Give Advice to Subordinates — Letter-Writing Tutorial


Keep your tone helpful and be careful of appearing judgmental. If the topic is a sensitive one, consider reordering your approach. For example, stating the problem first may put an employee on the defensive. If this is the case, outline the evidence and your advice before pointing out the problem.


1. Explain why you are writing and summarize the problem or situation.


  • You have been a great asset to the company. You are one of our most efficient and productive employees. But I am concerned about some complaints we have received recently. Some customers have described you as rude or annoyed when you respond to their questions.
  • I'm flattered that you asked for my opinion. I faced a similar problem with management in my department a few years ago and that experience taught me to approach my manager differently.
  • This is a good time to reemphasize the importance of looking professional on the job. It is amazing how much of an impact something as small as a tie can make on a prospective client.
  • Although the situation seems to be improving, we continue to have friction between the editors and the typesetters. The conflicts seem to result from poor communication between the two groups.
  • We recognize that sometimes a worker has a good reason for being late, but recently we have noticed an increase in tardiness in several departments.


  • a trend towards
  • affect all of us periodically
  • appreciate your involvement in
  • asked for my opinion about
  • can have a considerable impact on
  • continue to have difficulties with
  • don't always realize
  • faced a similar problem
  • have recently received complaints about
  • have seen some improvement, but
  • have recently noticed
  • have given careful consideration to
  • let you know that
  • may seem a small matter
  • no one objects to an occasional
  • one of our most valuable
  • problem appears to be
  • seem to be the result of
  • something as small as
  • the concerns you raised
  • this is a good time to

2. Give your advice, being as specific as possible.


  • I suggest you make a special effort to show courtesy to all our customers.
  • You may want to approach him with both of these options and allow him to choose one after you have explained the implications of each.
  • It is in your best interest to look over your benefits package again. You may have overlooked some benefits to which you are entitled.
  • I don't know enough to make a fair judgment about your division; however, from what you have told me, it would seem that your first reaction is right. As much as we dislike taking such action, staff reduction may be the only long-term solution.
  • While the informal atmosphere in the office defines what is acceptable here, casual dress outside the office may be offensive to a potential client. I would advise you to avoid denim, especially old jeans, and wear an ironed shirt and tie.
  • I suggest each of you make a special effort to notify the others of schedules and deadlines.


  • could give a better impression
  • from what you have told me
  • is important for you to
  • it is difficult to
  • it would seem that
  • keep a lookout for
  • make some changes in
  • make an extra effort to
  • make the effort to
  • make a special effort to
  • make allowances for
  • may want to approach
  • may have overlooked
  • may be more acceptable
  • may be offensive to
  • may be the only solution
  • might want to consider
  • personally know that
  • recommend that you
  • send a more positive message
  • show substantial improvement in
  • something as simple as
  • suggest that each of you
  • suggest that you
  • take a minute to
  • to clarify the situation
  • to make a fair judgment
  • watch out for
  • would be in your best interests to

3. If appropriate, include evidence to convince the reader of your opinion.


  • Clients easily approach a representative who has a clean, crisp appearance, and people generally are more likely to trust someone who takes care of his or her appearance.
  • In addition to speeding up the publication process, knowing schedules and deadlines would prevent many of the problems you are experiencing now. This is a stressful job and any change that produces a smoother process helps a great deal.
  • From our experience, we have seen how overall performance and efficiency are significantly improved when employees take their jobs seriously enough to get to work on time.
  • When we reduced tardiness in my department, individual employee output increased significantly.


  • all the data indicate that
  • experience shows that
  • difficult for you at first, but
  • is frequently interpreted as
  • from my own experience
  • have learned that
  • helps a great deal
  • ideas are right in line with
  • will improve services to
  • in my own department
  • led to significant increases in
  • can make a big difference to
  • makes life easier
  • has done wonders in the past
  • overall performance and efficiency
  • people tend to trust someone who
  • was significantly lowered by
  • should solve the problem
  • someone pleasing in appearance
  • sometimes it takes a little time
  • speeding up the process
  • the problem can be eliminated
  • these improvements will ensure
  • this would prevent
  • will pay off in the long run

4. Make it easy for the reader to respond to your advice.


  • If you have any questions about your benefits package, contact John Doe, the director of personnel services. You can mail him your concerns or meet with him in person, if you prefer. You can make an appointment with his secretary, Ms. Johnson, at 555-5555, ext. 123.
  • If you'd like to discuss this further before making a final decision, let's do it over lunch some time this week. I'm happy to be of help. Call me (555-5555) and we'll set a time.
  • If you feel that your problems extend beyond this, such as to personality conflicts, let me know. I want to help in any way I can.
  • I hope you find my experience useful. Feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss the matter further.
  • If you have any other concerns that I can help with, let me know.


  • any questions or concerns
  • before making a final decision
  • call me at
  • don't hesitate to
  • e-mail address is
  • feel free to
  • give me a call
  • happy to meet with
  • help in any way we can
  • if you have
  • if there is a problem
  • if there's anything I need to know
  • if you would prefer
  • if you feel that
  • if you would like
  • let me know
  • make an appointment with
  • please contact
  • to discuss the matter further
  • to discuss this further
  • will be happy to be
  • work it out together

Related Articles

Related Resources

Still can't find the right words for your advice letter?

4,001 Business, Sales & Personal Letters

You will with our 500 letter-writing tutorials!

  1. Find the advice letter that fits your needs and copy it directly into Microsoft Word or your favorite word processor.
  2. Or let our 500 letter-writing tutorials guide you step-by-step through the writing process, suggesting sample phrases and sentences for each writing step. In minutes, you can write an effective advice letter.
  3. Print your advice letter and send it!

Try our letter-template software risk free when you buy at

If after 30 days you are not satisfied, return it for a full refund



Easy Letters

$19.99 / Download


3,001 Business & Sales Letters

3,001 Business & Sales Letters

$29.99 / Download


1 $19.99 value free with purchase of our software for Windows (not Macintosh)

2 Free with purchase of our software for Windows (not Macintosh)