We all give and receive advice almost daily whether we like it or not. As managers, mentors, and even friends; we often give advice that either falls on deaf ears or even brings out animosity from the recipient. Some are far better at giving advice or ‘taming your advice monster’ (as described by Rhodes Scholar and Executive Coach, Michael Bungay-Stanier). Giving advice is an extremely important component of both our personal and professional relationships. If executed poorly, giving advice can play a direct role in undermining your effectiveness as a leader.

Here are some factors to consider to give advice that people will actually listen to.

Give an Out

This is particularly effective for giving negative feedback in a workplace setting. By ‘giving an out,’ we create a dynamic that allows feedback to become a fluid discussion that leads to actionable growth. In action, this can come down to simple phrasing.

Some examples:

“Tell me what you think, but I feel there are definitely some things we can do to help you adjust better to your new role.”

“It seems like this fell through the cracks because you are overwhelmed but I want to hear your thoughts.”

Let Go of Your Ego

A lot of the bad and unsolicited advice we give happens when we are subconsciously trying to prove something about ourselves to ourselves. This dynamic happens far more frequently than we think. For example, think of a parent giving unsolicited advice to their teenager. While they mean well, they are partially satisfying the need to remain influential in their child’s life as they get older.

In workplaces, this can happen with people managers who feel their success is predicated on their ability to influence their subordinates. In both of these instances, advice tends to fall on deaf ears despite being well-intended.

Ask Yourself What and Why

Piggy-backing off the idea of letting your ego go, ask yourself why you might want to give advice. What issue or dynamic do you want to provide value to? Why do you think you can provide value to the situation? By answering those two questions you will be able to give advice that actually makes a difference.

Ask Questions

Asking questions achieves two things. It helps you better understand the dilemma of which you are advising, and it shows your recipient that you understand and care about their dilemma. Asking questions is also good for deducing if someone wants advice in the first place.


Advising in a Virtual Workplace

Dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in a rapid transition to virtual work. This transition has changed the way we work, interact and produce on a daily basis. Being able to adapt our leadership tactics and behaviors is vital to success. Webinars are a wonderful platform to discuss this transition and get actionable insights for thriving in this ‘new normal’ of work. Join us on April 22, to learn more!

Virtual Workplace - Webinar - Lead Inclusively

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