If a feedback is given, good or bad, how would you take it?
We have annual performance reviews coming up and I usually do peer reviews in a constructive format. Even, if I have something negative about the person, I try my best to project in a different format which sounds like, ah – that is true and I must improve versus I have been criticized about it. I must admit, that I get the proof reading who is good at such things and I have been learning to improve.
This work on hand takes me back to my college days where everyone in the class were asked to give feedback about our teachers although it was required to fill out our names, we were told that our information would be kept anonymous when they share the feed back with respective teachers. Without further ado, I gave outright honest feedback of how I felt. Not that I was a good judge, nor a bright student and I thought how much would they even consider looking into 100 other students forms about the same subject that particular teacher was teaching.
Next day, in the class, I was singled out and picked on to answer particular questions of the subject. For not-so-bright or talented student I was, I could not answer. I was given hard time in front of all other students. Surprisingly, I got least marks, i am not bright, but definitely I am better than average in the class room. Everyone, could figure out that it was the result of the feedback and I am sure they must have thanked themselves for giving only positive reviews unlike me. (Call it “presence of mind” and I clearly lacked that trait.) I cried. After the class, I stepped out requested for more reasoning with that teary eye about why certain answers were marked as incorrect even though they are correct -or so I remember. She said, “you could have given me that feedback directly instead of writing it down and have other teachers handing it over to her” . But, she never asked for it in the class. Ever. I begged, i pleaded her for her forgiveness and she said – “OK”, gave me my deserved marks for the test and we both pretended we are happy with each other. I had a tendency to cry if some one raised voice or singled me out in the class. And this goes without being said that my lab work and 20% of my final outcome did get impacted and I am sure her friends who knew about this also gave me hard time. As a result, I got the least percentage ever compared to my previous semesters. Thank goodness it was not “Autonomous” back then, I would have been screwed up royally.
Ever since that episode, some where, deep down, I am still afraid of being brutally honest about anything. I try to frame my sentences in a politically correct way. Which is not very helpful in certain cases. Also, my recent conversation with my boss for asking him (yes, very politely, not in a accusatory manner at all) about certain decisions he took that has impacted me & some of my other colleagues as well. He was very upset, sounded very irritated and fired back at me – “Are you questioning management decisions?” I was taken back, is it not right to ask questions? for that – the meeting was all about – “How can I help you?” and don’t people like being questioned? especially bosses? I maintained my stand and said, “hey – It is OK that you or I disagree on certain things, but I need an explanation and that it impacted me, that it bothers me to continue working at peace here”. I was told that it is purely their mistake and they are set to work on improving the process to be fair to all employees. This whole thing, did left me with a bad taste. It feels like, no one seemed to have questioned him in the past by his sub-ordinates? or was he annoyed that it was my first meeting with him that had me something where his decision making skills were questioned?
Dear you – how would you take your feedback, if that is not in your favor ? Or how would you communicate something that is bothersome to your co-worker or to your boss in reviews? If you are a boss, how do you deal with any such feedback?