Busted! How to respond to negative (but probably accurate) feedback?

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Busted! How to respond to negative (but probably accurate) feedback? 2010-08-10T19:14:50+00:00

The Forums Forums The Workplace Strategies for Work Busted! How to respond to negative (but probably accurate) feedback?

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  • #88358

    ellamama
    Member
    Post count: 58

    I’m a researcher who’s running a project for a client. I’ve a team of folks who report to me and we’ve a weekly call to the client where we review our progress so far, etc. I am a telecommuter, so I work from home. In recent months, my phone has been wonky on occassion. On occassion, I take a call from my cell with less than perfect reception. (That’s the background.)

    Today we had a call and in the middle of it I lost electricity (the contractor who’s working in the kitchen said he was shutting off the water, not the electricity). I called back in on my cell and we finished up the call. Seconds later, I got a call from one of the folks on my team.

    She wanted to tell me that she’s worried about the project’s budget and thinks we should have oversight. Okay, her division has different policies and procedures about project and budget management. I can deal with responding to that. Then, she continues on. She hesitated a lot and asked about my phone situation. She clearly had something else on her mind, “What do want to tell me?” I asked.

    “Well, I mean–you sometimes–You’re really smart. You know? That’s the trouble. You’re just so, wicked smart.”

    “That’s nice to hear, but what did you want to tell me.” (Really, for a gal who always doubted her intelligence, that’s dandy!)

    “Well, you seem to be too impatient to wait until people finish what their saying before you finish their sentances. You do it to the client. A LOT.”

    Hmm…You know what? I think she’s right. And I told her her so. And I got a big flurorescent pink post-it note and wrote in all caps LISTEN and put it on my computer monitor.

    I’m planning on focusing on the behavior–not the ADD part. But I’ve never been told so bluntly something like this. Response?

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    #93639

    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Participant
    Post count: 473

    This is brilliant. Make sure you thank her again and again for letting you know. That took courage.

    And give her permission to help you, (assuming you want to progress) to offer other suggestions. I say this because over the past two days I’ve scanned through hundreds of quotes from interviews with many of the experts we have spoken to who haven’t yet been included in many of our online videos. Quite a few talk about how we are not good at self assessment.

    We aren’t. The reason, as several explained, may be because we are born this way. It’s wiring. It’s who we are. So we don’t know any different. Unlike say Depression where you can look back and go, “I didn’t used to be this sad.”

    So this isn’t a disease. In fact, it’s our normal.

    When you have someone giving you valuable feedback, and then even more amazing when you let it in and say, “I think you’re right.” and then even better, actually post it and start working on it, you are on your way to mastering this.

    The trick is not to take it personally. That’s something every person struggles with. ADHD or not.

    Notice your friend started off by complimenting you on a strength. (A key to getting our attention. ADDers love positives.)

    Then she was clearly struggling to say what she wanted to say, but you were obviously worth it to her.

    How great is that?

    That’s a real friend.

    You call it blunt. It’s honest.

    This also rings for me because Ava and I were on a call this afternoon about the documentary going on PBS stations and again and again Ava tugged on her ear to remind me to just listen. By the end of the call, every issue had been resolved and we were in a great position. And we’d just listened and asked questions.

    Wow.

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    #93640

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Post count: 14413

    I find i do that allot… I mentioned elsewhere I work in a call centre environment so I talk allot. I find myself jumping in and such. I’m rarely ever wrong mind you but still, I shouldn’t.

    But lately I’ve found myself talking along and just stop. The word is stuck. there’s dead air. The customer most of the time thinks we got disconnected hehehe. It is annoying though.

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    #93641

    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Participant
    Post count: 473

    Rather than just stop, maybe acknowledge, “But anyway, I’m talking your ear off.” And then ask a question to find out where they are at.

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    #93642

    ellamama
    Member
    Post count: 58

    I agree with Rick with the “acknowledgement” idea. I think–particularly when on the phone and there’re no non-visual means to communicate–that sort of narrating what you’re doing can help. That could take the form of recognizing you’re talking too much and then trying to turn the focus back to them. Another thing which I do sometimes is to explain–at least in part–why I may be so chatty, “I’m sorry if I’m talking too much. As a telecommuter I work on my own. Sometimes I’m so eager to talk with other folks that sometimes I get overexuberant.”

    @Rick: Re: your assessment that what I called “blunt”, you called “honest”. I laughed because it reminded me of the whole male vs. female communications style issue. I wonder if it was a man who’d told me what she did if I’d have described it as honest. (Either way, I don’t see “blunt” as an inherently negative concept.)

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    #93643

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Post count: 14413

    It’s a great thing when others help us realize what we so naturally overlook. My mother for a long time developed a habit of constantly reminding me about what I need to remember to do.

    This she did before I even found out I had ADD.

    It’s also difficult because our minds run quicker and finish sentences or ideas or answers pop into our head while another speaks.

    In a conversation if I allow that person to keep going and that happens to me I find I can’t retain what I wanted to say.

    So it’s good to have friends and family members that point out things we naturally forget we do.

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    #93644

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Post count: 14413

    I was chastised for finishing other’s sentences by my normally, extremely patient husband about five months ago (after being marrried for more than 30 years). I guess he’d decided he had ENOUGH words put into his mouth to finally complain!

    I was really taken aback by hearing it from him. of all people! After all these years of marital bliss and without any complaints from him, I’d begun to believe that I just might be perfect! Really, I did know that finishing his sentences was something I was guilty of, particularly with him.

    He had in fact asked on a few occasions if I would just let him finish by himself. I’d politely say okay (seething inside) and tell him to continue on but to just hurry it up a bit and SAY it a bit faster. Since he was raised in the deep south, it’s always been a bit painful for me to wait while he sloooowly drawled out whatever he was trying to say. (Did you catch that? TRYING to say?)

    Painful, painful, painful for a fast-talking ADDer trying to wait patiently for a slow-talker to finish. What really struck me the most was the fact that it was ‘him’ that finally complained! (since I did know I was guilty as charged) If Mr. Patient had finally complained about this nasty habit, how many others must I have offended as well?

    Now whenever I start to get that hyperventilate-like feeling like I’m going to erupt when someone is taking too long to speak, I remind myself to breathe deeply and just listen, don’t speak. Eventually, whoever it is manages to get it out and then it is MY turn again. Best part, I’ve noticed that not once have I ever exploded/imploded because I had to wait!

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    #93645

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Post count: 14413

    Oh Zsazsa, that is… Brilliant!!! Boy, that’s familiar. It’s like a dream where you’re naked… What did I say? The good news is we’re so forgetful, we’ll never remember. Ha ha ha!

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    #93646

    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Participant
    Post count: 473

    I love what everyone is saying here. This is about having real power.

    When you can hear feedback and understand it’s coaching and guidance, not criticism and insults, you are so far ahead of the rest of the world.

    We’re so enthusiastic, so interested in the problem, we never consider what we’re like, or how we come across.

    It’s like the beauty of the idea, or the magic of something cool, or just the frenzy of producing something takes all our concentration, and suddenly we’re going a million miles an hour… and not noticing what we’re doing or saying to people.

    I like what zsazsa says about suddenly seeing it’s true. And just being aware of what you’re doing is all it takes to stop.

    And then you start noticing what you are doing the rest of the time. You become conscious of it. And it’s a shock.

    Just don’t get shut down. You want to be conscious, but not too self-conscious.

    Also kudos for being able to hear what your husband was saying. Cause that must have been difficult, and let’s face it, hard to deliver a message like that to someone you love. But I know I can get so offended and defensive when I get ‘feedback’ from Ava. Yet she loves me too much not to give it to me. And I’ve given her permission to tell me. (Though, and I’m chuckling and blushing as I write this) when she’s giving me feedback, I’m sitting their regretting I asked her to give me that feedback…

    I love also what you said about wondering who else you’ve offended!

    I guess the answer is, lots of people. But you won’t anymore. (Or not much.)

    And zsazsa, did you thank ‘Mr. Slow Talker’ for speaking up?

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