Friday, August 29, 2014

Why We Don't Seek Advice, but We Should!

When you face a difficult situation at work, do you seek advice from others?   Do you consult with them before making a decision?   Alison Brooks, Francesca Gino, and Maurice Schweitzer have written a new working paper about the process of seeking advice from others.  These scholars found that many individuals do not seek advice from others, because they do not want to look incompetent or incapable.  They fear that others will perceive advice-seeking as a sign of weakness.  Brooks, Gino, and Schweitzer then asked:  What do others think of you when you seek advice from others?  How do you they actually perceive you?  They found that people tend to view advice-seekers as more competent than those who do not garner input and counsel from others.  The scholars refined these findings further by examining the situations in which people view advice-seekers most favorably.  They found that we have a more favorable view of advice-seekers when the situation is difficult (as opposed to simple), and when people consult with experts (rather than non-experts).  Perhaps most interestingly, an individual has a more favorable view of an advice-seeker when that person came to him or her for that counsel, rather than going to others.  Aha!  So, what really impresses us is when others somehow think we are important/knowledgeable/wise.  That should not surprise us at all!

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