From an executive coaching perspective, dealing with both negative and positive feedback is truly a significant, complex and personally difficult task to take on - whether it's being received or delivered. Typically, feedback coping mechanisms are developed early in life, and cemented as they're used and prove useful through early employment and adult relationships. However, bad habits or simply unknown expressions of behavior can still creep into your interviews, subordinate or supervisor relationships, employee or human resource interactions, or any other business or personal interactions - and you don't really find out until it's too late.
In this article from DC Executive Coach James Bowles (jamesbowles.com), the concept of eliminating negative habits is discussed. James Bowles is one of Northern VA and the Washington DC metro area's foremost experts on Executive Coaching, Human Resources, and Human Capital Performance Management.
Bad habits creep in to our behavior over time. Many successful people convince themselves that their bad habits are strengths and points of pride, and the bad habits become even harder to break. People get promoted because of skills, results, and luck, but are often eventually derailed by their negative interpersonal habits. There exist many bad habits in the areas of communications and competitiveness, but there are also many others.
So, what are your bad habits, as an executive, manager, supervisor, employee?
Discovering and accepting feedback about your bad habits is by far the toughest challenge in the process. No one really wants to hear or accept negative feedback. Even if you are the most open person in the world, getting criticized is painful. Even when we ask for feedback, there is a part of us that instantly wants to defend or explain our behavior. And because we don't want to get negative feedback, we feel bad about giving negative feedback to others as well. Managers feel a tremendous amount of stress about giving negative feedback even when it's part of their job.
The culture of Corporate America and its executive promotion, human resources and human capital management processes also does not put value on feedback. People are conditioned to "not rock the boat", "not burn bridges", "deal with the devil you know". When was the last time you saw someone rewarded for giving their boss negative feedback? Many companies and hr departments have stopped doing exit interviews, because even the unhappiest leaving employee has learned to not go on record with bad things to say about the company for fear of repercussions, even when the chances of ever returning are 1 in 1000.
So, the paradox of feedback is that it's critical to identifying and eliminating bad habits. But you don't really want it. And no one really wants to give it to you, at least in person, non-anonymously (receiving feedback via anonymous comments on blogs and other social media is a different matter, to be discussed in future articles). So, how do you find out what your bad habits are? Here are four possible ways to find out.
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James Bowles is a premier Northern Virginia and Washington DC Executive Coach, offering Executive Coaching, Human Resources Consulting and Human Capital Performance Management Consulting services from Northern Virginia. Article submitted with approval by Virginia Konrad, at Northern Virginia and DC Business News.
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