During my corporate decades, I always hated performance reviews. Even the best ones never felt good enough, and sometimes they held unpleasant and unfair surprises. Like the time I was told that the average of a 5 for business results and a 3 for people management was a 3. Ouch!
Reviews just plain felt demotivating. Even though I knew the reviewer had worked hard to bring me value, had my interests at heart, and was eager for my appreciation. That may have been one reason why I had the reputation, from early in my career, of being untrainable.
And I was. I had no interest in what others thought. I considered myself my own most objective and harshest critic. I was always learning and improving; I just wasn’t wired to learn from mentors. I learned early in life that I learned by finding my own way. My subordinates learned that I assumed they were the same, but they weren’t. So I passed years as a terrible trainer, a terrible coach.
Then I left corporateland. I became my own boss. And a funny thing happened. I found myself seeking advice. I cultivated mentors. I asked to be taught. I even became a very good mentor and coach, or at least that’s what clients and mentors tell me.
When others controlled my career, I was determined to do things my own way. When I control my own career, I am eager to engage and learn from others.
I don’t know how widespread this paradox is, but I know I am not alone here. I proclaim this: If you feel alone while part of an organization, you may find community by leaving it.