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IDEAS. STRATEGY. TACTICS. INNOVATION. INSPIRATION.

How To Give Good Advice



The success of the WIE Suite community is anchored in the value and quality of advice and support our members give one another. But not all advice is created equal or received as such. According to the NY Times' Anna Goldfarb, "Advice is a gift, albeit one bundled with inherent power dynamics. That 'I know your situation best and here’s what you should do' attitude is what can make advice-giving so fraught." So how do you share insights and observations with your colleagues in a manner that’s thoughtful, useful and ultimately well received?


Evaluate

Before offering any advice ensure you understand what’s being asked of you. Is the person asking for your input or are they asking to be heard? If they are seeking your input they are more likely to listen to your suggestions as opposed to when your advice is unsolicited. Instead of offering blanket advice on the overall situation, ask clarifying questions to learn what has already been done to address their issue to avoid offering redundant suggestions. Lastly, ask yourself if you have the expertise to give helpful advice. If you don’t it would be beneficial to point them in the direction of resources that would be more informative.


Collaborate

Choose your words carefully. Words have the power to heal when they are used in an empowering way. Start by complimenting the recipient on what they have done well. Then share your experience as it relates to their situation to avoid sounding preachy. Offer things you did that worked, and didn’t work and resources that helped you along the way. As you’re sharing, observe the recipient's body language to ascertain how your message is being received.


Support

As you wrap up your conversation, give the advice-seeker an out by reassuring them they only need to take the suggestions that resonated with them the most. They might not have the capacity or the desire to take on all the advice you offered so giving them permission to disregard things that don’t apply leaves both parties feeling good. Perhaps only one or two takeaways will lead to action items. Once those next steps are established, all you have to do is ask whether they need continued support.