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Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up". Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre

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The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

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New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

December 14, 2005

Handling criticism - some do it well...and some...

Confessions of a Community College Dean has a post that really struck me. After years as a manager I understand how some people can attack improvement after receiving criticism and how some can attack the critic. It makes me wonder if these categories map one-to-one on the teacher/student relationship. As usual the extremes are more obvious and I can certainly picture a student, from a previous teaching assignment, who carried the last category to the extreme - they often said and wrote in reflective work that all their shortcomings were really my shortcomings and if I would just leave them alone (no feedback and no review) than they would have been the best student in the class. If there ever was a collaborative activity in this world it's teaching/learning but do collaborate both parties have to be willing, if one is not than the collaboration is doomed to fail.

I do wonder if the Dean is correct though, is the last category really the most common? I sure hope not because that is massively basically means there is no room for improvement. While on a quick read one could argue that the previous statement should be "no room for improvement without trust," I think that the trust issues are actually present in the second statement...they receive the criticism, evaluate it, and decide to ignore it because they trust the critic but simply don't agree with them. Of course this isn't always what we want to happen but it is at least healthy for the receiver and it shows a healthy, or healthyish, relationship. Even in the third category there is trust that no one is following them as "they move on."

No that last category are the people I would be forced to explain to General Mangers, back when I was a Human Resources Manager, as the folks who aren't happy until they hit the plant door, no those folks are never happy. They are also never reflexive because they themselves are perfect and always right. *sigh* Wouldn't it be nice to always be right? Written by a woman who usually falls into the first two categories, though who also has no doubt that instances of the third and even the fourth have been exhibited as well over time.

As a manager, this is physically painful to read. When people have shortcomings of which they're aware, it's possible to train them. When they have shortcomings of which they're unaware, several possibilities exist:

  • they never thought of it, they're glad to have it pointed out, they'll get right on it
  • they never thought of it, they don't consider it important, please go away now
  • they deny it and move on
  • they indignantly deny it, dig in their heels, and question your motives

You'll notice that three of these four possibilities are negative.

The last response, which is the most common, is also the most frustrating. It casts the manager as the villain and the underperforming employee as the victim in a bizarre psychodrama.

Posted by prolurkr at December 14, 2005 07:56 AM

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