Here’s my best relationship problem advice: Stop giving advice! In this article find out why advice-giving can be detrimental. You'll also review three action tools for better communication and a review of the mind set used by great leaders, salespeople and communicators to build great relationships. Don't miss the rubber band action step at the end...
Relationship Problem Advice & A Reminder,
EVEN When You Have the Best Of Intentions:
"Advice is like castor oil, easy enough to give,
but dreadful uneasy to take."
Josh Billing, American Humorist (1818 -1885)
Let me start with a real life example of 'advice gone wrong' - years ago I was enjoying a business lunch meeting with a talented and interesting colleague. Overall, it was a really good lunch and discussion. We were able to sit outside on a beautiful spring day and we covered everything on our agenda.
Our meeting 'turned south' for me when this colleague started offering advice around something I’d not asked about that he was doing. He shared,“You should try out this workout system. I’ve lost 10 pounds and
I’ve never felt better. Let me tell you all about it. They have this workout technique... They’re located... Here let me give you the web address, it’s...”
He talked on, and on, and on, and on for more than fifteen minutes! All the while trying to convince me to try this new fitness system that he loved.What he was sharing did not interest me and his advice, though well-meaning was kind of annoying.
He didn't know, but I've been active in fitness since my 20's. I have a complete home gym with commercial equipment that I use daily. I have a routine that I love. And I have access to all the resources that I want and need. I'm REALLY not interested in trying something else.
I felt impatient with him, and like he was wasting my time. I know his intentions were good, and that he was just excited about what he'd discovered. I also know that he sincerely likes to help people. His "I'm doing something you should do..." ramble was NOT a big deal at all in our relationship.
BUT, IF he has a HABIT of offering unasked-for-advice eventually his work and personal relationships will suffer. (And if that happens, he'll be on Google searching for solid relationship problem advice and help, and he might even find this article!)
Why do so many people feel so compelled to give advice? How many of us are unaware of this relationship problem were we're
sharing information with good intentions, but unknowingly turning people
off and away from us? How do we know when to share what we know, and when to just shut up and listen? Review the Mind Set Beliefs listened below and three tips for when to share advice, shared next.
"The first duty of love is to listen."
Paul Tillich, German Philosopher
Think about the great Leaders and Communicators you know and get to observe. As you reflect upon your experience with these 'Greats' you'll see traits, behaviors, beliefs and mindsets, like:
"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
"If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z,
with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut."
2. Lead By Inviting Input and Participation: This tool is a powerful tool. It is the art of seeking to understand the other person's viewpoint, ideas, thoughts and insights BEFORE you give any advice.
“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one
asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
Henry David Thoreau
3. Listen Aggressively: This means to hear with determination and energetic pursuit, demonstrating a desire to understand.
What action can you take right now to remember to put to use this relationship problem advice? Here’s What I Recommend:
Let me know what you think – is this relationship problem advice something that you see gets in the way of your own or others' success? Let me know if you try the rubber band and if you notice a positive difference in your relationships by holding back advice until asked.
Learn more about our Essential Leadership Performance Tools workshops, here.
"Advice after injury is like medicine after death."
Steve, "You weren't talking about me were you Suzie? I enjoy your newsletters and am currently working on my own listening and communication skills. So I appreciate this relationship problem advice article! I find quite often that selling skills are the polar opposite of training skills.....training skills are more about telling and putting on a live performance where were there to entertain and selling is more about asking the right questions and than listening aggressively as your newsletter suggests." My Reply To Steve, "Steve, thank you for your comments. For me this is a lifetime of learning... so glad to know I'm not the only one working on it!"
Kathy Regan, "Suzie, Thank you. I thought the McCloskey quote on speaking / listening was poignant" 'I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.' "I am guilty as charged!"
Mark, "Great 'advice!' I especially like the phrase Listen Aggressively."
Gordy, "Hope all is well! I enjoyed the article on Relationship Advice – another example of why God gave us two ears and one mouth!"
Lisa, "Suzie, Thanks for the article on giving advice. It was so timely for me because I caught myself doing this just this last week!" My Reply, "Thank you for tuning in, reading and sharing your thoughts. Get out the rubber band!"
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