He had come up to me during drinks after a THNK evening session, on one of those nights where there seem to be no barriers to the topic of conservation. He was younger than the other participants, certainly a few years under the average age of 38. His question, “Do you think a person can get too much feedback?” stopped me in my tracks. It was also quite touching, especially given the earnestness with which it had been asked.
Small group work dominates at THNK, and group-members are asked to give each other feedback regularly. This is a multi-edged sword: it can enhance observational and communication skills, help people gain insights into the effect of their behavioral choices on others, and help them become aware of unconscious behavior. However, even a multi-edged sword is a sword. Its blade can cut into things. And what this young man shared was that it had cut into his confidence as a leader. What was he to do? Should he stop listening to feedback?