I’m certain you’ve heard that phrase before. And I know you can think of at least a couple of people who’ve always “played the devil’s advocate.” Particularly when you’re either bouncing off one of your ideas or are passionately making an argument/case for something that’s not the norm or challenges the status quo.
You know what happens once someone plays the devil’s advocate, don’t you? It’s all downhill from there.
Here’s a thing you should know — the ones who “play” the devil’s advocate are the devil. Stay away from them or have the audacity to confront them. How? Be prepared. These folks are all over the place. You can’t possibly avoid them.
If you have an argument, an idea or a case to make ensure that you’ve covered all your bases by thinking like a devil’s advocate yourself. Bounce it off to your inner circle where you’ll run into these folks as well. That is great! You know why? Because a known devil is better than the unknown one.
Gather feedback and make your case even stronger. You can’t discount overpreparing to protect your ideas. And nobody likes to see their ideas quashed in front of an audience. Even if it’s just one person.
At the end of the day, these “advocates” are nothing but a bunch of insecure folks who’re scared of change, disruption, and uncertainty. Some may have malicious intent such as to dethrone you from your formal/informal position… but all things considered, that’s unlikely the case.
I’m a firm believer in putting in the time and overprepare to defend my ideas because they’re valuable. To me. If not for anyone else. And how good are my ideas anyway if I can’t even defend them from some insecure colleagues/peers?