Just Be Honest With Me

We all say we want people to be honest with us, both in work and personal relationships. The problem is we often don't like to hear the truth. I was in a situation in a past job where I was released from my employment, my fancy way of saying that I was fired. Nobody told me at the time that I wasn't performing, just got called in one day and said they were ending my employment on a set date in the future. I was shocked to say the least. It turned out to be one of the better things that has happened to me in my career though it didn't feel like it at the time. More importantly I was able to take away a core value for myself. I promised myself that I would be honest with people, that they deserved the truth. I had just wished that someone was honest with me, and told me what I was doing wrong.

I remind myself of this whenever I get feedback that is less than positive. Initially I react like most people, I get defensive and frustrated, I will go home and complain to my wife about the people I work with. But then I think to myself that I'm getting exactly what I had wanted. The next step, how I react to this feedback was completely up to me.

I also remind myself of this when I have to give less than positive feedback. I generally try to establish a relationship with a value of honesty in all of my business interactions; then I lead with the fact that they too wanted me to be honest with them. I work hard to tell them the truth in the best way I possibly can. I'm convinced when I was let go that nobody said anything to me because those types of conversations are hard. I realize that because it is extremely hard for me to give that type of feedback to people and if I could I would find a way to avoid it. It isn't fair though, and I wouldn't be holding true to my core value if I took the cowards way out.

So the next time you get some less than positive feedback from someone, keep in mind that it is not a pleasant experience for the person giving the feedback, and they are probably honestly trying to help you. If you look at it in that light, maybe what they are trying to tell you has value, and the best thing that you can do for yourself and your career is to truly listen to the feedback. Determine a course of action to make a change for yourself. The only real downside to this is you may just have to thank the person for giving you that hard feedback in the first place.


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