I remember receiving a particular report card when I was about 8 years old. I used to love the way a teacher could make what read to me like a snap judgement on an entire term’s performance in a couple of sentences, sometimes just a couple of words. It was so loaded with comments about my personality rather than my grasp of the subject, which only served to make me believe that my personality would be the thing to sustain me rather than any academic qualities.
However I loved getting the report card. It was all about me! And me was my favourite subject. I would tear it open and, like a chocaholic, CONSUME every word scrawled therein. And it was over in about 30 seconds. Was that it?! I had to make those words resonate within me for another 3 whole months.
Of course I only paid attention to the good bits. Any dissenting voices from fusty old geography teachers were quickly and permanently erased from my mind.
I wanted more. I thrived on recognition. The worst ‘feedback’ was no feedback, it was as if I didn’t exist.
I met an old teacher some years ago, quite by chance. She taught me at around the time of that memorable report card. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she was fresh out of teacher training college. It was the mid-seventies and something of a revolution was happening in teaching methods. She told me during our reunion that she remembered arguing with the head teachers about me; she said that they accused me of being too outspoken and she defended my need to be ‘expressive’.
I don’t know how they give kids the feedback these days; how many different tools are used and/or how it’s communicated. I imagine the science of psychometry has found its way into the education system; certainly I’m aware it has in the better schools. And I hope so too.
I just re-did a Myers Briggs evaluation for the hell of it. (Me is still my favourite subject!) I came out as an ‘Entertainer’ (ESFP if you want to look it up), seemingly in love with the spotlight. But allow me to qualify…. it’s not about me per se. Self-awareness of your traits through analysis, psychometric tools, feedback from your peers, recognition (or notoriety); it’s all good. But it’s because the more we seek to know how we behave, what makes us tick, how we might be perceived by others who might not share our view of the world, the better we can attempt (if we want) to modify that behaviour or those skills that are lacking, in order to perform better or to the required level demanded by the job/project.
That report card was almost 40 years ago. Have I modified my behaviour? Not much. There is a famous quote “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man” that speaks to our traits and behaviours being cast at a very young age – a hugely important factor if one considers the elements of a broken society.
Notwithstanding what might be irreversible, receiving feedback and understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to identify at a macro level, career or life choices, or simply inform you as to whether you are currently, a square peg in a round hole.
Unfortunately there will never be enough leaders in business with the innate qualities needed to recognise and nurture your particular brand of talent. So in these days of self-service, you need to self-manage if you want to find your career comfort zone.
I’ll say no more about the content of the report card other than to thank Sheryl Sandberg for the validation.
Article from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/employee-recognition-starts-you-beverley-hughes?trk=mp-reader-card