During a senior management meeting of a multinational corporation, the executives were encouraged to ask questions and share their views. Akhilesh Kumar, the head of supply chain, raised his hand and volunteered to share some of his views on various aspects that were discussed in the meeting.
After the meeting, Akhilesh went to meet Manav Behl, the CEO, and asked him what he thought of his comments and whether it was appropriate of him to have raised them in the forum. Manav told him the truth—that although the content of his message was relevant and his views were valid, the way he had conveyed them was a little negative. Akhilesh didn’t take kindly to this feedback and told Manav that henceforth he will simply keep his opinions to himself because it seems that the management didn’t really care about his viewpoint.
Most of us prefer to avoid reality, much less seek it proactively. How often, instead of welcoming insight about ourselves, we treat it as a reason to feel offended? Rather than viewing it as an opportunity to look within and see if we need to change something about our attitude or behaviour, we consider negative feedback as criticism that is best avoided. Many a relationship—personal and professional—go sour due to such poor response to sincere feedback. On the other hand, positive feedback too is viewed either suspiciously or not given much importance because we prefer to live in the bubble of perceptions we have created for ourselves.
But not actively seeking and receiving feedback constructively keeps us from those truths about ourselves which only others can see and point out. And unless we see ourselves—our strengths, our weaknesses—without bias, we will not be happy.
In this month’s lead story, a clinical psychologist tells you why proactively seeking reality can help you expand your awareness about yourself, others and your world. Dr Henry Cloud, best-selling author and acclaimed leadership expert, tells us that armed with this heightened awareness, we can improve all aspects of our lives. Using examples of real people, he illustrates how seeking honest feedback from others is the key to success and happiness. “The good ones want to know the reality of who they are and are in tune with the fact that we do not see ourselves accurately. They ‘seek’ out this knowledge in a variety of ways,” says Dr Cloud as he explains that integrity is all about wanting to know the truth, no matter what the cost.
I find Dr Cloud’s ideas thought provoking; they have made me reflect on my attitude towards the feedback that I receive from others. Also, I have begun to see tremendous value in actively seeking out reality as I am sure you will too, once you finish reading the cover story.
I encourage you to put what you’ve learned into practice right away, like I am doing now by urging you to send me an honest feedback about how we’re doing at Complete Wellbeing and how we can improve. I’ll be grateful for your efforts and your insights.
Write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org