who is more concerned about the entire purpose or mission of the organization. They do not dictate what others should do–they facilitate joint agreement and progress.
Dictators are small-minded people (and many are short in stature) who think they have a right to “tell” others what to do rather than seek agreement about what needs to be done. They are quick to draw conclusions without sufficient evidence and just as quick to manipulate the truth in order to garner support for their position (when they shouldn’t have a position or side to take). We see this in the behavior of Hitler, Stalin, and Napoleon–from a historical perspective.
So let’s listen to those who have demonstrated an ability to know what they’re talking about and when we’re wrong–let’s just accept the corrective counsel and seek to do better. It is only when we admit what we don’t know and accept wise counsel that we too, will be considered wise.