You’ve heard the saying, opinions are like… armpits, right? So is advice. Everyone has them and most of them stink, especially when it comes to careers. But Alison Green has some advice about advice for you; you’ve got to separate the good from the bad, and you have to pick your battles. Today, she and Laurie talk about crappy advice, what it takes to be a great leader, and what she wishes all managers knew.
- Bad advice isn’t limited to careers. It all stems from a much bigger problem: we think we know what’s best for another person and their life. We’ve all had jobs, and as a result, we all have opinions about how they should be. But the truth is, most of us have trouble acting on the advice we give AND receive. Alison even has a folder full of questions asking for her advice on topics where there IS no great answer, including farting at work. Seriously.
- Not all advice is crappy (pun intended). Every once in a while, we get a gem that can fix a situation or even change the way we think. Alison had one such piece of advice early in her career: pick your battles. Despite it being good advice, Alison had a hard time swallowing it, and she explains why. Twenty-somethings, this is for YOU. Laurie also shares a piece of advice she got that she has patently ignored.
- Great leaders get where they are by filtering the good advice from the bad, and there are some key aspects they share. Drive and commitment are a given if you want to get results. But some of the other things Alison believes are required for good leadership might be a little difficult for you to embrace. While there are some great leaders, there are plenty who are lacking, and Alison shares her theory on why there are so many of them.
- Conflict avoidance is one of the most pervasive issues in management. People don’t want to have difficult conversations, and it leads to terrible work cultures. Alison shares a story about a difficult conversation she had to have with an employee, and you should DEFINITELY take notes on how she handled it.
- Do you have to be a people person to manage people? Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers because, you guessed it, we all have our own advice to give. But if you want GOOD advice, Alison wrote the book on it, Ask a Manager. She shares whether you really need to be a people person if you want to lead well. Introverts, according to Alison, you CAN be a great manager.
- As an employee, or even as a manager, you’ve probably come across the sense of secrecy about management. So what do managers wish you knew? Alison has some great thoughts about that, and first among those is that it’s okay for an employee to speak up. She shares when it’s appropriate and how much you should divulge.
- Alison’s new book, Ask a Manager, isn’t just a collection of blog posts she’s written over the years. Instead, Alison took all she’s learned and created a handbook for managers. Specifically, ‘what to say when,’ and other things that you can actually learn and apply to your daily interactions with employees. Alison gives you the language to use for awkward and cringey conversations.
Thanks so much for making this podcast! The past couple of weeks I’ve been making more time to listen (and re-listen) and the advice has been so helpful. I’m a manager in the non-profit world and I agree that we lack management training. My goal has been to change that in my workplace, but I’m also a manager that needs to improve. I appreciate the advice in this (and recent) episodes, and look forward to reading “Ask a Manager” soon!
Thanks, Cody. What a thoughtful note. You can do it. xo