Want to improve performance? Ask for advice, not feedback

Is the best way to improve performance by asking for feedback?  Or are those providing “constructive feedback” just being kind and not sharing their real opinions.  Try asking for their advice instead.

When we have just completed a major task and want to improve our performance, we often ask others for feedback.  But studies show that when people provide feedback, they are very vague and much too kind with their comments and don’t provide that valuable input that is needed to really change our performance.

Want better responses?  Ask people for advice instead.  Researchers from Harvard found that when respondents were asked for their advice as compared to feedback, the advice was much more actionable.  In fact, when giving advice they increased areas of improvement addressed by 34% and gave 56% more ways to improve.

When we ask people for feedback, respondents think in terms of evaluating our performance and less about how we could do things differently.  And this almost always skews to kind and positive.  Whereas, when you ask for advice you have automatically established that you are looking for a different way to do things and are open to getting better.

As unemployment improves and people return to work, remember these tips to improve performance.

Have a thought? Tell us!