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Negative feedback can kill your dreams, but makes your reality better!

July 5, 2017

      Not too long ago I joined my new team. I was super excited: I finally left the job that was making me feel underutilized and I got a chance to work with one of the best Agile teams in our organization. Great success!

 

Five days after I joined my team I had my first 1:1 with my leader. I was excited and enthusiastic... until my leader opened his mount:

-"I heard that you look like you have no idea what you are doing with your teams you suppose to coach" - he said.

What??? What are you talking about? Are you out of your mind? I've been here just for 5 days and you didn't even gave me a simple "Welcome"! What kind of leader you are? Why did you hire me if you think that I have no idea what I'm doing with my team? How could you know if I'm competent or not if you spent literally 5 second with me this week?

Yes, I wanted to say all that, but I remained silent while he was talking, but I was not listening anyway. I felt the last bit of my excitement leaving the office while I'm still in.

 

"Oh boy, I made a huge mistake joining this team"

- talking to myself while leaving his office.

 

I spent entire weekend thinking about the feedback. That was the worst feedback I ever had about my job. Just 2 weeks ago my previous leader gave me extremely positive feedback about my work. What changed? The leader, obviously, but did something else really changed on my side?

Then I started to analyze the sentence that shook my confidence:

"I heard that..." - he said. Well, that makes the things a bit different. The feedback was not his opinion, it was a feedback from the team I was coaching. WOW! I spent 5 days with the team and they already felt that I'm not competent and they are under impression that I don't know what I'm doing??? What the heck? What I did wrong, how I earned that reputation in just two sessions with the team?

Then I realized that the negative feedback I got from my leader was a blessing, a wake-up call, nothing less than that!

And they were partially right. I jumped in and hit the ground running with assumption that the coaching approach that I was using with my previous team will work perfectly with this team too. WRONG! We all know that each team is different, different mentality, culture, personalities, habits... No surprise they were confused with me throwing a bunch of things at them that didn't make any sense implementing it in their release train. That's where my negative feedback came from.

So i sat down, reviewed again the Release Train structure, their roles and responsibilities and I realized that different coaching approach will make much more sense than the things I had on my mind when I started.

And again, they were right, so as my new leader. 

At that moment I was so embarrassed of my myself and the hard feelings I had about my leader, but at the same time I was proud that I took the negative feedback the right way and overcame the natural, defensive reaction to it. It was a perfect learning and self-improving opportunity!

So, next time when you get a negative feedback related to your work, attitude or even personal life, don't let the feedback kill your dreams but action it and use it as a powerful tool to make your reality better!!!

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