Advice about Advice

Advice about advice

It’s like getting hand-me-down clothing. When I advise businesses about management development, I think about it that way. And this also applies to advising your employees, co-workers, or even spouse. Here’s some advice about advice.

You’ve probably been the recipient of hand-me-downs. Depending on your situation and style, maybe you like the item and wear it. But maybe it doesn’t fit right. Or, you don’t like the color, style, or fabric. Maybe you are creative, so you modify it to make your own statement. But maybe you don’t want it, or even appreciate the gesture. You may accept it, but have no intention of wearing it. Or you might snub it, and the giver, and the fact she thinks you need it.

And here’s something else – have you ever given your unused clothing to someone you felt could use it? How did you pitch your offer? Did you sell him on the value and quality, and how he would benefit by accepting it? Or, did you tell him you weren’t using this old rag anymore so he could have it? He may have been grateful, or just acting so, or not, depending on how he felt about the gift. And about you.

No matter which side of the hand-me-down you’re on, emotions can play a big part in this interchange. Giving advice is like that – like hand-me-down clothing. So when you’re giving it, avoid these mistakes. Notice all the underlying emotions that surround each bit of it you hear today:

  • Are you asked for advice?
  • Is the advice necessary?
  • Does it really seem appreciated?
  • Will it fit the user?
  • Can it be modified?
  • Will it be used?
  • Does its use matter?

And if you’re the giver, pay special attention to the feelings of your receiver. With that in mind, I’ll add one more thing – give advice in moderation.

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