PART 3: My personal growth, and how I took feedback in.


This article is part of my learning journal. If you are interested to read them all, jump to my main index page "What I have learnt about product management, agile, and personal development at a big bank".

Over the years I have learnt many things along my career path. Most importantly, I learnt to use my own judgement to absorb the feedback instead of taking all in, and make sure I take care of myself.

I was fortunate enough to have a few really good direct managers, coaches and mentors in different roles that helped me to grow. And I also learnt from them what kind of leader I want to become.

If I look back, one of the key feedback I have been given at different stages was about communication.

Coming from a background that English is my second language (you probably already figured out from my writing), I felt offensive at times depends on how this feedback is given. And I found that when the feedback was given to me with specific examples, rather than general "you can improve your communication skills" made a real difference to me.

I remember one of the best managers I had in my career life, was pretty direct and upset when I presented a work in progress deck to him. I figured I wanted to include him along the way and take on his suggestions in, and the deck was definitely not polished. I remember vividly that he said to me don't present a half baked cake. Because the feedback was given in time, with specific example, I wasn't upset or offended at that time or even after, because I had a good working dynamic with him and I know he meant well and he prefers me to work more independently and has higher expectation on me.

The other time, when another manager gave me a low rating for the year and commented I could work on communication skills really gave me a shock. I guess communication is 2 way conversation, and I never really figured out what exactly that comment entails. It took me a long time to ponder upon this and think about what I can do with it. When I took it the way that people are criticising my language skills, I had self-doubt, low confidence and questioning myself whether I was fit for the job. I was desperate to get out of there and felt very anxious often. I never regret I got myself out of that state by moving to a different role, but I learnt I should never let that negative energy takes in charge of me, regardless what that comment really means.