How To Give Good Advice at Work in 6 Steps (With Tips)

Updated February 3, 2023

A coworker explains details to a fellow coworker during a one-on-one meeting.

In the workplace, your colleagues and other professionals may share a challenge they're experiencing with you or ask you how they can improve their performance. Advising these individuals properly can allow you to impact others positively and increase your leadership skills, enabling you to progress in your role more quickly. Learning about the steps you can take to offer your advice in a professional environment can help you improve the quality of your advice and increase the likelihood of your colleagues accepting it. 

In this article, we discuss the benefits of giving quality advice to colleagues, offer steps you can take to give good advice to someone at work and list a few tips you can use to improve your advice in the workplace.

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Benefits of giving good advice 

Offering high-quality professional advice can help you increase your influence in the workplace and demonstrate to others that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to help them. The advice you offer others may help improve their decision-making and allow you to provide them with your unique insights. Here are some other benefits of giving good advice at work:

  • You can help others. When you give someone advice at work, you can gain a sense of accomplishment by helping someone address an issue and overcome a challenge. 

  • You can learn new things. Giving advice at work can allow you to increase your knowledge of a certain subject and apply this knowledge to your own experiences throughout your career. 

  • You can improve your motivation. Providing quality advice can help you increase your confidence in your knowledge and skills, improving your motivation to perform well at work.

Related: What Is the Importance of Leadership?

How to give good advice at work

Here are six steps you can take to give people at work quality advice and help them make better decisions:

1. Evaluate your background

The first step to giving good professional advice is to assess your knowledge and abilities. This can help you determine whether you're the best person to give someone advice. For example, if you have a background in marketing, you may not have the expertise to advise someone on accounting concepts, but you might be a good adviser for someone pursuing a career in marketing or advertising. 

Related: How To Give Advice to Employees

2. Ensure your advice is what the person wants

Before you provide advice, ensure that the person you plan to advise wants your help. Consider asking them if they'd like you to advise them. This can help you ensure that your colleague is willing to consider your perspective on their situation. If they ask you for advice themselves, ask for their input and clarify their expectations to ensure that you provide advice that's valuable to them. 

Related: 11 Jobs That Involve Giving Advice to Others (With Duties)

3. Think about the type of advice that's needed

Once you know your colleague wants advice from you, you can determine what type of advice is best for the situation. Carefully listen to the person recount their concerns and consider taking notes to review later. Ask questions for additional clarification as needed. The general types of advising include: 

  • Mentoring: This involves advising others on their career development or assisting them as they advance in their careers.

  • Coaching: This involves offering advice to help a colleague improve their career skills or the quality of their work.

  • Discrete advising: When someone asks for discrete advice, they're usually interested in resolving a specific situation or making a particular choice, such as determining which candidate to hire for a job. 

  • Counseling: A colleague desiring counsel might ask for advice on handling a challenging situation, like an interpersonal conflict with someone on their team.

Related: How To Be a Good Mentor in 12 Steps

4. Understand the situation

If you're planning to give someone advice about a challenge they're experiencing at work, it's first necessary to understand the situation before you offer the advice. Assessing the situation can help you avoid judgment during the advising process and allow you to provide the most high-quality advice possible. Here are some areas where you may be able to offer advice in the workplace:

  • Career development: As a person gains the qualifications and skills required to progress in their careers, they may ask for advice from others with more expertise and experience than them. For example, an entry-level financial analyst might ask a financial adviser about the courses they recommend to learn how to analyze budgets more accurately. 

  • Workplace challenges: In the workplace, many professionals require the advice of others as they complete their tasks. For example, if a sales associate finds obtaining leads challenging, they might ask a manager or supervisor for strategies to improve their sales quota. 

  • Interpersonal issues: Professionals may also ask for advice when experiencing an interpersonal issue in the workplace, which often requires using soft skills like communication, active listening and teamwork. For example, if a colleague discovers a manager acting inappropriately, they might meet with a human resources professional in their organization to inquire how to handle the situation. 

  • Productivity: Professionals may also ask for advice on how to be more productive and efficient at work. For example, a customer service representative may ask about tasks they can complete while not speaking with customers on the phone to stay productive during the day.

Related: 4 Levels of Conflict and Tips for Managing Them at Work

5. Offer your perspective

After you understand the situation, you can use your experience and knowledge to offer your colleague advice. Make sure your advice is actionable and useful to the person and demonstrate that you understand the full details of what they're experiencing. If you're advising based on your own experience, consider using a short anecdote to increase your credibility. Be honest and empathetic as you're giving advice and keep the tone of the conversation encouraging. In addition, justify the solutions you present and communicate that you're confident in the person's abilities to empower them to accept your advice. 

Related: 9 Tips for Taking Initiative at Work

6. Follow up and demonstrate your support

After you give someone advice at work, follow up later to learn how they applied your advice to the situation and determine whether they could still use your help. Consider how you might collaborate with your colleague to help them implement your advice. This can show them that you're invested in their development and want them to succeed in their career. It can also help you remain approachable if they need advice at work in the future.

Related: 9 Ways To Help and Support Colleagues at Work

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Tips for giving good advice in the workplace

Here's a list of tips you can use to improve the quality of your advice in the workplace:

Gain expertise

Gaining expertise in your industry can enhance the overall quality of your advice. It may help you increase your confidence and become more qualified to advise a greater number of colleagues. You can increase your expertise by learning about a topic and gaining industry experience. If you're giving advice related to interpersonal issues at work, expertise may mean understanding the basic dynamics of your workplace. 

Related: 11 Steps To Become an Expert in Your Field

Practice active listening

Active listening is a communication skill that involves listening carefully to another person before formulating a response. Active listening can help you understand your colleagues' expectations of you when they ask for advice more quickly. Practicing active listening when you're offering someone advice can also help you better understand their perspective and offer advice based on that perspective. 

Related: Qualities of a Good Listener and How To Be One

Offer options

One strategy you can use when you're providing someone with professional advice involves offering options for how they can address a situation rather than presenting them with a single solution. This allows you to provide potential solutions they didn't already consider. It can also empower them to make a decision based on your advice rather than simply taking your advice as an order. In addition, it can provide you with opportunities to encourage the other person and motivate them to overcome challenges with confidence. 

Related: Complex Problem-Solving: Definition and Steps

Make an effort to collaborate

When you're giving advice to a colleague, consider employing a collaborative approach to the advising process. This often involves working with the person you're advising to address an issue or help them develop in their career. For example, you might help them evaluate a challenge from many perspectives and offer them a new perspective. You might also brainstorm potential solutions with them and encourage them to consider their own experience before choosing one.

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