Taking advice is a good practice. But advice from your boss? Yes, you should know how to ask your boss for advice.
What will I learn?
Assuming that you work for someone else, it is essential to remember that your boss is not your enemy.
Your boss likely has a lot of experience and knowledge, which can be helpful to you.
How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- 15 Things To Remember
Sarah wanted to ask someone for advice on her career direction. She tried talking to her family and friends. But professional help was necessary too.
Thus, she decided to talk to her boss and ask for advice. But, unfortunately, she was not ready for a productive conversation.
Thus, she couldn’t get much out of the conversation. In the end, she had to leave awkwardly.
Below are a few things she should have done to ask her boss for advice.
1. Be Respectful With Your Boss:
If you are constantly negative about your boss, it is unlikely that they will want to help you. Thus, it would help if you were respectful around your boss.
Be polite and cordial when you ask for advice. A cold approach will make your boss shut off.
2. Know What You Want:
Sarah knew that she wanted career advice. But, she didn’t know what exactly she wanted to ask her boss. Thus, knowing ‘what is essential before you start asking for advice.
Knowing what you want makes it easier for your boss to understand and give relevant advice.
3. How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- Know Your Context:
Have some context around the subject you want to discuss with your boss. You will look more professional if you’ve done your research before talking to them.
4. Be Clear And Concrete:
Don’t beat around the bush but be clear and concrete about what you want to discuss.
Bosses have a lot on their plates, so avoid making them feel overwhelmed.
5. Ask For Advice On One Matter At A Time:
If you try to solve many problems in one meeting, there is a chance that your boss will not take an interest.
Thus try to mention only one matter at one time. It will make everything easy to understand.
6. Ask Questions To Help You Understand The Problem Better:
Try to ask questions that would help you understand the problem better. Asking good questions ensures that your boss helps only the most relevant information.
7. Use Effective Body Language:
When asking for advice, use effective body language too. Keep eye contact and use positive facial expressions. It will make your boss more likely to listen to you.
8. Take Notes:
It is essential to take notes when getting advice from your boss. It will help you remember the key points discussed during the meeting.
9. How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- Consider His Time
Bosses are busy people. They took time out of their schedule to help you, so be grateful for it.
10. Be Ready to Follow Up:
Make sure to follow up with your boss after getting advice from them. It will ensure that you install the changes suggested by your boss on time.
11. Thank Your Boss In Advance:
Thanking your boss in advance would be an excellent way to end the meeting.
It will help you leave on a positive note. And your boss will appreciate your positive attitude.
12. Come Prepared:
Your boss is not a mind reader. Thus, if you want specific advice, be ready to state it.
Don’t expect your boss to guess what you want to discuss. Come with a list of questions or topics you would like to discuss.
13. Mention You Are Looking For Their Opinion, Not Just Answer:
When asking for your boss’s opinion, mention it. Saying phrases such as “Do you think I should do this?” would be an excellent way to start the conversation.
14. Don’t Expect Your Boss To Solve Your Problems:
Another thing to remember is that your boss is not a career counselor or life coach.
They are there to advise on specific work-related matters. So, don’t expect them to solve all your problems.
15. How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- End The Conversation On A Positive Note:
Make sure to end the conversation on a positive note. Thank your boss for his time and mention that you will follow up with him in the future.
Sarah learned these things the hard way. When she met her boss to ask for advice, she was too nervous to listen to what he had to say. She kept interrupting him and didn’t take notes either.
Thus, she wasted the opportunity of getting good career advice from her boss.
How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- Writing An Email
If you are too shy to ask your boss for advice in person, consider email instead.
Below is a sample email that you can send to your boss:
Subject: Request for Advice
I hope you’re doing well. I was wondering if I could schedule a time to come and talk to you about something. I’m not sure what the best way to ask this is, but I am looking for your opinion on something.
Is there a time next week where we can chat? I’ll email you again with more details.
Thank you for your time!
The email above is an excellent example of asking for your boss’s advice. It is polite, concise, and to the point.
How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- Making A Phone Call
If you find emailing intimidating, a good alternative is to make a phone call.
Phone calls with your boss can be tricky. If they don’t answer or the conversation doesn’t go well, there will be no written record of it.
So, try to stick to what you know for sure will work in advance. Your tone should always remain professional during this type of conversation.
Avoid complex topics such as company politics. Also, avoid difficult languages like sarcasm and colloquialisms.
These would only confuse matters and may result in more questions than answers.
When To Ask Your Boss For Advice:
There is no right or wrong time to ask your boss for advice. However, there are a few times when it is more appropriate than others.
1. When You Are Feeling Stuck:
If you feel stuck and don’t know what to do next, it is an excellent time to ask your boss for help.
2. How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- When You Have A Problem At Work:
If you have a problem at work, the best person to turn to is your boss.
They would have faced similar issues in the past and will help you out.
3. When You Want To Make A Career Change:
Making a career change can be daunting. If you don’t know where to start, it is good to ask your boss for career advice.
4. When You Need Help With A Project:
If you are working on a project and need help, ask your boss for advice. They will be able to guide you in the right direction.
5. When You Want To Take On More Responsibility:
If you want to take on more responsibility, it is good to ask your boss for advice. They will tell you what skills you need to develop to reach your goal.
6. How To Ask Your Boss For Advice- When You Are Looking For A New Job:
If you are looking for a new job, it is good to ask your boss for advice.
They may be able to connect you with people in their network who can help you find a job.
7. When You Want To Quit Your Job:
Quitting your job can be a daunting task. If you are not sure whether or not you should stop, it is a good idea to ask your boss for advice.
8. When You Want To Thank Your Boss:
Thanking your boss is always a good idea. If you want to thank them for something specific, it is good to ask for advice.
9. When You Want To Ask For A Raise:
If you want to ask for a raise, it is a good idea to get advice from your boss. Because they will give you specific feedback on what you need to do to earn more money at work.
10. When You Need Advice On A Personal Matter:
This way, they will provide valuable insights into what you can do in your situation.
Bosses are busy people. They have a lot of work on their plate, which is why they can’t get involved in others’ matters.
But, if you know what you want and follow the advice above. It will become easier for you to ask your boss for career advice.
You can either talk to him in person or call. Writing an email can be efficient too but be precise and keep it short.
Asking your boss for advice might sound like an intimidating task at first glance. It is not that difficult if you follow the above tips!
So, try these things out next time you ask for career advice from your boss!
Last Updated on 1 year by Shahzaib Arshad
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