I said, “Thanks.” And, I wondered why this person felt pride in me, in my accomplishments.
I was proud of my accomplishments. I’d worked hard.
I’m sure my colleague didn’t mean to sound judgmental or parental. I heard judgment and a parental tone.
So I wondered why.
I suspected the Satir Interaction Model has some suggestions for me.
In the image here, the colleague (Person 1) said, “I’m proud of you.” I’m Person 2. I heard the words and made meaning from them. I had feelings about those words. I felt judged. I felt as if I was listening to a parent—not a colleague.
I had plenty of feelings about those feelings!
I managed to say, “Thanks,” because I’m sure my colleague meant well and wanted to express their good feelings with a compliment.
I wonder if there’s another way to express good feelings about someone else, other than using pride.
I’ve used these words:
- You must be so proud of yourself.
- I’m so pleased for you.
- Wow, that was a ton of work—good for you!
I prefer to hear words like this. I hope other people do, too. So far, people seem to have appreciated these words over the “proud of” words.
Why does this matter?
Many organizations insist on performance evaluations at this time of year. I don’t see much value in a once-a-year evaluation. I’m much more a fan of continual feedback. And, when we focus on what people do well, we often get better outcomes.
I’m not saying we should never receive feedback when we do something wrong. No, I want to know when I’ve done something wrong. As fast as possible.
However, my experience with “performance management” is that people wanted me to change my very being. I was supposed to be demure, not aggressive. I was supposed to stop interrupting instead of expressing myself. (I have that extrovert thing: I don’t quite know what my mouth is going to say until it comes out. I know, introverts actually think before speaking. I’m working on that.)
We have several challenging facts:
- Very few of us know about the Satir Interaction Model.
- Very few of us know how to offer and receive feedback.
- Too many managers feel rushed to write down those evaluations. They don’t know how to phrase what might be useful information.
- Too few managers and teams offer continual feedback.
I have suggestions for everyone involved. First, consider eliminating performance evaluations and focus on feedback—especially about someone does well.
And, if you can avoid the “proud” word, that might work better.
Maybe I’m a little prickly. However, I’m an adult. I get to be proud of me. I’m not sure anyone else can.
That’s the question this week: Who can be proud of you?
- When Can You Optimize For Resilience Over Anything Else?
- Where Do You Want Friction in Your Life?