It can be lonely as a leader. When there is a challenge or the need to ask for advice, you may be unclear about who to talk with and who can provide you the right advice.
Here’s a simplified example. I’m sure many of you have read through social media postings where people are asking for advice or referrals. You may have posted your own “asks.” The problem is you receive an abundance of advice and go into overwhelm. Then, become stuck and don’t know how to proceed.
Sound familiar? Of course, most of us have experienced this in all areas of our lives. It can be very uncomfortable.
8 Tips for Getting the Right Advice Now
- Be Open. Stay away from “yes” people telling you what you want to hear! Remember, too many ideas will have you undecided on what to do next. Instead, limit your “ask” to three key people: mentors, coach, and/or trusted advisors. If they provide recommendations for experts, limit these to three people.
- Get Specific. Be clear about the advice you need by being specific about the issue and what you need to happen. For example: If you need to resolve a team dispute, include the key factors that must be considered, like team member satisfaction, team communication, and customer deadlines.
- Use the Rule of Three. Whenever you are making a big purchase or getting help with a problem, seek out only three proposals or bids. Provide the vendor/consultant with the specific goal and intended outcomes. Then, review these opportunities using your checklist to make your decision.
- Seek out trusted advisors and mentors. Keep your network up-to-date. As a leader, you never know who you will need to talk with until after the issue has occurred or is about to happen. Remember, when they recommend an expert ask “why” this person would be a great source of information.
- Deep dive and ask the right expert for factual information. Too often, we listen to what we want to believe, instead of what is factual. For example, there are over 3,000 publishers of assessments tools on the market today for pre-employment use. However, very few assessments meet the DOL Standards for Testing and Assessment: An Employer’s Guide to Good Practices. Check out PXT Select for your hiring, coaching, training, and managing needs.
- Hire the right coach. Yes, this can be difficult if you’re not clear what you want or need. Remember, successful leaders have executive coaches. Your coach should be the first person to talk with before seeking out other advice. It’s also the most comfortable place to start.
- Ask the right people. If you have a legal question, ask the right attorney. If you have a people management issue, ask a people management consultant. Don’t ask lots of people who have no actual hands-on experience or success on resolving the issue. Ask the people who know.
- Listen! This will be especially difficult when someone’s point of view doesn’t match your own or triggers an emotional response (e.g., cost, process, looking good, etc.). Put aside your filter and listen…you will learn and receive new advice that can make a big difference!
You’re not the first leader, nor the last one, to have the same or similar challenges. It’s really about learning who the right advisors are, receiving the right advice, rather than receiving an abundance of opinions. Be vulnerable and professional when sharing information about you and your company will become comfortable over time. Remember to honor confidentiality, while being respectful of their time.
©Jeannette Seibly 2020
Jeannette Seibly is The Leadership Results Coach. She has been an award-winning executive coach and keynote speaker for 28 years. Her expertise is guiding leaders to get unstuck and achieve unprecedented results. Contact Jeannette for a confidential conversation.
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