Whether you’re in the midst of a tough salary negotiation or facing a difficult performance review, the easiest way to win your boss over may also be the simplest: ask for advice.
This strategy is so powerful that it nearly doubles your chances of getting a promotion, research shows.
“Whether it’s a high-stakes monetary negotiation or winning support for a proposal, the simple gesture of soliciting advice can make you more likeable, encourage your counterpart to see your perspective, and rally commitment,” business professors Adam Galinsky and Katie Liljenquist write in a recent blog post for the Harvard Business Review.
In their study, Galinsky and Liljenquist found that underperforming employees who asked their bosses for advice during their performance reviews nearly doubled their chances of being promoted. This strategy worked because it altered the tone of a negative review. Instead of simply berating poor performances, bosses become more cooperative toward helping employees succeed.
Asking for advice offers several advantages over simply standing your ground.
First, it makes people like you more. “Being asked for advice is inherently flattering because it’s an implicit endorsement of our opinions, values, and expertise,” Galinsky and Liljenquist say. Once people like you, they’re more likely to be on your side and want to help you.
Asking for advice also allows the other person to see things from your perspective because they’re forced to put themselves in your shoes in order to give you the best possible answer, the authors say. They begin to understand where you’re coming from, thus shifting their opinion of you.
And once people like you and understand your perspective, they become more inclined to go out of their way to help you. “Your request empowers your advisor to make good on their recommendations and become an advocate for your cause,” Galinsky and Liljenquist say.
So the next time you’re facing a challenging negotiation or review, try changing your strategy and asking for advice.
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