Unleash the Power of Leading with a Whisper: Empowerment Over Unsolicited Advice!

Imagine the following: you come across someone who could benefit from your intellect and experience. You are tempted to offer wise advice, thinking you can be helpful. However, let’s take a closer look at the dynamics of unsolicited advice. The following is my perspective. When we thrust our well-intentioned wisdom upon others without their request, it often lands as criticism that influences reactance (i.e., intellectual defensiveness) (Brehm & Brehm, 1981).

It’s as if our well meaning advice unintentionally ignites a resistance within them, hindering their openness to new wisdom and stifling their journey of personal growth. In fact, research tells us that when we use forceful adverbs like “ought,” “must,” and “should” in our advice giving, people usually become defensive and rebel (Miller et al., 2007). This intellectual resistance is called reactance and results in the opposite of the lasting attitude and behavior change intended (Brehm & Brehm, 1981).

Let’s set aside our cape of advice-giving and step into the realm of skilled leadership. I like to call it “leading with a whisper,” because it entails soft skills instead of command and control solutions. Leading with a whisper harnesses the power of reflective curiosity, embracing the art of asking meaningful questions, attentive listening, and the magic of empathetic validation. By engaging with others in this transformative way, we create an environment where they can discover their own solutions, own their triumphs, and grow in the process.  True heroism lies not in being the answer-giver but in empowering others to become the heroes of their lives. So, let’s embrace the role of skilled leaders, guiding others with care and compassion. Let’s create an atmosphere of empowerment, where individuals can uncover their own wisdom and flourish. Remember, together we can redefine what it means to make a positive impact in the lives of those around us.

See you soon-

~ Tim