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Digital Subscriptions > Psychologies > No. 155 > “But you said…”

“But you said…”

After yet another argument, Rachel Garnett realised that what she heard was often not what was intended. She was ‘agenda listening’, and many of us do it, but there is a way to stop


The instant I saw my friend Chloe, * I knew that her first personal development review (PDR) in her new job, hadn’t gone well. ‘My boss confirmed what I already knew’, she said gloomily, ‘I can’t do this job, and I should never have thought that I could.’ Chloe went on to describe the PDR as a list of her failings, and said that she was going to look for another job. I sympathised with her over a beer but, at the same time, I was really surprised. Chloe’s career had been one promotion after another. So I asked to see the feedback report – and a completely different picture emerged.

It included positive comments from Chloe’s colleagues about her managerial style, her boss adding that Chloe had made some excellent recruitment choices. The report ended by saying Chloe’s creative ideas were being successfully implemented. There were a few suggestions for change but, to me, the feedback seemed good, and her boss supportive. But Chloe appeared to be unable to take any of the positives, or give herself credit for what she had achieved.

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