7 Ways to Advise the Boss and Advance Your Career

Wise bosses seek advice.

Foolish bosses always know.

the difference between crusaders and advisers is attachment to their ideas

7 ways to advise the boss and advance your career:

#1. Make the boss feel understood. Clarify the boss’s goals, intentions, and assumptions. Repeat your understanding of desired outcomes.

Speak to intentions, not presenting issues. “With your intentions in mind, you might consider….”

#2. Ask two or three questions, before offering one word of advice. For example:

  1. What are some of your concerns?
  2. What assumptions drive this decision?
  3. Why does this matter to you?
  4. Forget the choices, what do you hope to accomplish?

Insight follows curiosity.

One way to give advice is by providing space for reflection.

#3. Avoid drama. Excess emotion increases stress and complexity. Drama is distraction. Stay focused and cool when giving advice.

Hot emotion is one way to say, “I want my way.”

#4. Push the boss’s agenda, not yours. Trusted advisers help others reach their goals.

#5. Get to the point. Begin with your suggestions. Follow with reasons. “You might try …. Here’s why I’m suggesting that.”

#6. Offer alternatives agreeably. Say, “Here’s an option …,” rather than, “I disagree….” It’s not necessary to be disagreeable to disagree.

#7 Offer two or three suggestions.

The difference between advisers and crusaders is attachment to their ideas.

Tip: Grab an oar and row, regardless of the final decision.

The five values of advice:

  1. Affirmation. Confidence grows when advisers agree.
  2. Disaffirmation. Disagreement between advisers invites reflection on assumptions.
  3. Alternatives. Decisions become exponentially better, when leaders move from one to four alternatives, before moving forward.
  4. Understanding. Ignorance increases when alternatives aren’t considered.
  5. Safety.

A surprising reason it’s wise to seek advice:

Advisers become more engaged.

Inviting advice increases engagement and feelings of power in team members, even if their alternatives aren’t chosen.

People find energy, when they feel heard.

Warning: Fake listening increases frustration and powerlessness.

What tips/warnings might you offer for giving advice to the boss and advancing your career?

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