Robert Burns and Careers?

Benedict the piper


At a recent Burns night supper (famous Scottish poet, annual excuse to eat haggis), one of the participants read from his poem ‘Ode to a Louse’ which has the famous line:

‘Oh would the gift the giftie gie’us, to see ourselves as others see us’ which loosely translated reads as:

‘feedback from others is a gift’

It made me think of all the ways we share feedback and about how helpful feedback delivered constructively can have a really positive impact.

Often, feedback is seen as ‘constructive’ which is often another word for ‘destructive’, or ‘I am going to show you how clever I am at spotting your faults’.

In the world of Careers, a rather kinder approach is often to use feedback to focus on the strengths demonstrated, and then review with the other person how to build on those strengths rather than starting by spotting all the perceived weaknesses.

And as for the louse Robert burns saw in a lady’s bonnet? Did he tell her? Find out here:

And if you want to know more about working with effective feedback, here’s a great place to start:

Philippa Hewett.




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