Ever been around someone who always seems to know more about everything and is dying to share their wealth of knowledge with you? It’s teeth grinding to be around people like that! In a way they are harmless but in another way they’re dangerous because what if you believe them and use that information and it’s flat wrong?
A lot of these “sound givers” wind up in leadership positions, often managing salespeople. More often than not these managers are into control. They think, and wrongly so, that their mission is to constantly suggest, change, dominate, mentor, coach, tell, fix the salespeople who report to them. This need to inject themselves into others is part of their DNA strand. They see themselves as the coach calling in plays from the sideline. These managers are on a constant lookout for something they can alter.
The problem with these cats is that after a while other people tune them out. The advice becomes more noise than meaningful comments. Maybe the word advice needs to change. Doesn’t advice carry with it an almost negative connotation? Advice is defined as an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action or conduct. Doesn’t sound bad does it? Unfortunately most advice is not offered or recommended nor is it a guide. Advice winds up more as a directive than an offering. It comes across in these types of comments: “Here’s what you need to do.” Or, “If I were you I would….” Or my favorite. “Look, if you want to succeed, close, achieve goals (whatever the end point) do it this way.”
Recommending a different approach (advice alternative) doesn’t have to be subtle or vague. Too subtle and people won’t get it. Any recommendation to change should begin with a question about the goal of the activity that needs correction. A manager who assumes that he or she knows why the salesperson chose a specific approach may be missing key information that could be part of the solution.
More about this in my next post.