Lately, my friends and I have engaged in philosophical conversations. Whether these conversations stem from us getting older and perhaps wiser or maybe we just like to debate with one another, is unclear. Hence our latest discussion centered around when does feedback seek to be constructive? We could all agree upon the fact that we have encountered those in our life that have been supportive and those that have been extremely critical. There is a huge difference between those that seek to offer constructive criticism and those that just want to be naysayers or gunslingers in our life, shooting down our ideas and aspirations. Those that are on our team in life, may offer helpful feedback which normally comes along with a few suggestions. Their goal is to be supportive, therefore they listen to our ideas, offer suggestions and are encouraging. Whereas, naysayers or gunslingers critique our work, performance, or idea, only to tell us that we did mostly everything incorrectly. They offer no solutions, only veiled comments that we are inadequate and wrong. The interesting thing about those naysayers is they typically lack the courage and or the talent that we possess. Their sole job is to make others feel insignificant.
Throughout my professional life, I’ve had the joy of working with some amazing supervisors who knew the best way to make their section look good was by empowering and encouraging their employees. I’ve also had supervisors that did not invest in their staff and it showed in the lack of enthusiasm by employees and low section morale. No agency, section or country can perform well when its employees are forced to operate in a state of oppression. The same can be said for relationships. Those relationships were partners encourage each other typically thrive, while those relationships in which one of the partners is oppressed, typically ends in divorce or separation.
For those of us that remember the movie Pretty Woman, Julia Robert’s character, Vivian, states, “the bad stuff is easier to believe.” I tend to concur with that statement. No matter how awesome we are, it only takes one person to shake our self-confidence. We tend to replay negative comments over-and-over again in our head like an unhealthy rerun. We even dismiss positive affirmations because the person speaking favor over our life loves us or they’re just being kind.
Which do you have the most of in your life, the naysayer or the positive coach? Who has made the biggest impact, the naysayers or the positive coach?
Join the discussion