Be compassionately honest

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I had the pleasure today of meeting with two colleagues (one a top salesperson and the other a business futurist) to run through some business ideas.  We each volunteered our time to help each other out in a collaborative way with feedback on aspects of each others work. 

What stood out for me was not so much the praise and positive accolades. It was the helpful nature of the constructive feedback. I felt from the outset that both these people had my best interests at heart. I also realised that their wisdom and experience backed up what they said.  I felt as if each conversation was a gift not a challenge.

So what made these conversations work and other similar ones get my back up?

1. We have no baggage.  We don't have a trail of unresolved or uncleared situations. Instead all of our interactions so far have been clean, clear and constructive.

2. I consciously approached the meeting with a positive and welcoming attitude. From the outset I viewed the situation as an opportunity to grow and develop not prove myself or defend. 

3.  These individuals have expertise in the skills they shared with me.  I accepted the value and skills each person brought to the table.  I did not try to match them nor prove equal in regard to points they covered.

When it was my turn to provide feedback I believe I held the same position.

So what made this meeting productive, valuable and useful was the fact that we were willing to go there.  We covered the whole situation, shared all of our thoughts and did not hold back. 

We were what I call 'compassionately honest'.

Rate yourself

So the next time you are in a business meeting how would you rate yourself and your colleagues on the scale of compassionate honesty?

5 - I always empathically provide specific helpful feedback in the moment as the opportunity arises. I also check to make sure that the person received and understood what I meant.

4 - I generally make the effort to be complete and give feedback as well as care about the other person's experience.

3 - My choice and/or ability to really care and be honest depends on the person. I am inconsistent.

2 - I give feedback but can be too brutally honest.  People have to recover from what I say. OR I give feedback and am way too nice so the person really has no idea what to do differently.

1 - I usually don't give feedback.  When I do, I keep the conversation to a minimum and sit on the fence.

Don't just rate yourself pay attention and do something about it

So now you know a little bit more about the way you might handle yourself when giving feedback. Of course this is a much more complicated skill development area.  However on a practical level it might be awhile until you get yourself booked into a training course or sign up with a personal coach.  So I invite you to start now and take responsibility to actually give feedback and be consciously aware of the way in which you do.  The more that you try the more those around you will truly value and appreciate your contribution.

I know I did today.