I admire people who can take feedback with grace. ‘Bout the only feedback I can tolerate is on a Sonic Youth record. Recently I completed leadership of a program. I wanted to know what my students really thought, so I gave them free rein on providing me feedback. I said “take out a blank piece of paper and write anything you think I should know about my performance or the program.” I left the room. I had one student collect all the reviews and put them in an envelope.
I stared at that envelope for a week before I had the courage to open it. I was sure that because I was hard on them – would you have pegged me as a pusher? – that they would be equally hard on me. In all fairness, I should be willing to eat the the brutal honesty I so often serve others.Turns out I worried for nothing. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive. 99% of the students understand why I pushed. I’ve learned to accept that I always provoke an angry 1% in any room I enter. That’s just part of my charm. Can’t win ’em all.