I have three kids and they are my teachers. This is my oldest, 11 years old dreamer, lego builder and kayaker. A few weeks ago he participated in the local championship. He had bad results in solo and in team race they even did not finish – one of his two team mates felt in the water. It was cold and windy day. After they put their equipment back in place, I got some sweets from my car and went to find the boys to cheer them up. To my surprise, they were not disappointed at all, but instead planning to go to Berlin and be part of national team! “Berlin!? What Berlin? Wake up – you just got disqualified on local river!”- I screamed inside of me. I did say nothing out loud, but watched distanced their childish and untroubled behaviour.
A week later there was another competition. All three of them had good solo results and got qualified for Germany national championship. As a team they finished second and came home with medal. At first we did not believe our sons story (I was not at the race). Qualified for national races – yeah, right! But it turned out to be true. I shamed on me because I did not believe my child can achieve good results.
Short time ago I had talk at work. I am good with dealing feedback and criticism about my work – how I test, what I test, when I test. But this time it was about how I communicated. My first reaction was – this is not serious! I am very aware of importance of communication. One specific aspect of my interest is how we deliver feedback to stakeholders and by stakeholder I mean everyone on a team. But then I did the worst thing ever – I took it personal. Criticism was not about my work, it was about me as a person.
It took me few days, but than I remembered my son. I shook it off, analysed my communication as objective as I could, got second opinion and localised few weaknesses I want to work on for next few month. It is just one persons opinion and just one in row of many others. It is hard to stay professional if feedback is personal, but as my work experience grows, I see how greatly personality influences work issues. My next conference talk idea is to talk about trust – item, you can not put in contract, but what has huge impact in results.