Feedback: giving gracefully and receiving gratefully

A young girl sitting in the middle of woods, with her face covered by her hair

Written by Murugaraj

July 23, 2019

She was somewhere in the middle of the thick woods. Alone. Directionless.

Not sure about where to head, she panicked and started walking in a direction, following her gut instincts.

After walking for a while, she was not sure whether she was in the right direction. Her pace increased. So did her heartbeat. She started running madly. Finally, she came to a halt.

All she needed was someone to tell her how to get out.

Then came that Someone and gave her the lessons to get out. And she was finally out in the open.


Being at the receiving end of feedback is a similar scenario. Some get upset and panic. And they try to point fingers at every other possibility, many a time unable to come to terms with the fact that they are clueless about the feedback. But unlike the young lady in the jungle who was desperate for someone to guide her, they want nobody to come to them. Fearing the backlash, they desist from seeking help.

Think of that young lady when that Someone came to her. Did she yell at him? Did she hide the fact that she was lost, and pretend to be alright?

No, she was fully receptive. She was unconditionally open to receiving his guidance. Because she knew that he was there to guide her in the right direction.

Then, why in our workplace we do not look for a mentor?

This is because in most of the instances, we only get bosses, not mentors – bosses who will yell and make us feel we are lesser mortals.

Contrast him with that Someone who came to the rescue. He might gently chide the girl for being careless or unprepared. But he would never frighten her. He would graciously offer wisdom – wisdom that will help her learn.

Feedback in the workplace is an essential component. It should not be understood – rather used – as a tool to punish. The openness of a disciple and the grace of a guru will make this process an excellent experience.

What is your experience? Have you been a disciple or have you tried to cover the problem? Were you a guru and how did it feel like? Share your thoughts, so many will learn.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn and is cross-published here.

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  1. Cora Bhatia

    Very well written…you have made it so interesting with your narrative.

  2. Cora Bhatia

    Interesting narrative… enjoyed every word of it.

  3. Dagny

    You drew me into the post with you vivid analogy. What a wonderful way to make a point! I learned from you today. Thank you!


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