SEARCHING FOR A BETTER YOU: ANASTASIIA LAZEBNIK ON HOW FEEDBACK WAS HELPFUL HER
Everyone talks about how feedback can improve your work and help your company. But its benefits are not limited to that. Feedback is a powerful tool for personal growth, self-improvement, and experience sharing among colleagues. Recycling Solutions is full of outstanding people, and it would be a shame not to learn from them. Anastasiia Lazebnik, procurement manager at Recycling Solutions, explains how to do it.
When feedback culture was first introduced in our company, I was sceptical about it. I changed this opinion of mine owing to our CEO Dmytro Anufriev, who kept emphasizing how crucial it was to request and provide feedback. I thought that I should get input from others before providing mine. Therefore, I asked myself: ‘Why do I need it?’
At the moment, I felt a little confused and lost the sense of progress in what I do and where I go. You know how it is when lots of things need development, and you end up rushing around. And then you’re spread too thin and don’t know what to focus on.
That very moment I felt I needed to get feedback to see what I really needed to work on. I wanted input about me as a person to improve and grow further.
First, I created a list of people I wanted to solicit opinions from. I picked the people that excelled in the departments where I lacked. Each of the people I invited to provide feedback was much more competent in some regards than I. I wanted to learn from them.
I asked for an in-person feedback session or on Skype if they had no time to meet IRL. It was important for me to see the person, their emotions, and their eyes, and hear them talk, too. After all, the text is something you can spend a lot of time preparing, and written feedback is not as valuable as personal interaction.
It was terrifying at first. I thought: ‘Oh God, they will start dashing it out now. I need to be strong’. I did all I could not to get worked up and become aggressive. I kept reminding myself why I needed it. I needed to react calmly, to listen and accept it and decide what to do with it later.
Being scared and worried is OK. If you know why you need it, you find a way to get over it. I saw it as a challenge. I love doing things that seem scary. If you are like me, you will thoroughly enjoy it.
The meetings themselves brought lots of positive emotions. I am so grateful to everyone who found time to provide feedback to me. All negative emotions just went away. Of course, there was some criticism, but it was very constructive. I learned a lot and came up with a self-improvement plan.
Many of the comments were related to work. Now I’m trying to look at these misunderstandings and rough spots in the context of my department’s operation. I heard that many have little understanding of how procurement works, so we committed to creating explanation diagrams and videos. We have turned our attention to the documentation chaos in the department and are currently integrating purchases in our electronic document exchange system.
Now I’m trying to integrate occasional feedback sessions into my everyday life, too. Earlier it didn’t seem that important. Why even bother providing feedback on some person’s actions? Why would they care what I think? Now I understand that it’s crucial. It’s important to me to communicate the thoughts and emotions that other people’s actions evoke. Similarly, it’s important for them to get your input as a potential push for improvement.
Generally, I prefer if feedback is solicited. First, you need to understand why you ask for it and what you will do with this information. Second, you need to be ready to hear other people’s thoughts. And they will not necessarily be what you expect. Sometimes, it’s unexpected praise, and others—criticism. During such personal interactions, I discovered new things about myself and the people I talked with.
I received input from five colleagues, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that!
I’m also grateful to those who didn’t provide theirs. No feedback is feedback, too, in some sense—no need to force it.
What makes it special is that it provided answers to a whole lot of questions: from the fundamental ones, like what value I bring to those around me, and to more mundane regarding how we operate as a company.
Providing feedback, people usually include a part of their perception of what goes on. And there are three types of perception: how I see myself, how others see me, and who I am really. It seems to me that the third one is the projection of the first two. This is where feedback shines—it highlights things so that you can see them clearly.
Look at feedback as a free-of-charge audit of your personality before you put a price on it 🙂