Here’s How Good Leaders Give Advice

Here’s an unfortunate reality of the working world: most leaders in organizations simply don’t know how to give good advice. 

Why? In part, it’s because the skills that get someone promoted to a top job often have little to do with their ability to guide and inspire others. Secondly, many leaders think they’re an expert who can give advice on anything and everything and then inadvertently become micromanagers.

However, good leaders shouldn’t see their role as to instruct and have all the answers. Instead, they should see themselves as a coach who assists and gently pushes people to arrive at their own solutions.

If you’re interested in this collaborative type of leadership, remember these 4 points:  


“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” -Dr. Stephen Covey

A poor leader is often too busy giving advice to fully understand the situation that they’re actually being asked about and since they don’t know all the facts and issues at hand, they’re often focusing on the wrong one. 

However, Dr. Stephen Covey again said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Listening allows a manager to be as informed as possible, and therefore, better equipped to provide a response of value and respect.  

Ask the right questions.

“The question is the one form of thought that always actively leads us out of the past and into a bigger future.” -Dan Sullivan

Yes/no questions have a tendency to shut down conversations and can make people feel like they’re being pushed towards a certain answer or direction. 

However, a good manager will pose open-ended questions that gently guide the listener to thinking about possible solutions and then allowing them to decide which is best.

Assist with goal setting.

“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.” -Paul Arden

After an employee has settled on a solution, their manager should work with them to create a plan to implement it. Setting goals together can ensure both parties are aligned and heading in the right direction. 

Provide useful feedback.

Brendon Burchard says, “Consistency in receiving feedback is the hallmark of consistent growth.”

For a leader, delivering good feedback is at the core of a strong team. Not only positive feedback but constructive feedback that is well delivered and intended to help the other person move forward.