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The Hardest Part of Your Job

The Hardest Part of Your Job

Even if you don’t realize it is…


As readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of Brené Brown. Her insights about the power of vulnerability and practicing empathy have helped me in both my professional and personal life.

She often gives voice to the truth about how scary it is to hear feedback about ourselves. Facing judgment about the quality of our work causes immense anxiety, and Brown’s insight is that those that give feedback are assuming a huge responsibility because the impact of those interactions can make or break not just a career, but a life.

Whether you’re the PD or the GM, or just a parent raising children, you’re giving feedback over and over throughout your day. And because much of that feedback is subjective, the way you offer it is the hardest part of your job.

As Mariah Helgeson says in her article in On Being, “Grace in disagreement — saying this could be different and how — is an essential part of the human experience. We evolve through disagreement. Ideas subjected to criticism grow stronger than ideas left unchallenged.

Brené Brown lists 10 prerequisites for what she calls “engaged feedback.” She says you know you are ready to offer feedback when you can say:

  • I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you.
  • I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you).
  • I’m ready to listen, ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue.
  • I want to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes.
  • I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges.
  • I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming you.
  • I’m willing to own my part.
  • I can genuinely thank you for your efforts rather than criticize you for your failings.
  • I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to your growth and opportunity.
  • I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you.

I wish Radio companies spent more time and money training management at every level, but until they do, the onus is on you.

Work harder at engaged feedback. Practice with someone who will offer you engaged feedback in return.

Everyone who reports to you will be better for your efforts, and so will you.