The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Be direct

People easily ask for others to be direct, honest, and maybe even brutally honest with them. For them, it is permission they give others. But often it is more a responsibility they seek to delegate.

They ask others to take the risk to speak up. What they often forget is to repeat the permission or to invite the feedback they look for whenever they sense that there might be a need for it.

It’s by asking for feedback that we make it safer for others to give it. And it is only by showing oneself often enough as someone open to feedback that others may become willing to offer it on other occasions too. This is a type of feedback people often hope for but may not be prepared to listen to as it may highlight some of their blind spots.

By definition, a blind spot is something people don’t know about themselves and may find hard to hear or believe. It makes it risky for others to highlight it, especially if they are not sure how well such feedback will be received.

Asking for direct feedback may feel safe. Receiving direct feedback often touches a vulnerable spot which can disrupt the sense of safety.

Giving direct feedback comes with the risk of an unknown reaction and thus possible short-term costs. The person giving the feedback needs to find it important enough to speak up, for example by seeing the long-term costs of staying silent.


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