Saturday, August 28, 2004


Receiving feedback is a way for you to clarify how you interact with others, how well your working relationship is going and, from another person’s perspective how they view you in the scheme of things. I stress the words “another person’s perspective”. It’s how they process your interactions based on their own needs, awareness factors and skills. Feedback isn’t sharing what you do that’s wrong. It’s how another person perceives you in various capacities.

What you do with that feedback, however is up to you. If you use it as a way to view yourself through another person’s eyes openly and honestly, emotions aside, you can then work with that person to strengthen the relationship further. If you take issue with the feedback and argue with it, then your relationship will either stay as is or deteriorate even further. The fact a person can give you constructive feedback is a compliment in itself. It’s only when issues are held back that they have no chance of improving. Through the feedback process and verbalizing your appreciations of your colleague as well as your needs, all cards are placed on the table so you can work on them together for the future.

Think for a moment before you react. Did that person have a valid point in sharing something that might have pushed your buttons, and, if so, what are you going to do about it that shows leadership and integrity? Fight, pout or meet with that person to listen, share possible changes and, perhaps in some instances, give them more information so they might have a broader picture of things?

If you believe someone doesn’t see your value, then ask yourself why that might be so. Is it because your communication skills are lacking in some way? Do you seem unfocused? Do you fade in the background and not make your presence known or heard?

No matter how much you accomplish, if your boss isn’t aware of those accomplishments, he/she has no way of knowing how effective you are. Just because everything might be running smoothly does not make you stand out as a valuable resource or leader in the organization. Sometimes lack of information gives the wrong impression; something for you to communicate effectively in a one-on-one.

Instead of reacting to feedback, see yourself through their eyes. Do you like what you (they) see and, if not, what will you do to change so you do?

Donna Karlin

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