Monday, March 8, 2010

I (Heart) Feedback

From Angie Hooper: It's feedback season at work. Once a year, I get a sit down formal review with my boss. I love getting feedback but I didn't like it back when I started my current job. I had a bad experience with feedback as a baby lawyer* and whenever I sat down with my current boss, I'd usually start either making excuses (if the feedback was a point to change) or hysterically giggling (if the feedback was neutral or positive). This made my boss crazy, so he gave me feedback on feedback.

The strangest part to me of my giggle-reflex was that I continued to behave so nervously after so much feedback training as part of my Son-Rise Program and Option Process journey. In my Son-Rise Program, if someone has an idea of how I could be more effective, I want to know about it. Why would it be different for my job? Isn't my effort at work as valuable as my effort in the playroom? Why wouldn't I want feedback to make time at work as effective and enjoyable as possible? I'm living in a benevolent universe, so my boss did something very "Option Process" this year during my feedback. He said, "Why do you do that hysterical laughter?" I also did something very "Option Process": I answered the question. He nodded. Then he gave my feedback, and it was insightful and useful--everything one would hope feedback would be. Everything that feedback has been when I've worked with Son-Rise Program teachers. Another gift to me because of Eric's autism. I'm becoming a better parent, a more comfortable person, and now more accomplished as a professional through everything I'm learning as part of the Son-Rise Program and Option Process.

*In case you're curious, here's the story and a great example of how not to give effective feedback: one day (when I worked at a law firm) I found a brown envelope on my office chair containing a stack of handwritten reviews from every partner I'd worked with in the firm. One of them recited a litany of aspersions and ended with, "I'm sure she has some redeeming qualities, but I'm not interested in finding out what they are." Now, of course, I see the many gifts of the personal attack-disguised-as-feedback, including the nudge to get out of a situation that had run its course. (Plus, I know now that none of those insults were about me.) But I carried that brown envelope around in my head every day at work until recently.

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