Working With Your Advisor

Tips for working with your advisor

  • Communicate any and all information. It is better to over communicate!
  • Determine what you expect of him/her and find out what he/she expects of you right away
  • Invite your advisor to your meetings, chapter functions and ritual
  • Be honest – there is no way that he/she can help you if you are not honest about the issues and what is going on in the chapter
  • Once per semester/quarter, provide your advisor constructive feedback on how he/she can better help you and the chapter
  • Always remember that you advisor is your advisor first and foremost because he/she cares about you and your future, as well as that of the chapter
  • Be open to feedback from your advisor on how you can do things differently
  • Thank your advisor at a public function (chapter awards, a chapter meeting, Greek Awards)

Advisor Problems

Sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as we would like. If you are having problems such as: Advisor is avoided; advice is not heeded; advisor is overwhelmed by responsibility and task; advisor is assuming leadership function, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the advisor well versed on the group's background, goals and procedures?
  • Is the role and function of the advisor determined in consultation with the leader and members?
  • Does the advisor make use of resources: references, supervisors, other group advisors?
  • Will the advisor allow the group to determine its own goals even if they disagree with the advisor's?
  • Does the advisor enjoy working with the group: why or why not?
  • Does the advisor allow and encourage questions of his/her advice and suggestions?
  • What method of feedback or evaluation is available to the advisor? Who provides it?
  • Is the advisor open to criticism?
  • Does the advisor allow time for introspection regarding the group and his/her impact on it?
  • What impact are the advisor's personal behaviors and qualities having on the group and its leadership?
  • Will the advisor allow the group to fail—when and why?
  • What degree of ego involvement exists in this relationship?
  • Can the advisor relinquish ownership of ideas or suggestions?

If you CAN answer these questions, in many cases you will have found the root of the problem, or problems. The next step is to set up a meeting with your advisor to talk through the problem and come to a resolution. It will be likely that you will both need to change the way you interact in order to make positive change.

If you CAN NOT answer these questions, that may mean that you have not spent enough time with your advisor to accurately establish a perception of his/her advising style. In addition, you should look at the relationship that you have with you advisor and review the tips at the beginning of this section. It is likely that part of the challenge comes from lack of communication and/or clear expectations.

Resources

Advice for Officers about your Advisors

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