As a recruiter and team leader, knowing how to give advice was something I needed to learn. Candidates would need to know best practices revolving around their resume, interviews, what to wear, and what to say. Being a recruiter meant I had to have the answers!
The same goes for leading a team. Having the ability to give advice that is effective and provides guidance is key. Here are my best ways to give effective advice without crossing the line and becoming hurtful.
- Be selfless in your actions and word choice. When giving advice, ensure it’s for his or her benefit, and not just to make yourself sound smart. One thing I learned early on in my career, if you can’t add value to the conversation, don’t open your mouth. Remember, you want the purpose of your guidance to help him or her grow.
- Think before you speak. This goes without saying, but here we are, reminding you to consider your words and phrasing carefully. Avoid putting yourself on a pedestal. This comes off as derogatory and implies you know more than the individual. Simply put, you’re sharing advice because you’re in a leadership role. No need to remind them.
- To piggyback off of word choice, remember your tone. Speak in a manner that is inviting and casual. There is such a fine line between helpful and hurtful. You want your employees to feel that their voice is being heard as well.
- When giving advice, it may be because the individual made a mistake at work and you’re simply nipping it before it becomes a problem. If this is the case, use the line “this may not happen often, but I don’t want it to become a pattern“, then continue with your advice.
- Point out a positive. It’s important to recognize positive things that the individual has done for you or the company, so that they don’t feel like you only speak when they’ve done something wrong. You’re not a middle school Dean. When you point out the positives, this shows that you’re paying attention to the employee at all times.
Giving advice can be challenging. The best part about advice is that everyone can give anyone advice about something! In the workplace, there is not one person that knows every answer to every question. As a leader, part of giving advice is knowing when to ask for answers to the questions you may not know.
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