Why You Should Be Gentle With Naive People

The intellect of those you meet in life will vary. You’ll meet some people who know more than you in specific facets of life, and you’ll meet people who just can’t get on the same page. These instances are not of concern in everyday life. However, when there are consequences for someone’s lack of experience, you’ll need to correct them in order to remain unaffected yourself. Examples of consequences existing when those around you lack knowledge can be working together on an issue at work, collaborating on a business venture, or merely planning for a dangerous mountain-top hike.

If you find yourself potentially being affected by the naivety of another, you will need to correct their incompetence for your own sake. The method with which you do that is critical. People do not enjoy being labelled as wrong, and the fact that their lack of knowledge has the possibility of affecting you can make you reactionary in your approach.

The following points should be remembered when you are correcting someone in a realm which is dependent on their knowledge being precise. It can be a dangerous time for all involved, so you need to resolve the issue without bringing forth any further risk. The risk of correcting someone in an unfavorable way can only worsen any issues which were birthed due to their initial mistakes. People can become vengeful, upset, and malicious in the face of those correcting them. They can hold onto negative associations for a long time, and any status you gain by vehemently correcting them is not worth it.


No Fault of Their Own


Always trek the realm of naivety with the notion that the naive are not at fault. It is no fault of their own for not knowing the information that they need to know. Do not make your corrective actions seem like the person is lesser than you for not knowing whatever is it that they need to know. Always give them the benefit of the doubt and do not assume mistakes were made due to stupidity rather than mere underexposure. 

Letting people safe face when things go awry will indirectly improve their work ethic in the long run. The subtle and gentle correction on your part will be accepted respectfully by those who you are teaching, and they will remember the instance of you letting them save face. Do not make it a priority to get people in trouble when you find them being naive to a situation. If you do, they will fear getting into trouble in the future and will become hesitant to let you in on what is true. 

Allowing people to save face and gently teaching them what they need to know will increase their openness with you. You will be seen as a supportive person to lean against rather than an entity to fear. Always keep those who are uneducated about the matter at hand on your side, as you want to be in the know about all potential weaknesses that they possess. 

Their weaknesses can affect you in the long-term and being stern with those who aren’t on the same page will only distance them from you.


Lessons of Commonality 


Understanding those who missed important information can help you gain insight into what to expect from others. Some people may be more expressive with their lack of knowledge, while others may try to hide it under wraps. Being open and not condescending towards those who lack knowledge in your domain will allow others who are the same to come forward. You will be exposed to more potential issues, and will be able to prevent those issues beforehand more effectively. 

Keep tabs on what most people find difficulty in when working in your domain. Learn what the weaknesses are of beginners in whatever you are doing, and be supportive to their learning. Do not try to get people in trouble when they do not know, as you will discourage learning. Be close to those who struggle, and you will prevent any issues which may come about from their lack of insight. 

Book Recommendation: 

Methods for Effective Teaching: Meeting the Needs of All Students (6th Edition)

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