Stop asking for advice

Have you heard frustrated leaders complain, “I gave them advice but they didn’t listen.” Someone said, “Asking for advice suggests you’ll take it.”

Here’s some advice on getting advice.

Always use the plural.

The trouble with the term “advice” is it sounds singular. You can’t say advices.

Rather than asking for advice, ask for suggestions. For example, try saying, “Do you have any suggestions for dealing with Mary’s lack of follow-through?” When you say, “Do you have any suggestions?” you invite a discussion.

Rather than asking for advice, ask for options. For example, try saying, “What are some options that might solve this procedural bottleneck?” When you say, “some options,” you invite a discussion.

After receiving one suggestion, ask for another. You’ve just created a dialog.

Ask for someone else.

Begin your search for “advice” by saying, “I’m asking two or three people for their perspective on this issue.”

After receiving “advice” from one person, ask them if they can suggest others who have experience in the area you’re exploring.


How do you elicit “advice?”

What do you do when you receive “advice” that seems wrong?