Getting Feedback

Getting and giving feedback is an indispensable part of someone growing as a person and professional. But in order for it to be working, it has to be an honest and actionable one.

Today, I meat with a few friends over lunch and somehow the topic floated in our conversation. Everyone seems to be under the opinion that in most companies they worked at or discussed with friends, the problem of not getting proper and honest feedback is very persistent.

How would you know what you need to work on, what you need to develop further and what you should outright abandon unless you hear or read the impressions of those working with you?

No matter how self-aware one is, they don’t necessarily see their full “self”, professional qualities and practices. For this they really on those around them. But what happens when they are fed with false feedback or dishonest one? They might start acting on the wrong trait or knowledge they are missing.

Throughout my career, I had quite a few manager and colleagues. Unfortunately for me, the people who ever gave me honest feedback can be counted with the fingers on both my hands. Perhaps even on one of them. People feel more comfortable saying only positive things about you and rarely hit you back with a constructive criticism comment.

My second job out of university, I landed in a small company, a sort of startup, working with a friend. This went on for more than 3.5 years and up until this day, I regard my manager not as such, but as a mentor and true leader. I have learned so much from him about leadership, management, communication and storytelling. I am eternally grateful for every pointer and constructive critic he has given me.

In my last job, I had this colleague and a friend who was a master in giving feedback. He was thoughtful, he asked questions, he offered his view and provided different scenario options. He was also a true leader. And he still is. I am just sorry that we don’t have a chance to talk so much any more.

I follow these two individuals’ example and try to give feedback whenever I am asked to (and sometimes when I am not). Not sure if this is because I try to grow and be a better person or professional or simply because I trust that everyone deserves a chance to develop.

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