Trust Your Opinion – Be Careful!
When you trust your opinion it's often the same as what you believe. Sometimes it is held very closely and influences more of your life. Are you curious or are you convinced about your opinion? If so, it is even more dangerous for you if it proves to be wrong. Do you think about how much your opinion on important issues influences your actions and feelings?
Below is a good definition of opinion.
OPINION – Judgment or belief not founded on certainty or proof; what seems true or probable; an evaluation, impression, estimation, conjecture, supposition, or theory.
Note the key points "what seems true or probable" and "not based on certainty or fact." That is dangerous if you trust your opinion about critical issues and decisions in your life. It is just a dangerous to use opinion when leading!
Consider the following implications about opinion.
Just because I believe something, that doesn’t make it TRUE
That isn't as obvious as it needs to be. Do you have a lot of facts for support? Good. But, if you trust your opinion and it doesn't have a greater degree of certainty, please be careful. That means your opinion is more like a guess than a fact. Of course, all opinion is a guess or speculation of some form.
In reality, you can't determine many very important things with absolute certainty. That is just the way life works. Many of the decisions you make have a degree of uncertainty and you still need to make a decision. Just keep a clear mind that your opinion, which is a guess, drives actions and feelings.
And, when you clearly know that your opinion is like a guess, you remain open to other options. That gives you a better chance to alter your "speculation" or "guess" rather than when you trust your opinion is true.
Is my leadership based on opinions that cannot be verified?
As a leader, you put yourself and those with you in jeopardy each time you trust your opinion. When appropriate, make sure they know it is the "best guess" that you have. And, if time allows, get the input from those with you to test your opinion.
Leadership is taught many different ways. Look for leadership training that uses solid values and principles. And, make sure the tools and skills taught fit those values and principles.
When you have time, reflect on how you lead. What's the foundation of your leadership? Do you trust your opinion? If so, you are not on a good foundation.
Do I know the “Who said so”, the facts that support what I believe?
Learn to ask, "What is the foundation of my opinion or guess?" This is one of the most important elements when you trust your opinion, assumptions or guesses. When your opinion, or even your guesses, come from reliable sources - good. Unfortunately, people trust erroneous sources just because they find them on the internet. And, many well known internet sources push an agenda that has a bad foundation.
So, who is your "Who said so" for your opinion?
Maybe your opinion about leadership comes from some well established principles. Good! That is much better than just guessing. But, just because something is well known, does not make it correct. Right?
Is your "Who said so" well established and proven reliable? Are the underlying principles and values proven through time to be accurate?
My opinion may be wrong. Do I know the consequences?
Finally, is it obvious to you that your opinion can be wrong? That may come as a shock to many people. Use your energy to search for what is being said "on the other side" of an issue, because you may be wrong.
If you trust your opinion, what are the consequences? Consider if the consequences are worth the trust in your opinion. Take the time to evaluate other options, if you have time.
Leaders do act on assumptions, speculations, and guesses. Just make sure that you aren't fooling yourself into thinking you know more than you really do.
Remember - "You know what you know and you don't know what you don't know." That sounds somewhat foolish, but it is very accurate.