Ask anyone in a management role to list some of their biggest challenges, and I would almost bet that on that list you will find some semblance of the word “hiring”. You might call it “talent acquisition”, “managing resources”, or as I have heard a manager in my grocery days refer to it, “seeing if I can find someone smart enough to fog a mirror.” Yeah, sensitivity training was lost on that guy… (No, it wasn’t me)
It is a challenge to hire. I am working on that particular job right now. I enjoy getting to meet and talk to new people and see if we can find the right person to fit our team. I have a list of questions that are used to get a feel for the candidate, and I always try to use the same questions so everyone gets a fair shake. Some are based on technical knowledge, but most are fun questions when people answer them because they tell a story!
One of my favorite questions to ask doesn’t do that though. This question gives me a glimpse into the mind of the applicant and lets me see something different. I know, you’re begging to hear what it is, so here you go:
“Do you answer important questions independently, or do you tend to be the kind of person that seeks out the advice of others?”
Not so bad, right? Pretty straightforward, and it provides a lot of room for talk with a simple follow-up question:
Ooooooo! Now we are learning! there are several reasons you can ask someone this question, but one of them is to get an idea of how well a person might take constructive criticism, or allow themselves to be mentored. I still remember what I thought was the best answer I have heard to that question. They thought about it for a few seconds and then said:
“If I know the decision affects me, and me only, then I will probably make the decision on my own. If I think that the decision could have a harmful effect on anyone, then I would ask for advice.”
Wow! That was a good answer. I almost forgot to ask, “Why?” Almost. Their response? Well, it wasn’t that bad either:
“I don’t want to be a bother to other people. If I have the knowledge and understanding to do something on my own, and even a wrong decision will still only disrupt me or my day, then I can go it alone. After all, it’s only me. I just would hate to be in a rush and be overconfident in a situation where I might hurt someone else because of my actions just because I didn’t want to take a minute and ask, or run the risk of looking foolish. Better to take the time and the risk of looking foolish than do something that will hurt someone.”
Yeah. Pretty cool answer. That person came to work for me. They had a lot of other good qualities too, but that was just the best answer to that question I had ever heard. It sounded like a person with their head on right.
The Bible has something to say on this topic as well:
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice: many counselors bring success.” – Proverbs 15:22 (NLT)
When I think of that fantastic answer, I only see one hole in it. The decisions I make rarely, if ever, affect only me. I am not an island unto myself. I am a husband, a father, a manager, a son, brother, uncle, cousin, teacher, friend, disciple, and mentor. As I go through a day, my life touches other people directly or indirectly almost every single minute of that day. The decisions I make will almost always impact someone else. How is that for an almost paralyzing thought?!
So, it behooves me to seek advice, good counsel, mentors, friends, and other resources that will help me make good choices. Not for my benefit all the time, but for the benefit of those I may be impacting. I have a duty to be responsible and find out what I need to know before I make a decision, because it will affect someone else.
How about you? Are you looking for advice? A place to get some wisdom? I have a suggestion. Start reading the Bible. Get a Bible you can read and understand and dig in. Start with the book of John and read about God’s love for us. The Bible is the best place for truth and wisdom. Its counsel will never lead you astray.
Then, you need to take the next step and find someone you know that loves God and wants to tell others about what He has done in their life. Ask them to help you dig deeper into an understanding of God, and to connect you with some other people who can help you learn more and grow. Have them help you into a church where the Bible is taught and you can build relationships with other believers.
A growing believer never stands alone. He is always next to someone who is teaching him or he is teaching someone else. I don’t want to use a phrase like, “It takes a village”, but too late now! It takes a group though. We need to have other people who want to see us succeed in our lives. That is where life happens and growth occurs.
Relentless growth is most evident in the act of mentoring in the Christian walk. We must ask advice, be teachable, accept criticism, and be willing to learn from the mistakes we make. We must also be willing to give advice, to be loving in pointing out areas of weakness or wrong choices while lifting them up and helping them on to the next challenge. Seek advice. Ask for counsel. It’s the smart thing to do!
I hope this was an encouragement to you. If there is ever anything I can do to help, please message me and I would love to talk more. Feel free to share this with anyone!
Relentless Growth -> Grow Deep -> Grow Strong