Jay W Lorsch and Thomas J Tierney

Honest feedback is a valuable-albeit often painful-gift. Seeking it out is not a natural act. We all want to protect ourselves, to solicit only those perspectives that reinforce our positive self-image.To hear what we agree with and discard the rest. We rationalize this behavior in a million different ways, from discrediting the source of a disagreeable perspective (“What do they really know?”) to “accidentally” forgetting the feedback a few days later. That is why it takes conscious effort to see ourselves as others truly see us, rather than as we’d like to think they do.

Ironically, it is often much easier to get clarity professionally than personally. Outstanding firms find ways to make constructive feedback an ongoing part of their professionals’ lives. But performance reviews about your personal life are anything but routine and a lot tougher to facilitate.

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