Have you ever participated in one of those 360 reviews during your career? As if the annual review process wasn't bad enough, during the 360 review your peers and those working for you get a say in the matter. Yep, everyone you work with gets to point out your strengths and weaknesses. Great. Shouldn't we just leave that up to our boss? Isn't it hard enough to hear how those above us perceive our successes and shortcomings, without hearing it from the rest of the gang?
I know, I know “ this type of review-by-all is meant to help us so we can become better bosses/employees/co-workers.
For many of us, there are so many other things we ™d rather do than expose ourselves to this kind of scrutiny. Stick pins under our nails, face a pack of wolves, Chinese water torture “ hey, why not just stand naked in the mall and have everyone analyze our physiques?
Face it, deep down, whether we want to admit it or not, we don't want to hear what others have to say. We know who we are, don't we? We ™ve lived with ourselves our entire lives.
So then what possessed me last week to ask my friends and colleagues what they thought of me?
A very engaging, talented, smart guest speaker at a networking event, that's who. I knew I shouldn't be going to those things.
The speaker suggested that in order to really understand who we are, we should ask friends and colleagues to give us their perception. Just a few words, that's all. I shuddered at the thought. A twisted version of the 360 review, now for the unemployed.
I must have drunk the Kool-Aide because as I drove home I could not stop thinking about her message. But why would I do this now? Am I a glutton for punishment? I ™m not responsible to anybody and I shouldn't have to face being reviewed while I ™m unemployed.
At home in the safety of my office, I had a moment of courage and decided to be like Nike and just do it. Quickly, before losing my nerve, I sent messages to friends and colleagues asking for their feedback. Within seconds my email box starting pinging with their feedback.
Should I open the emails? I ™m not sure I ™m ready to read their comments. What if they say something mean? What if I don't agree with them? What if, what if, what if?
I clicked on the first email, only daring to look at it by peeking through one clinched eye.
What's this? Am I reading this correctly? The feedback was actually pretty good! The more I clicked, the better I felt. I even opened both eyes. Was everything people said what I expected? No. In a couple of instances I thought, huh ?? You really think I ™m quirky? And that I have moxy? What is moxy anyway?? Yet I could see the truth in their comments, and all the comments could be seen as positive.
Why not hear the truth, even if we don't like it? It's important to understand how others view us if we plan on moving forward in our careers. It's even healthy for our personal lives so we can adjust and change and grow as needed.
Their perception of me is probably right on target. Having their feedback is like a secret weapon to learn from, a way to fine-tune my skills for upcoming consulting assignments or interviews or becoming a better wife/friend/daughter/aunt.
Yes, it was scary. Yes, some of the stuff was hard to read and seemed contradictory to the ˜me ™ that I know so well. And yes, I ™m taking all this feedback to heart. Even the stuff that caused me to say huh?
If perception is reality, my reality is looking good. At least that's what my friends say.