This week one of my clients was sharing how they had spent some time on a shared business trip with another colleague in discussion about a leader in their business.
The conversation, and I’m sure you’ll recognise the type, because we all have them from time to time, focused on what was wrong or challenging in their colleague’s leadership style, action taking and communications.
The focus left them in a bad feeling.
Now, it’s easy to bond over complaints.
We all do it.
Think about a slow moving queue or someone’s inattentive driving cutting you up, or poor service at a restaurant, dog mess left on pavements.
You’ll know your own flavour of these complaints.
We find common ground in what dissatisfies us and get fired up in sharing it.
But while the high of bonding and common complaint feels connecting, it’s only temporary and the come down rarely feels good.
As my client said ‘It felt like eating junk food.’
Enjoyable for a moment, but the after effects are rarely pleasant.
This exploration opened up a great avenue of exploration.
When we feel energised or pulled into the perceived shortcomings of others, what are we drawn to do?
Our values provide a solid compass for us:
Would we want another person to be witness to this conversation?
If so, what would we share and how?
What would be helpful for them to know that we see?
How could we share this in a way that they might be open to hearing?
These questions guide us towards what to do and how.
It’s a truism that we don’t know what we don’t know.
It can be liberating (and uncomfortable) to have our blind spots revealed.
But doing so reveals the next level of growth.
With my client, we discussed how feedback can be in service to others.
From a place of service, not criticism, feedback opens up new possibilities for leadership, being with others, higher performance, presence.
And most importantly, growth.
Of course, this applies at work and at home.
So to reflect on this week:
How do you give and receive feedback?
If you used your values to guide you, what would shift in how you go about feeding back?
If you were completely in service to the person you’re communicating with, how would you show up for that conversation (be it a colleague, partner, child, family member, friend or stranger)?