I was visiting with a friend of mine yesterday and we were discussing officials and offering feedback.  It’s interesting how you can watch and be around some officials and they never ask for feedback on their officiating and others are constantly asking, “Do you have any advice or suggestions?”   Hmmmmm, really?


It has been my experience that officials who are routinely asking for advice, really want praise.  They want to hear how good they are or what they do well.  Their perk up and they take notice.  On the other hand when you offer your observations on where they lack or need to improve, they shut down.  Now when I say shut down, they either look at you blankly and don’t ask follow up questions or they offer, “Ya buts”.  One day I really want to have “that guy” ask me for my thoughts and come right out and say, “You’re terrible.  Do you even remotely know who your key is or what you are looking at?  Your out of position most of the time, you are in too big of a hurry, you look at the ground too much, you have no idea what’s going on around you, and basically, you should quit.”  Then, I would step back and see what Mr. “You-got-any-suggestions-for-me” has to say.


When I’m asked for input by an official, whether I have praise or criticism to give, I always start with, “Do you mean that honestly, because if you do, I will be honest.”  The best way to get feedback from others is to develop a relationship of honesty with the other person so the lines of communication are established and there is a free flow of information.  I would never expect a stranger or someone I barely knew to give me feedback, unless of course that is their “job”.  You need to have relationships with others that “invite” advice rather than “solicit” advice.  If I know you and want you to succeed because we have that mutual relationship, I am more likely to take ownership in your success and assist you in every way that I can.


Once you do get that “advice”.  USE IT!  If it comes from a trusted friend and he is brutally honest, thank him for giving you the tools you need to get better.  But if the brutally honest advice comes from someone you don’t have that relationship with, thank him anyway, for being honest.


Build relationships of trust, honesty, mutual respect, genuineness, and sincerity and you’ll not need to ask, “Got any suggestions for me?”

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