New Leadership IQ White Paper Advises: Dont Give Advice

Washington, D.C.—April 29, 2010—A new white paper from Leadership IQ, a leadership development and research company, outlines the dangers of giving advice instead of instruction to employees.

“Why Giving Advice Doesn’t Work” reveals the common mistakes leaders make when communicating with their direct reports. Words such as “should,” “ought” and “try” turn an instruction into a suggestion, which can result in confusion, noncompliance and failure.

Mark Murphy, chief executive officer of Leadership IQ, explains that advice doesn’t work because it is:

-Judgmental. Unasked-for advice sends an underlying judgmental message of superiority.
-Directive. This implies that the advice-giver has all the answers about what works and what doesn’t.
– Gotchas. Recipients of advice either have to admit they are wrong (Gotcha #1) or risk an “I told you so” (Gotcha #2) if they don’t heed the advice.
– Narcissism. Sometimes advice is given to demonstrate how smart the giver is, or because the giver feels left out or needs to be needed.
-Unsolicited. The other party didn’t ask to be judged, corrected, or directed and is unlikely to be receptive to the advice.

“There are many ways to give feedback, but advice is not a good one,” said Murphy. “Constructive feedback can push good employees toward Hundred Percenter performance. Advice usually just frustrates and discourages them.”

The white paper “Why Giving Advice Doesn’t Work” is available at

About Leadership IQ
Leadership IQ provides leadership training, best-practices research and employee surveys, primarily serving Fortune 500 companies. The organization focuses training and research on management and executive performance, workforce issues, negotiations, strategic planning and customer service. Leadership IQ is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in Atlanta, Ga., and Westport, Conn. For more information, visit

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