7 Ways to Advise the Boss and Advance Your Career
Wise bosses seek advice.
Foolish bosses always know.
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:
- What are some of your concerns?
- What assumptions drive this decision?
- Why does this matter to you?
- 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:
- Affirmation. Confidence grows when advisers agree.
- Disaffirmation. Disagreement between advisers invites reflection on assumptions.
- Alternatives. Decisions become exponentially better, when leaders move from one to four alternatives, before moving forward.
- Understanding. Ignorance increases when alternatives aren’t considered.
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?
“People find energy, when they feel heard.” This is 100% true and there is a lot of research to support the notion that allowing people to have a voice improves engagement and job satisfaction. Great article!
Hi Dan, I greatly enjoy your posts. With this one I am sitting on a fence. Regardless of the desire to advance our careers we all should adhere to our values first. As long as we don’t compromise our own integrity, we can and we should push bosses’ agenda. In all other cases we need to forgo career advancement and do the right thing. If your boss is a real leader, he or she will accept the advice, which can only benefit them and the organization. Be always respectful while provising the advise but “live and die by your priciples”.
Dan, Very relevant post, again! I like the post not so much for the tactical steps but the philosophy behind the steps – “wise bosses seek advice”… Thank you! Something I promise to remember every time I can benefit from advice.
Greetings to you from South Africa.
For some reason I am unable to open the link to the very informative and welcome presentations this week. Any suggestions on how to overcome this?
I love your blog and often share it across our public sector organization.
Can you provide additional insight on how to best ask for advise but make clear whose will make the final decision (be it the leader or someone(or group) delegated to make the decision?