LESSONS IN LIVING AND LEARNING FROM FEEDBACK
“Host team of the day, now is feedback time” echoed the voice of ‘JZ Msholozi aka Igwe aka Jane’. Quickly gathering together at the specified table, we wonder what the agenda will be. We have heard about the feedback session with the team being assessed and fellow members giving one another feedback. My mind began to be bombarded with questions and emotions. What will they have to say about me? How will I take the feedback? I have, after a few days here at ANLP, made a conscious choice to receive the feedback. Why? I have realized that if I am to grow and change, then I have to be prepared to listen to how others perceive my behavior.
The session started and every member of the team had to in turn keep quiet and soak in feedback from other members of the team that we are part of for the ten days. It was candid and, sometimes hard on the heart. But I listened and absorbed. The comments are still ringing in me as I write this, except with a twist.
I have come to the realization that my team members and the support team are not ‘out to get me’, bruise or hurt me, but to build me into a better person more aware of myself and my behaviors. True leaders are self-aware. Nelson Mandela said, “I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying”.
But how do most of us view feedback? Quite often when we receive feedback we immediately think someone has something against you, don’t like you, want to prove something, want to appear better. But truly speaking, we ought to be receptive to feedback, whether it’s negative or positive, even seek it out and use it to our advantage.
This brings me to my conclusion. We need to consciously make a decision not to overreact or become defensive, but to listen more, speak less (we have two ears and one mouth) and devise a control mechanism of calming down (such as counting to 10 before responding). Silence also works. But, if we are to grow it is necessary to come back to address the feedback we receive after a time of self-reflection. Discernment is important as to when to respond.
For the purpose of building one another, I invite you to share with us, the ANLP 2016 participants, your experiences and the ways that have worked for you when handling feedback.
Carl Jung said “Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes.”
Galase Tshepiso Ramolefhe (Botswana)