“In order to speak truth into someone’s life, you first need to build trust, which takes time; otherwise, the person won’t listen to you.”
— STEVE GLADEN (emphases added)
Earning the right to advise someone is never a fait accompli. There is always stickiness about it, because who in their right mind would allow someone to speak into their lives who hasn’t first earned the right? Most people have an innate sense for whom to listen to, although the sad reality is that some people earn our trust through malevolent means, hence betrayal.
Most of us will be positioned, emotionally speaking, as people who will want to speak into certain people’s lives; our family, our work colleagues, those we supervise.
But it is a horrible mistake for a parent or a boss or anyone in an influential capacity to assume they have the right to advise. Such a right is always earned, no matter the pecking order. It doesn’t matter how high we rise in life, people will always choose whether they trust us and not and that generally takes time.
The Truth in Building Credibility
It takes real virtue and stamina of patience to build sufficient credibility that we are able to speak into someone’s life.
It is good that God has designed life this way; but trust needs to be earned and the ability to speak into someone’s life can never be taken as a given.
It is a great privilege, of course, to be allowed in, to listen, to gain rapport, and to be of help when the time comes. It is a pity, therefore, when people who seek to influence us have no thought for developing this sort of alliance beforehand.
The truth in building credibility is there needs to be genuineness and authenticity in our modus operandi with the other person. Such genuineness and authenticity needs to be built out of the rock of love—a firm foundation for the want of the best for this other person, and, no, it has nothing to do with us or our self-interest.
Earning the right to advise someone requires sufficient attention to be made on the relationship. Are we prepared to invest ourselves in this other person? Are we prepared to prioritise their needs above our own?
Sometimes we think we have earned the right to advise someone, but we haven’t put the time and effort in to build trust in the first place. We are better advised to forget about giving advice and work on a relationship that has equal footing. When there is sufficient trust, then, and only then, will we know what advice to give.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.