Developing an Effective Working Relation with Your Advisor
Being an advisor is more than just providing support and guidance. An advisor shares ideas, encourages participation, provides guidance for programs and activities. An advisor is also called a mentor, a facilitator and a guide.
The relationship you have with your advisor is very closely linked to what goal you are trying to achieve. The importance of this relationship is based on a criteria; the interaction of you and your advisor with the department at hand, the quality, requirements and opportunities of work available is all assessed by your advisor. Hence, maintaining stable relationships with your advisor is advisable.
This works like a step of processes, once you have identified your suitable advisor, it is your responsibility to communicate effectively with them. The first step is to;
- Set rules for your relationship, rules of negotiation, personal and professional barriers in communication that are to be avoided. This can be done with the help of agendas and meeting to discuss the work in a timeline form.
- Remember, your advisor is here to correct you, help you and guide you. You should ask good questions if you get stuck at some point. The other person has a whole lot of experience than you.
- You don’t have to sit silently if this doesn’t work out. It’s okay to speak up and request for switching advisors. This may be followed by some process but it will be worth the effort if your current advisor is not providing the purpose.
Attributes of an advisor:
The importance of this relationship is based on certain attributes between the advisor and advisee to take up challenges and make decisions. They include;
Honesty in communication: most of the advisees’ feel that honesty keeps them together. There shouldn’t be any lies or hidden talks between the advisor and advisee, there has to be a willingness to discuss issues and sort them out to get solutions while interacting freely. This comes with trust and respect in a relationship.
Autonomy to the advise: remember that your advisor is here to assist you in taking decisions, following a path and handling various situations but it’s you who is in charge. There has to be self-determination, and sense of ownership for ones actions when taking decisions. What we expect out of an advisor is the same, we look for support and not just decisions taken by someone who has experience. Hence, this practice promotes leadership and development in the long run.
Participation and challenges: to aid development challenges are set up which includes assessments reflecting the advisee’s skills, experiences and development. Such opportunities stimulates the thinking process, time management skills and re-activeness for people seeking help with learning. Being present and encouraging them demonstrates expertise of advisors and their leadership responsibilities.
Good communication is the most effective tool to work out this relationship. There are certain dos and don’ts of communication but the crux of it is to be honest in your speech, be direct since you don’t have to sugarcoat anything, be open with the advisee for any situation that prevails. Exchange of ideas is also encouraged in effective communication where the listener feels valued.
It is not only your advisor’s responsibility to develop good communication in this relationship. You should listen to your advisor and in most cases evaluate their decisions to act according to what suits you best. Make sure you maintain contact through emails preferably to keep it professional. Meet your advisor and don’t hesitate to initiate meetings.
Feedback is the key to a successful relationship with your advisor. Make sure you obtain ample feedback from your advisor for all queries. Seek advice or a coaching and take the time to make it right at all levels.