When did it become acceptable to embrace the characteristics that others have identified as detrimental to our mutual professional success?
I suspect many of the people who trot out their fatal flaws are attempting to create a defense shield to protect themselves from further criticism:
"You will not speak of my fatal flaws because I have mentioned them first and am therefore immune to your potential condemnation."
It’s a classic offense-as-defense strategy. That approach may work for a while but eventually it prompts some pointed questions:
"If you know you talk too much, why do you continue to take up all the air time?"
"If you know you are considered dismissive, why do you believe it is in your best interest to denounce the perspectives of anyone who thinks differently than you do?"
"If you know you overpromise and underdeliver, what makes you think people will continue to take you seriously?"
"Why do you assume steamrolling over others is a sustainable strategy?"
It is good to be self-aware. But demonstrating self-awareness, while at the same time showing a lack of discipline to fix issues of concern, is worse than being clueless about our shortcomings. When people close to us offer consistent and considerable feedback about a behavior that is not serving us well, we need to listen up. Dismissing feedback that does not comport with the way we see ourselves is understandable, but it is not strategic.
The most effective people I know sometimes whimper for a bit after receiving constructive criticism, but they quickly put a plan in place to modify the annoying or offending behaviors. By doing so, they demonstrate respect and appreciation for those brave enough to share difficult truths that are offered with the very best intentions. We need our colleagues to help us be better, but they can’t help if we’re not listening.
Allison Vaillancourt writing in the Chronicle of Higher Ed