A Daily Dispatch from the Front Lines of Leadership.


When Asking for Advice Is the Highest Form of Respect

Asking others for their advice and views on issues we are thinking about or struggling with is a sign of respect. The truth is, whenever we ask anyone for their advice or perspective, we tell them that their views matter to us and we value them as good thinkers and problem solvers. 

For the relationally savvy, the idea that they might learn something valuable is not nearly as important as showing people they count. 

That’s why asking your leader for their perspective and advice on just about any matter important to you creates a deeper connection with them. Leaders like to be asked for their counsel and appreciate team members who seek their views, often attributing to them an openness for learning and a smart sensibility. 

Good leaders themselves make a habit of asking for advice from those they respect. They’re always mindful of the critical relational benefits of seeking input from those above them.

Great leaders take this idea one step further. They ask for that advice when others are present. Or they ask for a time to seek that advice when others are within earshot. Saying, “I have something important I need your advice on…” in front of others can be a game-changer. This simple choice can have a profound effect on making others feel even more recognized and respected. 

Think about what it means to ask for advice or a time to receive advice from someone in the presence of peers, colleagues, or friends. The gesture says loudly to anyone within earshot that you highly prize the views of this person. The more expert you are or the more status you have, the more they shine in the glory of that request. 

Asking anyone for their advice and perspective is a good idea, but asking for that counsel in the presence of others is a great idea! 

Anyone who witnesses the request now knows how highly you regard this person and their views. When that regard is true, why not make a point of showing others how you feel? Perhaps nothing creates more recognition than this easy choice. 

Saying, “Do you have a minute? I’d like your take on something that’s been bothering me,” carries an entirely different meaning when asked of a colleague in front of others. Some public requests have a larger impact than others. Maybe it’s time for you to make someone you respect feel even more valued.

There’s no downside to it.

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