There are few personal or leadership development programs which do not require reflection and consideration of how we give and receive feedback. On our programmes Gina and I ask our learners to consider the reaction the mere mentioning of this word has on us physically and emotionally.
Isn’t it interesting how there is rarely a positive thought associated with it especially when performance review is the context?
Yet ask the captains of industry and the wise who have gone before us and they tell us that if we adopt the right attitude towards feedback, be it critical or positive, it has the power to expand our self-awareness and accelerate our growth.
The following is a wonderful story which illustrates the value of feedback which is from Nick Owen’s excellent book ‘The Magic of Metaphor’.
The former Tennis Champion Boris Becker is being interviewed on a radio programme.
Had he always been a champion? The interviewer asked. No, he hadn’t, he said. Although when he’d been young he’d been picked as a potential future prospect. However, other boys had been better than him, more naturally gifted.
“So where are they now these boys?” said the interviewer. “What happened to them?”
“Well,” said the former champion, “they just didn’t make it. For all their talent they didn’t have what it takes”.
“So what does it take?” asked the interviewer. “You’ve got to want it enough” “Is that the secret?” asked the interviewer
“There’s another. It takes discipline. No matter how much talent you have, you’ve got to have the discipline to nurture and develop it. You’ve got to prioritise and give up a lot of things that can seem attractive.”
“Is that the secret?” again asked the interviewer
“There’s another” said the former tennis ace, “and it’s harder and more demanding than the first two put together. You need humility, no matter how good you are. You need humility to listen to your coaches, to take advice, to test new possibilities, and to admit that you don’t know everything. Feedback is the breakfast of champions”.
So today think about the feedback that has come your way and how it influenced your growth and development irrespective of how it was packaged and the next time we will talk about that packaging.
Submitted by Maire Murphy
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