Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Got Feedback?

August 31st, 2009 | Bob Rosner

Last time I talked about how most of us treat feedback like castor oil, something that may be good for you but is tough to swallow. As a registered member of the Feedback Junkies, I solicited feedback from readers and colleagues. This week I’ll review the most interesting comments, both good and bad, to hopefully inspire you to get out there and solicit some of your own feedback.
 
First the questions that I asked people to respond to:

1.    What do you like best about me?
2.    If you had a magic wand, what would you like to change?
3.    Do you have a favorite story that sums up the essence of who I am?
4.    Anything else?

Readers comments were uniformly upbeat. Sure I’ve gotten my share of flame emails in the past, but for some reason this week the missives were all kind. Here is a representative sample:

“I just caught up to your latest column–How am I doing?–and wanted to let you know I’m still here reading it, enjoying it and, at times, disagreeing with it.  As I’ve written you before, we come from the opposite sides of the political spectrum.  Politics aside, I enjoy your ability to craft an insightful post which always makes me think.  You have a great writing “voice” so please keep up the great work, even the posts that tweak my conservative sensibilities.”

“A friend is trying to coach me toward a successful conversion from regular worker to entrepreneurial leader. My feedback to you is not very specific, I’m afraid. My friend selects various articles for me to read each day, and I go over them carefully, sending my responses back for his evaluation. My feedback to you is: When I find a Bob Rosner article in the mix, I smile. That’s it.”

“I read your column today and you wanted to know how you are doing.  I think you’re doing fine. I hope you continue to do the column for a long time to come.”

I guess it was a good week for readers of this blog.
 
My colleagues had a bit more to say. I’ll group their comments with the questions above.
 
1. What do you like best about me?
“Endlessly cerebrally entertaining. Always find a new way to look at things in the world, which brings new insights and realizations about what we take for granted. If I were going to live on a Mars base, I’d want you along.”
“I like best your sense of humor, your chutzpah and your impact on the world in areas like second-hand smoke and in helping employees (and employers) make some sense of work situations.”
“Great spirit and enthusiasm.  Honesty and appreciation of real feedback.”
“This question sent me running to the dictionary because I knew there were two words that apply here. They look alike, but they mean different things. One is indefatigable – which means basically that you are impossible to fatigue or wear out. The other one is undefeatable. (I’m not sure this is a word.) They both apply to you. You are so positive and optimistic and “I can do it” oriented that I think if somebody tried to knock you out, you might go down for a minute but you’d pop right back up like a rubber inflated version of yourself.”

2. If you had a magic wand, what would you like to change?
“Your Color Palette! Man, with what you wear, you look too bland for that technicolor personality of yours. Let that lady of yours take you shopping and pick out some threads that put some color on your visible persona.”
My brother offered to pay for an appointment with a therapist. You just gotta love your family.
“Better sense of humor…just kidding.  I can’t think of any needed magic wand transformations at the moment…I need more time to learn you’re really annoying qualities.”
“I’m not into doing a magic wand thing. You’re very much your own person, all of a piece. I think you’re making the things you want to have happen in your life happen and I have no desire to toy with the workings.”

Well, I guess you could say, except for my brother, I got mostly a pass on that question.
 
There you have it, I’m glad I asked for feedback and chances are good that you will be too.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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