Darryl Stewart
By Darryl Stewart
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When negative feedback stares back at you – just laugh

Last week I took aside one member of my team. My goal was to give feedback on something I felt he could have done better in a specific leadership situation.

I said my piece directly.  “Here is what I observed (The specific details of the situation).  I expect better from you (What I would have preferred and why).

Even Leaders get feedback sometimes. It's best to accept it and laugh. Image by Geralt
Even Leaders get feedback sometimes. It’s best to accept it and laugh. Image by Geralt

My team member admitted his shortcoming in this instance and thanked me for the feedback.  He also committed to a different course next time this situation came up.

He then sat there with a weird look on his face.  I said “what is it?”

“Do you mind a little feedback yourself?”

Of course I was dying to know what was on his mind and I said so.  He went on to explain to me how I occasionally do exactly the same thing I was critiquing him for and he told me exactly how it made the whole team feel. I had to admit he was right. We had a bit of a laugh over it and we both committed to getting better at dealing with “our” issue.

Interesting to me is that he would make a mistake that he has seen me make and that he knows is not a good course.  Even more interesting is that I would critique him for something I easily recognized as a mistake when he did it, but that I was fairly unaware of as one of my own shortcomings.

We are all imperfect beings. What gets us through these conversations at IBEX is trust in each other’s good intentions and a sense of humour!

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