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Why Asking for Advice Might Be Better Than Asking for Feedback

Benefits of seeking advice

  • Asking for advice shows initiative and displays competence.
  • Asking for advice can show your seriousness about an issue. It shows you have a specific goal in mind.
  • Advice is actionable and comes with facts or personal experience.
  • You get exactly what you need to improve yourself for the future.

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Why Asking for Advice Might Be Better Than Asking for Feedback

Why Asking for Advice Might Be Better Than Asking for Feedback

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/ask-for-advice-instead-of-feedback/

thriveglobal.com

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Key Ideas

Feedback focuses on the past

Many people prioritise feedback over advice. But Harvard researchers found that feedback often has no impact on our performance. They argue that feedback often leads to vague input.

Feedback is often associated with evaluating past performance and is not focused on how you can improve.

Seeking advice

Seeking advice over feedback opens up an opportunity for suggestions to improve or even advice on how to find solutions to your weakness.

It takes a willingness to acknowledge a problem you have. Good advice can be your greatest learning experience, especially when coming from someone who has already succeeded in that area.

Benefits of seeking advice

  • Asking for advice shows initiative and displays competence.
  • Asking for advice can show your seriousness about an issue. It shows you have a specific goal in mind.
  • Advice is actionable and comes with facts or personal experience.
  • You get exactly what you need to improve yourself for the future.

Getting the best advice

  • Ask a person who has the right expertise, experience, or knowledge you want. To improve your chance of getting what you want from an expert, use a known connection.
  • Find out if you have a mutual friend in common. Ask them if they would be willing to reach out on your behalf for an introduction.
  • Offer to send your question in advance to allow them to prepare.
  • Don't ask everyone. Research shows if you don't take the advice of those you seek, they may have a worse view of you afterward. Be grateful, and let them know how their feedback helped you.

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... before and after seeking advice. Gratitude has been shown to promote honesty, productivity, and overall well-being in the workplace, and can be used as a tool to ease any interaction, including asking for advice.

If a co-worker agrees to meet for coffee and share a lot of advice with you, emphasize how much you appreciate their time.

Ask the right kinds of questions
  • Show your interest and keep the conversation flowing. 
  • Follow-up questions can make conversations less superficial.
  • People are more willing to reveal sensitive or personal information when the toughest questions are asked at the beginning of the conversation. 
  • Active listening will show your advice-giver that you are engaged and care about what is being discussed.

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Negative Feedback
Negative feedback is a more important component of the feedback cycle than positive feedback. 92% of people say in a study that negative feedback improves workplace performance.
Why are people scared of Feedback

Normally people react with caution and fear towards negative feedback, but it is much better than no feedback at all.

Informing the colleague/subordinate/client/customer or individual about something that is not working, is always beneficial, and builds transparency and trust.

Check how it impacts the person

The fundamental goal of giving feedback is to help the person you’re giving it to. They should realize that you are not trying to make them feel bad, and this is an exercise to help make them better.

How it impacts each individual is going to be different so a tailor-made approach is required. 

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Many layers of uncertainty along with thinking errors of scientists (blind spots) make the research or evidence untrustworthy about 42 percent of the time, according to a study.

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Advice For Reading Scientific Studies

When we read scientific studies, it helps to keep in mind the following:

  1. Scientists are prone to error just like everyone else.
  2. Single source claims are dubious.
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Why We Avoid Asking For Advice

Most people shy away from asking for advice when they cannot figure out how to finish a tricky task or assignment at work.

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Advice Seekers Appear Smarter

The fear of appearing incompetent or an incompetent person is misplaced, as research shows that the person who is asked for advice thinks good of the person asking.

Advice seekers appear smarter to the person whose ego is now stroke, making him provide valuable insights while being impressed by the seeker. Being asked for advice increases the level of perceived competency of the seeker in the eyes of the expert.

Connection Made Thorugh Advice

Asking for advice leads to a series of interactions at the office, which gives way to exchanging information, learning and builds a meaningful connection that goes beyond the initial request for advice.

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Getting Negative Feedback
Getting Negative Feedback

... is not the best thing to happen at work. It normally leads to a racing mind, emotional discomfort and increased blood pressure.

We may try to defend ourselves, or brush aside the feedba...

It’s Not Personal

Unless it is completely uncalled for, negative feedback generally has the intention of informing us about our areas of improvement. If feedback isn’t provided, you may not grow and improve. If no one tells you that you are doing something wrong, you will keep doing it wrongly forever.

Providing timely feedback may be a sign that the manager cares and wants you to improve.

Don’t Shoot The Messenger

One should not be defensive when provided with negative feedback, and understand that it is for our own good.

One needs to act on the feedback by approaching it from a neutral and objective standpoint, not taking it as a personal attack. Instead of reacting, just pause and listen. Reflect on the feedback, giving yourself some time and space to respond with a level head.

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Feedback
Feedback

Feedback provides an opportunity to gain insights about a person's personal and professional actions.
Without feedback, we will move in the same direction without realizing our shortcomings. ...

Types of feedback
  • Positive vs. negative. Positive feedback confirms that someone is taking good action, while negative feedback shows what actions need to be corrected.
  • Formal vs. informal. Formal feedback is given on a set schedule, and informal feedback is short and follows after an action or event.
  • Annual vs. monthly
  • Verbal vs. written
  • Manager vs. peer
Effective feedback
Effective feedback is:
  • Objective. Don't let your personal feelings get in the way.
  • Timely. Feedback should follow when the event is still fresh.
  • Constructive. Give respect and show that you have their best interests in mind.
  • Actionable. Feedback must include immediate next steps.
  • Warranted. Give your employees room for mistakes and learn from them.

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Knowing yourself and your skills

Taking responsibility for your career starts with an accurate assessment of your current skills.

  • Write down your three greatest strengths and your three most significant weaknesses. This requires reflection and seeking the views of people who won't mind telling you the truth. It takes a willingness to confront your weaknesses, fears, and blind spots.
  • Figure out what you genuinely enjoy doing. Then ask how well it matches what you currently do. Loving what you do gives you the strength to weather personal setbacks, overcome adversity, face and address your weaknesses, and work long hours required to reach your full potential.

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Avoid tension and build rapport
Avoid tension and build rapport

This underscores the importance of starting on the right foot.  If you upset the person you’re trying to help, they’ll wall themselves off. 

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Focus on collaboration

To get someone to act on your advice, it’s going to mean giving up at least some of the credit for it. 

When the person receiving your advice feels like they had a hand in creating it—with guidance from you, the expert, of course—they’re far more likely to act on it.

Show your work

In this case, you’re showing your work because it instills trust, and trust is critical for acceptance. 

When you show you work, the person you’re advising doesn’t have to take your recommendations on blind faith. They can see exactly how you got to your advice and buy into it along the way.

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The Advice Trap
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Word Play When Asking For Advice

When someone mentions a problem, it most likely isn’t the core problem but only an outward symptom.

Even if by some miracle one is able to find out the real problem, it does not mean that the advice doled out will be useful or will be implemented.

Ignorance And Superficial Knowledge

Most people are ignorant of their ignorance and live in a self-created bubble of superficial knowledge, which they believe is the only true knowledge there is, due to a cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

A piece of straightforward advice doled out to be followed to the tee, is often due to lack of knowledge, rather than because of it.

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