There are all kinds of reasons why people withhold constructive criticism. But not all of them have to do with fear of retaliation, or a lack of opportunity. Sometimes your co-workers and colleagues aren't giving you the honest feedback you need... because they like you too much!
Let's be clear from the beginning: I believe in kindness. Kindness is a good thing, and being kind **does NOT automatically mean you're in the situation described in this article.**
BUT... If, like me and many others, you subscribe to the philosophy of attracting flies with honey instead of vinegar, there's a chance you're not hearing the feedback that will help you grow to your fullest potential.
I have experienced this in my own life, and have anecdotally witnessed this in client situations as well. People might be willing to give logistical feedback... but they're really hesitant to say the stuff that matters the most.
It's easy to procrastinate on telling someone you like that they interrupt too often, or that they could benefit from a writing class, or that they're bringing more of their cats to work than they realize... or, as a YouTube viewer once told me, that "the lighting in your videos looks like you're a hostage in a basement."
Ouch. Note taken. New light kit ordered.
Your career will thrive when you're growing constantly through helpful feedback. It will stagnate if you're getting away without performing at your highest caliber because people like you.We NEED this feedback, friends. It doesn't need to be delivered as harshly as my YouTube viewer offered it to me, but it DOES need to be delivered. To help make sure you are growing to your highest potential, this article outlines:
1) Some of the kind person behavior that lends itself to this problem, and
2) How to make sure you get the feedback you need without changing who you are.
1. THE BEHAVIOR
Kind people are likely to:
Dear kind people: KEEP DOING EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST. And thank you for being the good you wish to see in your life, office, community and world! Your behavior does not need to change, but it may need to be supplemented.
2. THE SOLUTION
Make sure you're doing this to make sure you don't get stuck in professional rut, or unintentionally create a power dynamic in which no one feels like they have the authority to confront you about something.
Hi <Name of Employee> ,
I'm setting aside some time to hear feedback on <date>. I'd really like to hear from you about your experience <with X situation>. Specifically, I'd like to hear from you about my <performance item related to this thing>. Would you be willing to talk with me for ~30 minutes on that day? I'd love to hear your feedback on:
Specific example 1
Specific example 2
Specific example 3
I deeply value your time and willingness to offer your perspective with thoughtfulness and candor. If you've got any other feedback about <general situation>, and/or ideas to share about improvements going forward, I would also welcome that information during our time together.
Thanks so much,
If it's helpful to see, here are the specific examples I suggested:
If we're being honest, our kindness isn't JUST about honoring the people around us... we also want them to like us, right? I'll be honest that I've tiptoed around saying what I meant in the past because I cared too much what others thought of me. I've been assured that I'm not alone as a kind person fighting the "people pleaser demon."
It's vulnerable to elicit feedback in a way where you're likely to hear something that stings. Hesitance around feedback that is, at least in part, about self preservation. So if you feel reluctant to fish for critical feedback, just remember everything you have to gain. By being proactive about soliciting real feedback, you'll be contributing to a healthy office culture, building deeper relationships with the people around you and growing to your fullest potential!
*** HRCI Approved Provider ***
We are able to provide recertification credits to training attendees with HR licensure; During our first year of approval, HRCI reviews all content to ensure the highest quality and value.
&Beyond is a part of Improvising the Office, LLC
© Improvising the Office, LLC 2018