Asking for Advice Makes You Look Smarter

Fancy you’d like to make a good impression at work? (Of course you would). Consider this: some of the latest research says that you might want to ask your colleagues for advice more often.

In practice many people believe that asking for advice will make them look bad or incompetent; but the evidence suggests otherwise. Alison Wood Brooks, Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School, Maurice E. Schweitzer, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School, say that seeking advice comes with unexpected benefits. Their 2015 paper in Management Science finds that advice seekers at work are actually perceived as more competent than people who do not seek out guidance. The study involved five experiments that incorporated some 1,500 participants.

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