Before You Offer Advice…

Before you offer advice, make sure that the person on the receiving end is open to hearing it.

Sometimes, we think we know what someone needs to do or say or even wear at work. We’re sure that we’re right, and if our colleague or client would just listen to us, a certain problem or situation would immediately improve.

But offering unsolicited advice to someone who’s not ready to receive it can create more problems going forward.

Before you offer advice, stop and take the recipient’s temperature.

Say, “I’ve got a few ideas about how to resolve _________. Let me know when you’re ready to hear it.”

If you’re itching to advise a colleague on a personal matter like health or weight or love life, you’re better off waiting until that person requests your input.

If you can’t hold it in, say, “I’m having a strong reaction to ________. Can we discuss it?” Or “I’m really concerned about ________ . “ and see how the listener responds.

It may be hard to zip your lip. You may feel anxious and frustrated. But learning when and how to offer advice is an important life skill. It takes practice to offer assistance in a way that can be received.

You’re probably right

You’re probably right: That coworker you work with is incompetent. The employee you manage does have a bad attitude. Your boss should appreciate how hard you work. And your company isn’t paying you enough.

Now that we’ve established how right you are, what’s next? You can congratulate yourself for being right. But that affords limited satisfaction. Your situation won’t improve until you do something different. Sorry. It’s not fair. But your attitude is what will change your reality.

So accept that you are right, and get ready to respond to the difficult people at work differently.