Should I Ask For Feedback or Advice? A New Harvard Study Rewrites Self-Improvement Feedback Loops
NEWS ALERT: STOP ASKING FOR FEEDBACK
A recent Harvard study has revealed a surprising result when it comes to feedback - it just doesn't work well. In fact, it might even make your self-improvement or goal-setting approach worse!
The key then, isn't asking for feedback. It's asking for something a little bit more specific - and that thing is called 'advice.'
It turns out, advice over feedback is the ultimate input tool to self-improvement.
Here is Why You Should Ask For Advice
Say you are applying for a new job, and you send out your resume to a few seasoned friends who really know the role or business you're interested in.
But you make one mistake in reaching out to them that costs you the job, before you even land it...
You ask for their feedback.
When you should have asked for advice.
Here's why HOW we ask for help matters:
The recent executive classroom Harvard study suggests that feedback has no real benefit to performance because asking for feedback causes the responses you receive to be too vague.
Asking for only feedback gives a 'boxed' or 'canned' or 'praised' tone in response.
While asking for advice seems to open the conversations much wider, or into more detail, allowing those requiring that advice to get a much more 'actionable' response from the conversation, and make the appropriate changes needed, to actually land the job.
"In one study, we asked 200 people to offer input on a job application letter for a tutoring position, written by one of their peers. Some people were asked to provide this input in the form of “feedback,” while others were asked to provide “advice.”
Those who provided feedback tended to give vague, generally praising comments. For example, one reviewer who was asked to give feedback made the following comment: “This person seems to meet quite a few of the requirements. They have experience with kids, and the proper skills to teach someone else. Overall, they seem like a reasonable applicant.”
However, when asked to give advice on the same application letter, people offered more critical and actionable input. One reviewer noted more specific action items: “I would add in your previous experience tutoring or similar interactions with children. Describe your tutoring style and why you chose it. Add what your ultimate end goal would be for an average 7 year old.”"
INSPIRED TIP: So the next time you have an opportunity to reach out to a good friend, or mentor for feedback, stop...and remember to ask for advice!
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