The Best Way to Make Asking For Feedback at Work Less Scary


Maybe you need a feedback on your work or some idea you presented. It is always a stomach churning experience. There are chances you will get appreciated and a pat on the back.

But it is more likely, that your boss will give you a feedback with all the things he thinks you are wrong at or your coworker tells you that perhaps you should try things differently, making you instantly withdraw back to your desk with your tail between your legs. You feel like you should avoid asking for feedbacks but it would only be bad for the long run.

Asking for feedbacks helps you grow your skills. If you were mistaken it helps you correct yourself for your career. You get to learn things from your superior. Moreover, you learn what works for the company and for your future reference. You will start knowing what fulfills the needs of your team and company.

You need to know just exactly how to ask for feedback without feeling embarrassed and hurting your confidence.

Robert Cialdini, who is a psychology professor at Arizona State University, suggests that you change your question with a single word. Instead of saying, “May I get your opinion on this” or “I need your opinion on this”, say, “Can I get your advice over this”.

According to him, the minor difference of changing a word can make the person perceive you as more of a competent employee and will support your idea. It is because; asking for “opinion” will make them seek within themselves for an answer. However, “advice” will make them to work together with you for your answer or to resolve an issue. So you find an accomplice instead of an evaluator.

Asking for opinions is in fact not productive as such. It is clearly as if you are asking someone to point out the flaws in you, your work or style of process.

Asking for advice, comparatively is taking things a step further. You ask about their thoughts on fixing a problem. This is constructive criticism.

This is just a simple word play to help you not feel scary to ask for feedback. Next time you approach, you will acquire some constructive advice and you will look smart in front of your colleagues rather damaging your image by taking opinions.