The Value of Having An Inner Circle of Feedback

There was this meeting I attended years ago. The  committee chair posed the question to the few individuals present as to why attendance had dwindled down to a few.  He was trying to figure out why and said he had no clue. I raised my hand to try to tell him what those who stopped attending told me –  it’s because he monopolized the meetings.  I was ignored.  Other members tried to talk but were also either ignored or ideas were dismissed.  He kept on talking for the rest of the meeting, proposing his solutions to the group. It became the typical monologue.  I stopped attending after that. I wonder if anyone ever told him what some of us were thinking.

I know I’ve been guilty of failing to realize my own shortcomings many times as well. As painful as it is sometimes to hear even things I’d rather not hear,  one of the most valuable decisions I have come to make is to welcome and seek feedback. The key for me has been to figure out who I can trust and those who I am willing to listen to, with reservations. I have  a boss who is really honest and it’s one of the reasons I respect him.  I have some co-workers whom I’ve built good relationships with, good enough that they can tell me even things I’d rather not hear. I have colleagues at other departments I have known for years, my customers, who will do the same.  My wife is my biggest supporter and I also appreciate her honesty. All of them have challenged me, forced me to think differently.  I learn from all of them. They keep me honest.

I know it’s so much easier to surround myself with those that always agree with me, a “yes” group. I doubt I would be learning us much though. Do you have your own inner circle of feedback?


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2 thoughts on “The Value of Having An Inner Circle of Feedback

  1. Laura Pasquini

    I think you bring up some valid points, Joe. Most are in similar and shared circles which might reflect the same values and ideas of one another. It’s important to look at things with a critical eye and get another perspective on how things are working whether its a program, an article review, or a presentation. I myself thrive on feedback – the good, the bad & the ugly – and I it’s helpful to get some truth to what you are working on. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope more people step outside the “Yes” circles and echo chambers to challenge their work. Great post, Joe!

    1. Joe Sabado

      Thanks Laura. About echo chambers, there have been a few times when so-called “experts” tweet something that just doesn’t seem right to me and so I ask them for clarifications or question their thoughts. Their response to my tweets lead me to believe that they’re surprised someone dare question them. My intention is not to put them in a bad light, but try to engage them in a conversation. My attitude is that even experts can be wrong at times, no one is perfect. I have so much more respect for those “experts” or “leaders” that take the time to have a conversation with me and acknowledge my point of view.


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