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Elderly Woman Behind the Counter In a Small Town

Call it a lesson in sociology. As a way to help gauge my performance as a team leader I decided today to hand out feedback forms to my current team. Today was my last day with them, as I will be moving on to another team tomorrow. I figured it would be a great way to get honest feedback and improve my leadership style. I genuinely crave good constructive feedback. This was my second team since I was made team leader and my first team in the ACDT call type. I know I have made many mistakes. I have learned so much since I was first upgraded. The learning, I am sure, will never wane.

I expected too get a lot attacks on my “micro managing” and dogmatic coaching. Instead I received a lot of unexpected compliments and constructive feedback. Most explained how they appreciated my openness and humor. They explained how they valued my willingness to help out in any situation, even when I was busy. They appreciated how I made sure we had fun every day. I was really impressed with the level of feedback I received. A lot of my team members even cited examples and gave ways they think I could improve. They were all very specific and simple suggestions. I greatly appreciated all feedback.

Except for one.

One of my team members said I was rude, unapproachable, condescending and had a poor management style. That was pretty much the gist of it. No examples. No suggestions. That is not constructive criticism. That is destructive criticism, and I must say I took it pretty harshly, as I am sure was this person’s intent.

People, whom know me, know that I am not those aforementioned things. I am very approachable. In fact I had several comments on other feedback forms that pointed out how my approachability was an asset to my leadership. I am sure that my dry sarcasm can come off as rude and sometimes condescending. It is a perception issue that I agree I need to work on. This perception is usually fixed by talking to me for about 5 minutes. People who work with me have learned to appreciate this humor; however I will admit that not everyone has bought into it. Apparently the person who filled out the destructive feedback form is not a fan of my work.

This brings me to a revelation. Perception is paramount. We all have perceptions of everyone. Have you ever stopped to consider how accurate that perception is? What is the perception of the person in the office next to yours? How about the person who just cut you off on the freeway? How about the elderly woman behind the counter in a small town?

What are thier perceptions of you?

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