Face the Feedback

People-development converts payroll costs to asset-investment

2015-09-28 10.11.59 (2)

Post 1 of 3: During the two hour drive for the weekend visit with his mother, Caleb’s mind continued to jump around to all the data in the report he had just been given. The last 5 hours of his work day had been spent in a review session focused on his first formal feedback solicited from his direct-report team. The facilitator had tried to prepare the small group of his peers for the large amount of data and for the normal emotions they would grapple with when they opened their 20 pages of charts, colors and comments. Looking back, he felt her presentation seemed a bit like a cartoon, where much of the dialog sounded more like “Waa, waa, waa….” Little of it stuck: especially now that his mind’s eye continued to see comments that hurt and percentages that seemed like failing grades.

After dinner, as soon as he brought the last of the dishes into the kitchen, his mom’s tone changed. “Okay, spill it.”

“Spill what?”

“Spill whatever has been using the other half of your mind since you walked in my front door.” His mom, Josie, smiled as she opened the dishwasher & nodded to a stack on the counter.

Caleb sighed. “I’m not sure I’m ready to share the gory details, but I got my first 360 degree feedback results today. My boss and peer input was reasonable and pretty much what I expected. But the stuff from some of my team has me baffled. I know I’m better prepared than many new leaders because you’ve shared so much of your management experiences over the years, and I really believed I was ready to handle this feedback.   But I just can’t get some of those phrases and graphs out of my head. I feel like I’ve tripped over my own feet and fallen into a wall. My brain just won’t move forward to make a plan.”

Josie, finished filling the sink and turned off the water. “Your brain will catch up, but you have to give your heart some attention before that. Did they facilitate the results or just give you the report?”

Caleb tried to be gracious, “Oh, they tried to prepare us, but I guess I just thought they were padding the impact so we wouldn’t complain so much in the session. I probably didn’t pay attention, and I obviously didn’t buy into applying what they said.”

“Well, I think you’ve probably beat yourself up enough for one day. You know they say the emotions are similar to grief, and I’ve found that sometimes getting candid feedback can put us in that cycle of denial and anger before we are able to focus on the realities and next steps.” Josie prodded to move him forward. “There are lots of ways to approach the next steps and a plan, and if you want a sounding-board or ideas tomorrow, I’ll be around.

“But tonight, why don’t you spend some brother-time and see if you can let go of work. I think he’s been looking forward to including you on some project he’s working on. I’ll finish the last bit of clean up in here.”

“You’re right, he sent me a few texts about it this week. Thanks; I’ll leave the feedback dilemma till tomorrow.”

Reality: How to give feedback is typically included in leadership development trainings. How to receive and act on the feedback given is not so commonly trained, but it can be critically important to how employees hear, believe and follow their leaders.

FOLLOW US & don’t miss the next PEPPERBOX blog:  Where will Caleb start once he gets past the emotions about the feedback from his direct reports?

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