Updated: Jul 31
In any field, there are experts and professionals who have achieved a higher level of knowledge and expertise in a given specialty. These people can be consultants, business advisors, or some other kind of advisor. They are trusted for their knowledge and experience on a particular subject. When such an expert gives advice to another professional in the same field, they are normally listened to respectfully and their expert opinion taken as worthy of note. After all, they know more than the average person on that subject. However, this isn’t always how things go. There may come a time when someone with less expertise feels they can challenge the expert’s counsel and do it better themselves. This can happen when someone feels undermined by an expert’s authority or experience, often because these things don’t seem like strengths in that person’s eyes. Here is how it can happen:
Asserting Expertise Over Authority-Undermine Consultant
An expert’s authority comes from having a reputation of being an expert in a field, having experience and skill in that field, and having developed a reputation for being trustworthy based on those two things. If someone is undermining the expert’s authority in a situation, it is because they are failing to recognize that reputation, skill, and trustworthiness. When a person undermines a consultant’s authority, they are doing so because they don’t trust their knowledge or experience. That’s a good sign that the consultant’s authority is being undermined. If the consultant’s authority is being undermined, it usually means that their information isn’t being taken seriously. The person doing it may also be looking for an excuse to ignore the consultant’s counsel.
Showing Ignorance To Undermine Expertise
The easiest way to undermine someone’s expertise is to show that person is ignorant of a piece of information in their field. By showing that the consultant doesn’t have the information they should have or doesn’t know something they should, the person being consulted can be undermined. A consultant can be shown to be ignorant of information by not knowing something they should, or by not knowing something they shouldn’t. Someone can also undermine a consultant’s expertise by showing they know more than them in some way. To undermine someone’s expertise by showing they are ignorant, the person being consulted can ask an obvious question that shows they don’t know something about their field. They can also show that they know something about the field that the consultant doesn’t.
A Consultant Is Asserting Experience Over Authority
When a consultant is asserting their experience over their authority, they are doing so by emphasizing their past successes in the field over their proven trustworthiness. They may do this when someone is challenging their authority or questioning their word, especially when it comes to giving advice. If there is any difference between experience and authority, it is that an expert’s expertise and trustworthiness can be proven by their credentials. A consultant’s past experience, on the other hand, is only as good as their word. When a consultant is asserting their experience over authority, they are trying to show that their credentials are irrelevant and that the questioner’s distrust of their word is unfounded.
When a consultant is challenged, their authority can be undermined. When someone shows they are ignorant to undermine their expertise or experience to undermine their past success, their authority can be undermined. When someone shows ignorance to undermine authority, or experience to undermine experience, their authority can be undermined. When these things happen, it is a sign that someone feels they can do better or they don’t trust the expert’s experience and advice. It is a sign that the expert’s authority is being undermined. When someone is challenged or ignored, it can reduce a consultant’s ability to help their client or team. It may also reduce their ability to be successful going forward.