Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Little Feedback (aka Constructive Criticism)

As a manager of a team of consultants, I am required to give feedback.  Yes, as part of my job responsibilities, I must train them to conduct themselves professionally, tactfully answer questions, present difficult issues to senior management, give excellent presentations and provide thoughtful responses.  And during this training, I must provide "constructive criticism."  Did he not fully answer the response?  Did she forget to introduce the speaker correctly or speak too fast?  Could he have built a better relationship with a business partner? 

Since most of you know me, you are probably assuming that I am pretty easy-going about my feedback.  And you would be correct, well, with the exception of grammar mistakes (those really bother me!).  I am not a dictator and would rather people learn from their mistakes, not be ashamed by them.  Plus, every person has his or her own work "style." 

I also receive feedback from my manager and business peers, as well.  This could range from "the tone of this email could have been more positive" to "next time make sure to include the speaker's title in your introduction."  Most of the time I am fairly open to criticism, as I know that I am still a young professional and learning a new position. 

So why is it that I am so easy-going at work, but when I get home, I am my biggest critic?  Every night I could run down a list of 10 things that I didn't do with my girls that day. 
  • They need to eat healthier
  • They watch too much TV
  • I don't read to them enough
  • They need to go to bed earlier
  • Why am I always the last one to pick them up from daycare?
  • We should have played another board game
  • I need to work on their "please" and "thank-yous."
  • I should have gotten up earlier and made them a better breakfast
The list goes on and on.  Why do I keep punishing myself?  I keep telling myself I am doing the best I can, but sometimes it just never seems enough. 

Now, since this is the Year of the Mommy and I am not throwing a pity party here, I guess I am finally questioning why I am so hard on myself at home and pretty laid back at work.  In both situations, I am giving it 110% of my energy.  And while I have been working for 7 years and a mom for 4 years, I still think I have a lot to learn on both fronts.  So why do I almost burst out in tears if my hubby (or worse, my MIL) kindly points out something that I could do differently (even if I agree with him)? 

I would be interested to hear how you feel about feedback?  Are your work vs. home reactions different?

And, as always, thanks for the feedback :)! 

Jean Anne 

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