So, someone comes to you today with a complaint about your performance. Are you feeling defensive, offensive, aggravated, peaceful?
Regardless of your initial feelings, what is your reaction? Can you take the criticism and come out better on the other side?
I have a history of internalizing issues. I put on a happy mask through the conversation and end things on a high note, but for hours afterwards (and sometimes day), I continue to replay the conversation in my head thinking about what I should have said or done. I list out all of their faults, issues and ingratitude for all of the things I have done for them. I go over and over all of the correct steps I did take and try to rework the problem point or words. I then come up with a new set of points I should have pointed out and shown them (in my mind) where they were wrong and where I was right all along.
But, I am slowly realizing that it doesn’t help. I can’t go back and change things, and even if I did, they would probably come up with another issue. You can’t please everyone.
Try as I might, I simply cannot make everyone happy all of the time. I NEED feedback to know where I am, but when it comes from one person, it DOES NOT mean that everyone else is thinking the same way, even if they say they are.
It is not the end of the world. Breathe. Take it graciously and move on.
The more feedback I get, paired with an attitude of improving my leadership, the better I am at sidestepping the internalization cycle.
I failed today though. I offended someone and they confronted me. I smiled, apologized and parted on good terms. But, I kept hold of the conversation and rationalized how I was right and they were wrong. Over and over and over again.
I caught myself late in the cycle and notice that I was feeling pretty bad about myself. It took a lot of energy to stop the process and begin thinking about what I WAS doing right. What accomplishments I have made in the past. I reminded myself that this person didn’t hate me and that I didn’t make any fatal errors. Life goes on and so will I.