Ask for feedback about feedback
Leslie, assistant manager for a restaurant chain in Yakima, Washington, told Session 10A of the Leadership Development Lab:
"I have been with my current company for just under six months. Lately I haven't been feeling very successful. I have a supervisor that likes to practice her coaching skills on me daily. Most days I go home feeling like I can't do anything right. I am being coached to death. When we were given this 'pearl' project, I decided to make my relationship with my supervisor my 'pearl.' It was definitely an irritating relationship and I needed it to be a smooth relationship if I wanted to advance in my company. After choosing my 'pearl,' I knew the best way to polish my grain of irritating sand was to sit with my supervisor away from the restaurant we worked in and talk. I knew if I just laid things out on the table, she would do the same and we would go forward one way or the other. I called her and asked for the meeting. Without hesitation, she agreed. I explained how I felt 'coached to death,' unsuccessful in my new position, and how I was feeling that maybe this company wasn't a good fit for me. She explained that the only way I could learn what I needed and improve my skills was to be coached. She was doing a lot of coaching because I have a lot to learn if I want to advance through the ranks quickly. It wasn't personal or an attack on me or my abilities; she only wanted to help me get better. If she didn't care about me or my career, she wouldn't say anything and just let me struggle and fail.
"When she said all that, it made perfect sense. I had probably even said the same thing to an employee of mine in the past. In the seven weeks since our meeting, things have been great. She still coaches, but now I am listening, learning, and hitting homeruns.
"When we first received this assignment, I started polishing my sand right away and things got better very quickly. It was almost too easy and I thought maybe I should have picked a 'harder' pearl. I have a smooth, shiny pearl in my pocket, and a
recent promotion to store manager to prove that no pearl is too small or too easy. If I had sit back and not thought my pearl was important enough, at the very least I wouldn't have gotten the promotion, and worst case, I wouldn't work for the company at all.
"The lesson I learned from this experience is that no relationship should be too hard or too easy. Every relationship is important and may have great ramifications if not strengthened.
"The action I call you to take is to look at all of your relationships, no matter how great or small, and make each of them better somehow. The benefit you will gain is healthier, happier and stronger relationships with all those around you. You will advance."
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