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When Is Negative Feedback Too Negative?

March 30, 2010

Last week I went out to dinner with my two teen-age daughters, who are now 18 and 15. The older one  was telling me how she had confronted a friend about an annoying behavior: her tendency towards a know-it-all show-offiness in almost every conversation. 

Apparently it was not just my daughter who was irritated by this particular girl. A much wider circle of friends – the whole school, practically! – recoiled from this competitive, one-upping attitude. They talked about her behind her back.  The girl was developing a very poor reputation, and my good-hearted daughter felt compelled to kindly redirect her before it had gone beyond repair.

“So how’d it go?” I asked, about the intervention.

“Not very good.” She replied. “I tried to explain in a nice way how obnoxious she came across to people, but she just got mad and cried. And then she stayed home from school today. She’s so dramatic.”

“Mmmh.” I said, spinning my soup with a spoon. “Some people don’t handle criticism very well.”

But she better start listening, I thought, if she wants to have any hope of success with a job, friends or family later in life.

I went on to tell my daughter about my company, which is in the midst of its annual “Peer Assessments,” a key aspect of our performance review process. Each of the salaried employees, from the executives on down, are ranked and reviewed by a large number of other salaried professionals – 75 in my case – on job performance and future potential. This is then followed up by a more objective review between employees and their bosses, with explicit discussion on areas where they are doing well, and where they need to improve.

To continue, click here to read my post over at The High Calling Blogs.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 9:15 am

    i intend to finish reading this….time to taxi daughter to school….

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