There’s nothing quite so upsetting as having your ego busted.
I have had my work reviewed for years in the aviation industry. We always had debriefings, audio tape reviews, radar data replays, and one-on-one counseling when things didn’t go so good.
When things go good, smiles and kudos’ buy you lots of freedom to work under minimal supervision. It buys clout. When things don’t go so good, you get lots of ‘help’. Eventually, things die down, somebody else gets the spotlight, and life returns to normal and excellent performance resumes.
Yet, there are times that your work didn’t go as well as you had hoped. That’s what happened this weekend. I spent lots of time preparing for a job, applying lots of experience and knowledge to the task at hand. I knew that I was going to do well. I soon found out that not everyone agreed with that.
The key is to say objective. Put yourself in their shoes. Try not to react defensively, so that communication can stay open and honest. Be respectful. At least, that’s what I tell myself. Shutting down, or striking out probably won’t be productive in the long run. It may help fend off the unpleasant feelings of the critique, but it will also fend off proper evaluation and possible growth. It’s just that….its hard to do that in the moment that it’s happening.
The best thing I’ve learned, and it saved me in this case, is to keep control of a sharp outburst, and try to be understanding. Try the suggestions of others even if you don’t agree with it. Watch the results. I may have been 99% correct, but if the people I am trying to please or to work for don’t like it, then to them. I’m doing it 99% wrong.
So, I had my ego busted. And it hurts. I thought I had put some distance between the scrutiny of the aviation world. But here it is again, showing up in some of the things I enjoy doing in my new persuits too.
Growing pains in your heart hurt just as much as they do in your legs.
Be gentle. Be peaceful. Be loving. Treat others with kindness and support. Choose your words carefully. Be sure you have communicated your desires clearly. Define your expectations beforehand.
Ego busting takes a while to get over. Corrective guidance and thoughtful feedback build trust and loyalty. Staying humble and objective when someone doesn’t like your best work is equally challenging. But oh so necessary.
Keeping a relaxed mental attitude is the key to successful performance discussions. That means allowing for hurt, change and growth. It’s definitely not easy, but it is how life is, isn’t it?