We live in a feedback-heavy culture. The “truth” is mixed with noise, activity and passive-aggressive messages.
Am I a horrible human being? Am I awesome? How do I know?
Whenever my friend Jennifer McClure receives feedback, she uses a cool tool called Wordle to help her understand the bigger concepts and themes. She plugs in her speaker evaluations. It kicks back an image. The LARGER the words, the more frequently they are mentioned.
This might be helpful for you if you have a performance appraisal, long and crazy email from an ex-boyfriend, or even an assessments from work (MBTI, Birkman, DiSC). Just copy/paste the text into the website. You can also plug in a URL to see themes.
Here is an image of the most commonly used words on my blog.
I am also a fan of diagrams. My favorite diagram is the Venn diagram. Here is a diagram of my marriage that shows the things my husband and I have in common and where we differ.
We are very excited about the new season of Homeland. Between that and the cats, life is pretty good.
I think Venn diagrams are helpful if you love your boss (or job) but you also have other interests and aspirations. What are your shared goals? What is missing? What sucks?
I think the most important thing to realize is that everyone is flawed. You are not that great. Neither am I. We should try to be self-aware so that it is not the end of the world when someone gives us feedback. And I think we should also be thoughtful enough not to offer feedback to people we don’t really know and don’t love. Feedback without love is just spite.
And one more thing. If nobody asks you for feedback, feel free to shut your mouth.