Becoming Our Best


"When we give advice, we are responsible in some way for what the person does after taking our advice." Those words from one of my mentors stopped me in my tracks. Advice needs to be given carefully and appropriately. So what can we do to be effective and helpful in giving advice, without pushing the person too hard? Here are some reference points to consider before giving advice:

• If possible, wait until the person asks for advice. That way they are ready to listen.

• If you haven't been asked for the advice, the listener probably won't pay very much attention to it.

• Sometimes people ask for advice, when what they want is to be told they are correct. Make sure what it is they want from you before answering.

• "The truth will set you free". When your advice could be taken as harsh or punitive, find the most constructive way to say it. Maybe even ask, "Do you want the truth?" before giving the advice.

• Keep your advice simple, preferably giving one key point at a time. All of us have difficulty dealing with information overload.

Once we have given advice, either to an individual or a team, there will often be a lag time, or even an indefinite period before they take the advice and do something with it. Be patient, as we all change very slowly. But when your team's success depends on the advice being acted on immediately, make sure the person understands clearly what must be done.

Advice giving is a key skill to keep refining and honing throughout a career. There is a big payoff if you start using best practices now.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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