The art of giving and receiving advice (2023)

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The problem

Leaders need to learn to give and receive advice to do their jobs well, but sharing is hard work on both sides of the table. Getting it wrong can lead to bad decisions, strained relationships, and faltering careers.

The solution

Fortunately, you can master the art of consulting by adopting a best practice framework based on extensive research.

The advantages

By getting advice from the right people in the right way, you can develop smarter solutions to problems, deepen your thinking, and improve your decision-making. And by becoming a better adviser, you extend your influence and learn from the people you ask for advice.

seeking and giving advicecentral toEffective leadership and decision making. However, managers rarely see them as practical skills that can be learned and improved. Gaining leadership is often seen as a passive consumption of wisdom. And counseling is often treated as a matter of 'good judgment' - you have it or you don't - rather than a skill to be mastered.

When the trade is done well, people on both sides of the table benefit. Those who are genuinely open to guidance (and not just seeking validation) find better solutions to problems than they could on their own. They add nuance and texture to your thinking, and research shows they can overcome cognitive biases, selfish reasoning, and other flaws in your logic. Those who offer advice exert a gentle influence, shaping important decisions while empowering others to act. As engaged listeners, they too can learn a lot from the problems people bring them. And the rule of reciprocity is a powerful binding force: providing expert advice often creates an implicit debt that recipients are willing to pay.

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But those who seek advice and those who give advice face significant obstacles, including an ingrained tendency to prioritize their own opinion regardless of merit and the fact that listening carefully is hard work that takes a lot of time. The whole interaction is a subtle and complex art. It requires emotional intelligence, trust, restraint, diplomacy and patience on both sides. The process can derail in many ways, and failure can have detrimental consequences: misunderstandings and frustrations, deadlocked decisions, poor solutions, broken relationships, and thwarted personal development, with significant costs to individuals and their organizations.

Because these essential skills must emerge organically, they are rarely taught; but we have found that they can be learned and applied to great effect. That's why we drew on extensive research (our own and others') to identify the most common roadblocks and some practical guidance for overcoming them. Although highly veiled, the examples in this article are based on the real-life experiences of respondents in a variety of situations. Of course, counseling takes different forms in different circumstances. Coaching and mentoring are covered in detail elsewhere, so here we're focusing on situations involving important, risky, or emotionally charged decisions—ones where you may need to consult with someone multiple times because leaders struggle with these decisions and need to learn. How to deal with.

The art of giving and receiving advice (1)

Why is this harder than it looks?

Whether you are receiving or giving advice, faulty logic and limited information complicate the process. Advice seekers need to recognize their blind spots, know when and how to seek advice, get useful information from the right people, and overcome an inevitable defensiveness about their own views. Counselors also face numerous challenges when trying to interpret chaotic situations and provide guidance on seemingly intractable problems.

Below we describe the biggest obstacles on both sides. One of the reasons they're so common is that they're easy: People often don't realize they're tripping, so you might find it helpful to do a real check on your behavior with these lists.

When seeking counseling, be aware of these roadblocks:

(Video) Art of Giving and Receiving Advice

Think you already have the answers.

When deciding whether help is needed, people often find it difficult to assess their own competence and rely too heavily on their intuition. The result is overconfidence and a tendency to make decisions based only on assumptions and prior knowledge. A related tendency is to ask for advice when the ultimate goal is to receive validation or praise. People do this when they firmly believe they've solved the problem but still want to "check things out" with supervisors or colleagues. Or they do it when they're unsure about a solution but dread the time and effort it takes to do better. It's a dangerous game: they risk alienating their advisors if they find (and they will) that they are asking for guidance just to show off or to avoid extra work.

Choosing the wrong advisers.

Sometimes consciously, sometimes not, decision makers decide by turning to like-minded consultants. For example, in a study of CEOs, those in companies with low financial performance (measured by market value to book value) were more likely to seek the board of executives in the same industry and with a similar role than those with high performance. . background. The result was limited strategic changes: less product market and geographic diversification. Furthermore, several field studies confirm that those who seek counseling are more receptive to advice from friends or other supportive people. While friendliness, approachability, and non-threatening personalities provide a high level of comfort and confidence, they are unrelated to the quality or prudence of counseling.

Researchers don't think creatively enough about the expertise they need (which areas might yield valuable insights, who's solved a similar problem before, what expertise is most relevant, which expertise is a best match) or cast a net far and wide. enough to find this . Unfortunately, to make sense of a volatile and disorderly world, leaders often put people into orderly categories that don't reflect all of their wisdom. This is a mistake President John F. Kennedy made in the build-up to the Bay of Pigs invasion. He did not consult Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg for advice, assuming that Goldberg lacked experience in military affairs. But as journalist David Halberstam describes inThe best and brightest.Goldberg had conducted guerrilla operations during World War II, so he understood that guerrillas "were useless to face regular units". He explained to the president, "Every time we use them that way, we always lose all of our people... But you didn't think of that and you just put me in the category of Secretary of Labor."

Misdefine the problem.

Seekers often have difficulty communicating with their advisors, sometimes due to inaccurate or ineffective communication and sometimes due to cognitive or emotional blinders. If they communicate ineffectively, they can tell a long, single story that causes listeners to tune out, lose focus, and possibly misidentify the core of the problem that needs solving. Or they leave out details that reflect poorly but are critical to the big picture. Many candidates also accept basic background information (often about past incidents or organizational policies) that their consultants don't know. Or they misdefine the problem, arbitrarily narrowing it down and excluding important data, distorting their own assessment and that of their advisers (a trap dubbed by decision makers Max Bazerman and Dolly Chugh).limited consciousness).

discount tips.

Once researchers have a tip in hand, the most common mistake is to downplay or dismiss it. This is a strong and recurring finding in organizational behavior research, so it's pretty safe to assume that you are at least vulnerable to this problem. On the one hand, "egocentric bias" often obscures the view of researchers, even when people lack experience, they value their own opinions more than the opinions of others. Second, seekers understand their own logic but may not be aware of advisors' reasoning. Or they get so caught up in their preconceived notions that they can't adjust their thinking when they get feedback to the contrary. Over time, discarding advice can damage important relationships. Counselors know when they are not being listened to, and this breeds distrust and resentment.

advice on advice

William Lee is one of the leading intellectual property attorneys in the United States, a former co-managing partner of WilmerHale and a senior member of the Harvard Corporation, the board of trustees of Harvard University, so he provides a lot of life advice. Because he gained a reputation for being so adept at doing this, Garvin and Margolis included him in their research sample for this article. HBR spoke with Lee about his consulting approach and what he learned from his experience.

HBR:How would you describe your consulting style?

Leeward:I try to understand what the other person is dealing with and provide guidance that makes sense from that perspective. My firm represents big clients like Apple and Intel, but when we advise those institutions, we also advise the people who work there. They have the company's best interests in mind, but they have a boss to think about, their own goals, their personal life, their ups and downs. Our advice should work for both you and the institution. When we have something to say that the client's CEO doesn't want to hear, we take the pressure off. If we say exactly what everyone wants to hear, we'll have an informant reporting it.

How do you approach less formal counseling, for example when mentoring someone?

From my point of view, mentoring is the most important form of counseling. You really have to get to know the person. I like to start with a simple, open-ended question: "How are you?" That way, you'll know what the other person is thinking, so you can better understand what's going on and how you can help.

What are you looking for in a consultant?

Someone who is open and honest. Someone who gives advice that people can follow. (Otherwise, it's like telling them, "Get bigger" or "Get smarter.") Also, someone who recognizes that every situation is different. I advise clients. I also advise people about their careers. Much depends on the circumstances facing the person. When you were younger and used to be the receiver, you were probably more inclined to believe there was a way to think about problems. Over time I realized that it was more complicated. I learned the importance of listening.

Listening is a big topic in this article, but how do you get the details right?

Sometimes you need to have the conversation. The question "Is this how you think about the problem?" or "How would so-and-so feel about the problem?" you can steer the conversation in a different direction. The hardest thing to resist is just cutting off an errant narrative and giving advice. It's much better to ask questions that allow people to draw their own conclusions. When they do, they feel much more confident in the process and the decisions they are making.

What were some of your toughest experiences?

(Video) The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice.

About 25 years ago, I was the lead trial attorney in a major case. My vice president was younger, a good lawyer, and a great person. We work well together. When he first emerged as a partner, we both knew the decision was primarily mine. He had a great presence, but his skills didn't match where the company was going. One day, at lunchtime, we talked openly about it. I told him that he would be tremendously successful in a different environment, but not if he stayed with the company. He went elsewhere and really prospered there. It was the hardest conversation I've ever had at work, and then he told me the same thing. But he also said it was the best conversation he's ever had.

Those in positions of power are the worst offenders. According to an experimentlearn,They feel competitive when receiving expert advice, which boosts their confidence and leads them to reject what the experts tell them. Powerful study participants ignored nearly two-thirds of the advice they received. Other participants (the low-power and control groups) ignored the advice about half the time.

Incorrect judgment of the quality of advice.

Most counselees have difficulty distinguishing good from evil. Research shows that they value advice more when it comes from a trusted source, even when trust does not indicate validity. On the other hand, search engines tend to assume that advice is misguided when it deviates from the norm or comes from people with whom they've had frequent discussions. (Experimental studies show that neither indicates poor quality.) Search engines also don't accept advice when the advisers disagree. And they do not adequately compensate for biased advice due to conflicts of interest, even when their advisors recognize conflicts and the potential for conflicts of interest.selfish motives.

When giving advice, look for these trends:

Go beyond the limits.

Although many people give unsolicited advice, it is often perceived as intrusive and rarely followed. (That goes without saying. We all know what it's like to get "helpful tips" that we don't invite and really don't want.) Another way consultants go too far is to butt in when they're not qualified. doing so can give them a short-term ego boost, but at a significant cost. People who generously give unfounded advice quickly lose credibility and influence in their organizations. Even a single bad advice usually leads to a quick loss of reputation for the consultant.


Consultants need to collect information to develop a clearer picture of the problem to be solved. Here, they can slide in a variety of ways, as Edgar Schein of MIT's Sloan School has pointed out. First, they can define the problem in advance becausethinkThey see similarities to the challenges they faced. (Often, these analogies don't hold up when the full scope of the problem is revealed.) Second, they sometimes forget that search engines are interested parties who, intentionally or unintentionally, may submit partial or biased reports. Taking these accounts at face value leads to inaccurate valuations and erroneous advice. All of this is compounded by an irrational but compelling fear of appearing incompetent: Consultants tend to avoid basic, deep questions because they don't want to compromise their expert status.

Offer self-centered leadership.

Counselors often phrase their guidance in terms of "how would I react if I were you." This approach is both frightening and ineffective because it clearly fails to think about how the seeker feels, perceives the situation, and understands future decisions—the kind of insight that leads to empathetic understanding and helpful recommendations. Counselors can also share personal stories and experiences that fail the "feasibility test" because they simply don't align with seeker power, negotiation skills, organizational skills, or situational constraints.

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Badly communicated advice.

Several errors fall into this category. Advisors can make vague recommendations that can easily be misinterpreted. (For example, "Align behaviors with goals" could refer to organizational units or goals, and it's not entirely clear what those behaviors are.) Or they use technical jargon or some other inaccessible language when providing knowledge. They can also overwhelm researchers with too many ideas, alternatives, action plans, perspectives or interpretations. Nothing causes more paralysis than a long list of options with no explicit guidance on where to start or how to work through and revise the list.

mismanagement of consequences.

Although the final decision is not theirs, many advisors are offended when their guidance is not fully accepted, limiting further discussion. This has both short-term and long-term costs: missed opportunities to provide a general sense of direction, even if some of the search engine options are not to your liking; and over time, a growing distance between counselor and seeker that can limit the trust and intimacy that are the foundation of effective counseling. The reality is that recipients rarely accept and follow one person's advice. More often than not, they'll change the advice, combine it with feedback from others, or dismiss it altogether, and advisors often don't treat these responses as valuable input to an ongoing conversation.

Best practices for seeking and giving advice

As a leader and decision maker, you must "give what you get" and vice versa, but how do you overcome all these obstacles? We identified some guidelines by combining the lessons of academic research with the practical wisdom of local experts, people we interviewed because they are known for their consulting skills. Though they come from a variety of backgrounds—technology, financial services, law, politics, educational administration, consulting, and not-for-profit organizations—we find striking parallels in their behavior across the five phases of consulting.

The art of giving and receiving advice (2)

Step 1: Find the right fit.

Each consultation request is unique and reflects a distinct combination of circumstances, personalities and events. However, because time is often of the essence, you don't want to look for potential consultants in every situation. Assemble a personal “dashboard” in advance that includes people you value not only for their judgment and ability to maintain trust, but also for their different strengths, experiences, and points of view. They should all have your best interests in mind and have a track record of success.Yes reallyReady to say what you don't want to hear. Try to find at least one person to whom you can turn in various situations, because such a counselor will develop a complex sense of your problems and your natural prejudices and prejudices.

(Video) The secret to giving great feedback | The Way We Work, a TED series

When selecting a consultant (or consultants) from this panel for your immediate needs, determine how you would like them to help you and why. Sometimes you want a sounding board: someone who can listen carefully to help you clarify and sharpen your thinking. At other times, you may want to try a path or alternative that you have tentatively chosen. Or perhaps you want someone who can broaden your frame of reference, drawing on a wealth of experience and insight to uncover dimensions of the problem you missed. Or maybe you're looking for litigation, a way to navigate a difficult situation, or help generate substantial ideas. The better you understand what you need, the better your options and the better your consultant can support you.

The art of giving and receiving advice (3)

Take this example: A regional supply chain leader for a medical supply company was asked by the purchasing director to play tough with a local government that consistently delayed purchases. As the lawsuits continued to mount, the CPO suggested that the offer be fast-tracked, but the manager feared government officials would make her a celebrity. It was a high-risk situation and he needed guidance. When considering potential consultants, he knew he needed people who could do calibrations. Were his concerns justified or exaggerated? He decided that the person with the most relevant experience was a manager overseeing the supply chain in an equally sensitive region. He also approached a colleague with experience in international risk analysis. As a result, he was able to make a balanced recommendation to the CPO: that they inform various regional leaders of their proposed plan to reduce supply. And based on his information, the CPO decided not to go ahead with his plan.

As the supply chain manager recognized, no one consultant can be helpful in all situations, and the most accessible one may not be the right person to contact. Try to figure out what you don't know and how it aligns with the knowledge and experience of those you may come in contact with. C. Roland Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School, used to say, "When you choose your directors, you choose your board." find knowledge base Avoid choosing Consultants primarily based on trust, likeability, friendliness or reinforcing views; as mentioned above, these are not indicative of quality.

When the roles are reversed and you are asked for advice, ask yourself if you really are a good match. Do you have the right background to help in this specific situation? Can you devote enough time and effort to addressing seeker concerns? It is much better to decline the request than to give uninformed advice, rush advice, be distracted in meetings, or discover late in the process that you have little value to offer. Ask why the counselor came to see you, but remember thisIs it over therebetter judge whether your judgment and experience are relevant. Saying no is also a service, and you can help further by identifying other sources of knowledge. Even if you are well qualified to act as a consultant, consider recommending a few others to offer complementary or alternative points of view. This will give the seeker a more structured understanding of the challenges and options.

Phase 2: Developing a common understanding.

At this stage, your main objective as a person seeking counseling is to mediatejust enoughInformation for your consultant to understand the problem you are facing, why it is challenging and where you hope to go. This allows you to make informed, unbiased recommendations without getting lost in the weeds. So back up your narrative with meaningful detail and provide context, but avoid taking a long trip through backstory, different interpretations, and possible consequences. Otherwise, you could distract them from the main topics or lose interest.

If they ask for advice, ask yourself if you really fit in with us. Do you have the right background? Can you devote enough time and effort to addressing seeker concerns?

As you tell, you may have to admit some uncomfortable truths about your behavior or your weaknesses. Your preoccupation with revealing certain information may actually indicate how important you are in the making of the story. A consultant is only as good as the personal and organizational profile they work with, so share all the important details, even those that aren't flattering or difficult to discuss. This will help you overcome your biases and blind spots.

As a consultant, you want to get the full picture in a reasonable amount of time while expanding the researcher's understanding. So set the course for openness and efficiency: Choose a location that frees you both from distractions and allows enough (but not unlimited) time for intense discussions. Privacy and confidentiality are essential. Create a "safe zone" where both of you can talk openly. Listen to the seeker and discover your story with minimal intrusion. Suspend your judgment and resist the urge to provide immediate feedback and guidance: you still don't know enough to give thoughtful advice. Ignoring conclusions or recommendations usually indicates an incorrect or incomplete diagnosis, so gather more information. Start with broad, open-ended questions like "How does this make you feel?" because they click together, reveal what's really on the seeker's mind, and often get you right to the heart of the matter. (Anthropologists call these "long-term questions" and suggest using them as starting points for interviews.) Then get additional context and supporting details to help the researcher move beyond a self-service account.

In our counselor interviews, two people shared stories about seekers who looked to them for validation and were already determined to do something. Both seekers had (and expressed) only a partial view of the problem; Counselors said they needed to unravel the rest through patient questioning before they could begin to articulate good advice and get seekers out of confirmation mode into a genuine, nascent understanding of the challenges they faced.

Identify the candidate's personal interests and goals and compare them to those of the organization. Consider, in the words of one of our experts, giving "homework" to encourage seeker thinking ("Get back to me next week with five reasons why moving to Dallas would be a good idea"). Finally, deepen your own understanding by asking about causes, possible consequences, and other relevant topics that were not explicitly mentioned. They will talk a lot if you can get them out there. The indicated problem may just be a symptom of these underlying issues.

Once you've done all this, you'll have enough knowledge to agree or disagree with the researcher on a key question that is rarely asked: What role should you play? Should they serve as a sounding board, provide reassurance, build the seeker's image of this type of situation, or present new ideas and options? Discuss your findings with your advisor to ensure a shared understanding of what is needed.

Step 3: elaboration of alternatives.

Ymake a decisiondramatically improves when multiple options are available, candidates and consultants must work together to find more than one opportunity. Even go-or-no decisions lead to better outcomes when different alternatives are described and considered.

Take this example from our interviews: A head of consumer products at an electronics company decided to change its marketing department to better collaborate with technology. I was eager to embrace this industry trend as it has the potential to accelerate product development and get everyone thinking about more targeted offerings. But his vice president of marketing thought he was putting too much distance between his people and sales.

So the division manager turned to a trusted colleague, the COO, for advice on how to handle marketing. The COO agreed that the move made sense and worked with the head of the division to brainstorm ideas for bringing in the vice president of marketing, without resorting to Fiat. For example, the department manager might try presenting the proposal in small cross-functional meetings so that the vice president can hear his direct reports discuss the benefits of working more closely with the engineers. They can also meet with big retailers or Wall Street analysts who can discuss how competitors have benefited from this approach. Talking with the COO broadened the VP's perspective: he could now see options beyond one-on-one meetings with the VP.

(Video) The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice | ਪ੍ਰੋ. ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰਾ ਸਿੰਘ - ਸਲਾਹਦੇਈਏ ਕਿ ਨਾ?

When seeking counseling, adopt an investigative and analytical mindset to identify and weigh multiple possibilities. Be sure to bring your own ideas, but also listen to your advisor's suggestions, especially those that might take you in a completely different direction. Imagine how you could apply these recommendations but also subject them to a lot of pushing and shoving. You want to represent what you would actually do. Ask specific questions about the costs and benefits of each, the underlying reasons, the relevance of the advice to your situation (to confirm your consultant is not applying your preferred principles and past experience), tactics for implementing the ideas, what impact this could have and what eventualities you should prepare for. In short, examine the advice as closely as your consultant examined your description of the problem to be solved. The ensuing discussion prepares you to overcome implementation hurdles.

If you are the consultant, consider yourself a driving instructor. By providing supervision and guidance, your ultimate goal is to allow the seeker to act independently. Our respondents said, essentially in unison, "It's the seeker's job to find the way forward." You can never fully follow in the adviser's footsteps and it is important to recognize this clearly. As you help her make actionable decisions, articulate the thinking behind each possibility. Describe the principles behind your advice, along with any experiences you bring or use as analogies. Articulating your thought process and possible biases can help you and the researcher determine how well your reasoning and perspective fit the situation. By guiding the seeker, you can narrow the power gap and increase the likelihood that your advice will be helpful by explicitly asking what doesn't feel right.

Phase 4: Convergence towards a decision.

When it comes time to narrow down the options and choose a course of action, search engines often fall prey to confirmation bias, taking the "easy way out" or other forms of incorrect reasoning. So test your reasoning by reviewing options that were ruled out or briefly considered and asking your consultant to play devil's advocate. And don't hesitate to get a second or third opinion now, especially if you're still not sure. This may offset any bias or conflict of interest on the part of your consultant. ExperimentalTestsuggests that two opinions are usually enough to get the most benefit from multiple advisors. But for complex, ambiguous, highly visible, or controversial issues, or when implementation is likely to be tricky, some additional perspective is often helpful. No matter how problematic or urgent the situation is, resist the urge to jump to the simplest solution available.

You may want to combine recommendations from multiple consultants with your own insights to form a hybrid solution. A team leader at a consulting firm did this when he was struggling to lead project meetings. Veterans and newcomers alike engaged in endless debates, each faction convincing the other that they didn't "get it." As the leader communicated well with everyone individually, he thought about reducing group meetings and managing the project centrally.

His advisers provided a variety of reactions. One emphasized the importance of allowing the group to discuss customer challenges rather than just discussing competitive solutions. Another said the two sides needed to hear each other out to broaden their perspectives. And a third suggested openly discussing the team's dysfunction. The leader referred to the three tips. After explaining in a series of one-on-one interviews what the next project meeting would look like and why, he gathered his team and asked people with different backgrounds and experiences to share their thoughts on the client's challenges. The debate didn't disappear, but it was much more constructive: team members reached a common understanding of the problems to be solved. They ended up talking about how to hold more meetings like this one.

If you're looking for advice, don't hesitate to get a second or third opinion, especially if you're not sure. This may offset any bias or conflict of interest on the part of your consultant.

If you are a consultant, your goal at this stage is to work with the consultant to explore all available options before making a decision. Discuss the most likely outcomes of each possibility, weighing the pros and cons of each and making sure the conversation remains a dialogue rather than a monologue. Formulate a hypothesis: “Imagine that a year has passed and you have fired this talented but difficult manager. What could happen? How bad or good could things get? – to outline possible implications. Then focus the discussion on a course of action. This might mean advocating for just one option, or it might suggest trying out a few ideas.

Pause frequently to assess how comfortable the seeker is with the advice being offered and the extent to which he or she accepts the rationale behind it. Work together to surface unspoken assumptions, lingering doubts, and unresolved issues. At the same time, recognize that "I don't know" is a good answer when you cannot predict the impact of certain options, especially if you provide clear recommendations on how to get more information about the alternatives.

Often, follow-up meetings are essential to support the consultants' decisions and develop detailed action plans. Therefore, be available for clarifications and elaborations. However, sometimes search engines go back to having more and more conversations to delay decision making. If you suspect this is happening, say so and ask what could be done to move things forward, or encourage the seeker to try a solution and check in with you how it went.

Step 5: Put the advice into practice.

As a seeker, you must follow the advice you receive and make adjustments on the fly. Consultation is best treated as provisional and conditional: it should be a cycle of leadership, acting, learning and more leadership, not a fixed path to follow. Especially if the counseling process spans a long period of time, circumstances may have changed by the time you can act.

So get more advice if you need it. You can benefit from several meetings, especially if you've gathered new information in your first steps or have a series of decisions to make. It's also thoughtful and helpful to let your advisor know what you've done and how it's working. It's a way to express your gratitude, strengthen the relationship, and also help the counselor learn.

If you are the evaluator, exit the process at this step. He states that it is up to the seeker to move forward. Both the decision and the consequences are theirs, not yours, and must be recognized as such. This will help ensure personal accountability and avoid undue blame when things don't go as expected. However, stay open to additional guidance as events unfold. Especially in fluid and rapidly changing situations, even the best advice can quickly become irrelevant. If you are willing to help with course corrections, please share your availability.

Although seekers and counselors work together to solve problems, they have different points of view. recent social psychologysearchshows that people in an advisory role are focused on a general purpose (Becauseaction is about to be taken), while advice seekers, who are often faced with an imminent decision, are more concerned with tactics (whichfinish things). As a consultant, you're probably thinking idealistically; as a seeker, you are pragmatic, even when facing the same challenge.

Suppose a hiring manager had to decide whether to fill a key position with an external candidate or promote an ambitious employee from within. As this manager's mentor, you can see the benefits of a new perspective and the healthy discomfort it can bring. But if you're the one seeking advice, you may be more inclined to see the challenges that come with onboarding an outsider and being willing to deliver results, as well as the time savings and morale boosting when you communicate with an outsider. out. By considering both perspectives, whichever yours, you can reach mutual understanding, identify the top priority driving the decision (reduce time and effort on integration? Add a new perspective?) and prepare for the downsides of each option.

Overall, our guidelines for search engines and advisors represent a fundamental shift in approach. While people tend to focus on the content of the counseling, those with better knowledge care about this as well.whichthey advise itI wasthey advise It's a mistake to think of advice as a single transaction. Qualified counseling is more than giving and receiving wisdom; It's a creative and collaborative process: it's about putting pressure on both sides to better understand the problems and find promising paths. And that usually requires an ongoing conversation.

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A version of this article appeared atJanuary-February 2015problem ofHarvard Business Review.


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