Three different advice personas

  • The “Tell It” persona: This persona is very loud and convinced that the only way to add value is to have all the answers.
  • The "Save It" persona: This persona is subtle. It tries to convince you that your only job is to rescue everybody. You're not allowed to let anybody stumble, struggle, or have a difficult time.
  • The "Control It" persona: This persona is very crafty and has convinced you that you only win if you maintain control at all times. If anybody else takes over control, even a little, you (and they) will definitely fail.
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The best way to tame your advice monster is to replace it with a new habit of staying curious. Questions that may help you achieve this:

  • Ask the other person what they think is the real challenge? It helps them to find the important issue and prevents you from providing them with a quick, wrong answer.
  • Ask, "What Else?" The first answer the other person will give you is never their only answer. It will help them to delve deeper into the situation.
  • "What do you want?" This is a very powerful question. When they know what they want, they get to move toward that action with autonomy and confidence.
  • We're solving the wrong problem: The first challenge that shows up is seldom the real issue.
  • Our advice is not nearly as good as we think it is: Cognitive bias makes us think we're brilliant at things even though we aren't.
  • Our advice monster will make us think that we are responsible for all the answers to save this person. It is exhausting, frustrating, and overwhelming.
  • For the person who's on the receiving end of your advice monster - they're getting the message that they are incapable of figuring this out by themselves, ripping away at their sense of confidence and autonomy.
Your advice monster

When somebody asks you for advice about something, and before you can gain the full context, your 'advice monster' is like, "Oh, oh, I've got something to say here."

The problem is not with giving advice, but when giving advice becomes your default response.

As soon as somebody starts talking, your advice monster wakes up with, "Oh, I'm going to add some value to this conversation!"

Learn to tame your advice monster. To train it, you need to understand it.

Your advice monster is really saying that you are better than the other person and they are not good enough.

However, you are losing that connection to your humanity, your empathy, your compassion, and your sense of vulnerability.

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Give away your Legos

In a startup, if you want to grow as fast as your company, you have to give away your job every couple months.

At a scaling startup, giving away responsibility is the only way to move on to building bigger and better things.

‘Give Away Your Legos’ and Other Commandments for Scaling Startups

Avoid tension and build rapport

This underscores the importance of starting on the right foot.  If you upset the person you’re trying to help, they’ll wall themselves off. 

It's important to use empathy, but don’t get too friendly. Take a careful balance between making someone like you and asserting your authority.

How To Give Good Advice That People Follow

The Advice Trap

It happens when one rushes to provide advice, which is most likely to be discarded or ignored, even if the person was asked for it.

Even with good intentions, providing advice isn’t necessarily a good idea. We normally do not welcome any advice provided to us, with a natural reflexive repulsion towards being told what is to be done by someone else.

The art of giving good workplace advice

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