I found this on a school report from when I was 12. It’s wonderfully honest.
I’d wager Mr Thomas was really thinking “The kid’s a bit shite. But as he’s large, we can use him as an obstacle in defence.”
But he was worried about my feelings. So he softened it up. Though it’s still more direct than any I’ve read in school reports on my kids.
Feedback can hurt. But if you’ve never felt bad, “meh” will be about as good as you’ll ever feel.
Although pain hurts (duh), it can be useful. It can mean you get an operation before your appendix explodes.
And it can be a direct nudge to help you grow and do some things better.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating unleashing your darkest feelings about anything anyone does to them in some orgy of verbal abuse. Honest and hard feedback can be kindly delivered.
But you do need to give, and receive feedback.
If you’re happy to be mediocre, then resist feedback. I’ve worked with leaders who’ve resisted all forms of feedback. Almost always, their teams don’t enjoy working for them. Almost always, their companies have plateaued and stagnated.
And almost always, in not taking any feedback, what they’ve shown everyone is that they are either arrogant, or incredibly insecure.
Neither of which helps get to a good place.
So if you’d like to grow, learn to seek it, learn the resilience to separate its content from its delivery, learn to analyse that content and decide what to do with it.
And if you want your leadership team to grow, learn to give direct feedback that isn’t confrontational, that doesn’t belittle them, and where the content isn’t lost because of your delivery. And encourage them to do the same with each other – key on non-confrontational and honest.
Either way, do it. We consign ourselves, our teams, and our world to mediocrity if we don’t take the time and effort to give and take feedback.
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