I Stayed on the Job
This true story about the importance of upward
feedback happened to me almost ten years ago. I had just joined the
company, s small but rapidly growing telecommunications firm based in
New York. The VP of HR (let's call him Walter) had hired me to join his
fledgling Training staff to begin building the "soft skills" areas like
One day I encountered Walter in an office hallway. He was visibly angry and had a piece of paper in his hand. It was a print-out of an e-mail I had sent. He started yelling at me, using vulgar four-letter words. Apparently, because I was still a newbie, I had unknowingly caused a problem for him by failing to cc the right people on the message. He showered verbal abuse on me and stormed off.
Trembling, I sought him out at his office later that day. I wanted to thank him for the feedback. But I also had feedback to give to him.
After saying that I appreciated the corrective feedback he had given to me, I told him that I did not like the crude language he had used; it was not in keeping with the company's recently published core values. Nor did I like the hallway location he had chosen for the conversation. It was embarrassing for me to be yelled at in an area with occupied offic3es and cubicles all around.
How did he react? He apologized and thanked me for coming to him and giving him feedback. He was sorry for losing his cool and slipping into inappropriate language. He told me that he was aware that he had that tendency and that he was trying to do better. He even praised me for my courage and said that this was the kind of behavior he wanted from his team.
He encouraged me to give him feedback anytime and especially if this kind of incident were to happen again.
From that day forward, Walter ;and I had a pretty good working relationship.
Thanks, Terry, for sharing this with TRAINING SYSTEMS.
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