Recent studies have shown that giving advice is counterproductive especially at the workplace. We tend to jump to giving advice without knowing the actual situation of the person sitting next to us. We often do not even know the real scenario of the person seeking advice. This leads to addressing the wrong problem and a totally wrong solution.

Most of the time our intentions are good while giving advice but mostly the relationship is too new to judge or we are too quick to giving advice. According to Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of the book “The Advice Trap”, we are unleashing the advice monster while dispensing advice without knowing the actual scenario.

Psychology says the tendency of giving advice and pretending to know the solutions of everything stems from the society teaching us that successful people know everything and the leaders must prove their value by being Mr. Know-It-All.

Most of the time, we are under the Dunning–Kruger effect when we speak to others. This means that we think that our superficial knowledge and the wrong assumptions about anything make us qualified for speaking on any topic. We think we are smarter than we actually are.

How the advice-giving feels so right when actually it is so wrong?

The answer to this question lies in research which concludes that advice-giving is more beneficial to the person giving it rather than receiving it. The researcher found that unmotivated people have an empowering effect when the GIVE advice rather than receive it. The participants in this research felt more powerful and enthused when they were asked to give advice to a person who would definitely follow their advice.

What is the correct way of giving advice?

Well, it all depends upon the choice of words. The following are some ways you can cage your advice monster.

  • While giving advice, even you are an expert in a subject, you might say, “Well that depends upon your situation. It’s complicated.”
  • Rather than saying “This is the right way of doing it”, you can say, “This worked for me, this might work for you as well.”
  • Instead of saying, “This is how it is done”, say, “This is how most people have done it and succeeded.”
  • You can give advice saying, “I will throw some ideas that worked for me. If you find them useful, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too.”

Or don’t give advice at all.


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Ali is an M.Phil Scholar and an enthusiastic content writer with a keen interest in graphic designing with two years of experience in writing web articles, blog posts, essays, news reports on science, health, fitness, diet, psychology, How-To blogs, dating, sports, recreation, agriculture, education, and much more.