The Challenge of Feedback

I just finished Thanks for the Feedback. I cannot say enough good things about it. Put on your to-be-read pile. I picked three ideas and my next steps.

  • When feedback is given, the receiver sorts into three categories, appreciation, coaching, and evaluation. I realized that I receive most feedback as evaluation. It triggers an identity block which does not allow me to action on the feedback. I need to focus on the feedback as coaching and ask what is one thing I can concentrate on.
  • Bosses think they show appreciation, but employees do not feel they are appreciated. I think it is because we mix appreciation in with coaching and evaluation. I guarantee that I have said, “Thanks for ___ and have you considered ___?” I need to completely separate my appreciation feedback from any other. It gets drowned out by the other two forms.
  • No performance system is perfect. I think about all of the teacher evaluation systems. They have been charged with so much. They should weed out poor performing teachers, identify areas of growth for teachers, reward excellent teachers, and communicate what best practice is in teaching. I am sure you can add other tasks as well. Unfortunately, this is using a hammer to complete all of your home improvement needs. A change in the system requires each of us to advocate for a system that has fewer tasks assigned to it.





The Last Half Mile

I am not going to lie. I really hate running, but I am working on being humble and realize that I may be wrong. To check this out, I signed up for a 5K. I added running to my workouts and told everyone I knew that I was attempting this run. I set a personal goal of under 40 minutes.

On St. Patrick’s Day, the weather was horrible. Snow was scheduled to start, and it felt 25 degrees out. I wanted to stay home, but I realized that I had told everyone about my goal. So with gloves on, I began this race. I did not start to walk until about I had about a little more than a half mile. I said, to myself, just walk one block and then start back up. After that first block, I started back up at run pace, and I quickly started walking again. Luckily for me, a woman came running upside to me and said, “Come on! You’ve got this! We only have a half mile left.” I started to pick up my pace and ran alongside her. During this time, the wind picked up as we entered the downtown area. She and I kept cheering on each other. When we finally crossed the finish line, we thanked each other for helping us finish strong.

I tell you this story because the first two miles were easy, and I didn’t need anyone to accomplish the work, but as running got harder and the sleet seemed to come from everywhere, I needed a partner. It’s just like when we start the school year. It is easy to keep the momentum of moving forward without much support from your colleagues, but as the year continues, we need our fellow teachers to help cheer us on and support us as things get tough.

I am not going to deny that last mile was hard, but it was enjoyable because I had a running partner to help me. We didn’t complain about the weather or the wind or anything else we didn’t have control of instead we focused on the task at hand of putting one foot in front of the other. When we find our tribe, it is essential to keep this in mind. Celebrate and focus on what we have control of.

After this experience, I am still not a fan of running, but I will add it to workout rotation.   IMG_7711 (1).JPG