As soon as people receive feedback, they frequently begin to wrestle with the question, “Why should I change?” Do you identify with any of the following negative attitudes that are common after receiving feedback?
• “I paid my dues when I was younger. Now that I’ve achieved my position, I deserve a break.”
• “I shouldn’t be expected to respond to every little request.”
• “If others can’t accept me with a few weaknesses, that’s their problem. I’ve done my best, and I deserve a little latitude.”
• “When I was young, I learned the ropes. Now I teach others the ropes.”
• “I know I’m not perfect, but my strengths clearly outweigh my weaknesses.”
When we think about personal development and change, we tend to think that childhood or adolescence was the time for most significant changes to occur. We usually believe that, as adults, we are more stable and mature—that perhaps we might have to pass through some minor refinements, but not the kinds of major changes we went through in our youth.
Feedback usually gives us some good news and some bad news. Most people are willing to acknowledge their weaknesses, but they do not always try to improve them. The comment heard most often by facilitators when reviewing feedback with participants is, “I knew I had a problem in this area.” Occasionally feedback comes as a big surprise, but most of the time, people have known about their weaknesses for some time, often for years. I ask, “If you already knew about this problem, why ...