Do I really not see myself at all? : a qualitative study of how leaders in an academic leadership course are affected by the expeience of receiving feedback
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The purpose of this thesis has been to investigate how leaders are affected by the experience of receiving feedback. I wanted to research which core elements arise when leaders with different backgrounds gain access to quality feedback from their colleagues. The methodology adopted for this study is a qualitative approach. I have chosen a case study design, where feedback as a specific phenomenon within the case was researched. The case that was explored was a leadership course over three seminars. The leaders at the course were to complete a 360-degree feedback assessment, by using a tool called the Leadership Circle Profile. They were to receive feedback from different colleagues in addition to rating themselves. For this thesis, the main source of data came from semi-structured interviews. Other sources were observations, videos, personal notes and reflective essays. In addition to this, the personal felt experience of the researcher served as an extra perspective. The overall goal with this approach was to look at the case from various different perspectives, and to discover something within myself in order to grow as an individual and become a better counsellor. I wanted to compare experiences of those who participated in this study, so I participated in several of the course assignments. This approach was inspired by heuristic inquiry as a research method. The result of the analysis decided the choice of theory. The analysis resulted in descriptive, chronological categories that described the experience of feedback before, during and after it was received. The categories were: the anxiousness of anticipation, the experience of receiving feedback and the results of receiving feedback. The data shows that the experience of feedback had clear distinctions between the different phases of receiving feedback. The main themes from these categories were further discussed, and presented as general remarks on feedback to leaders, the gap between how leaders view themselves and how others view them, feedback and emotions, feedback and leadership development and my heuristic perspective of receiving feedback. It is challenging for leaders to view themselves as others view them. This gap between one’s own and others’ perspectives results in emotional reactions like surprise, disappointment, relief and shock. The extent of the reaction can relate to the level of self-awareness, previous experience with feedback or the content of the result. This new awareness is likely to result in adjusted behaviour, which can vary according to motivation, timing and personal goals.
Master's thesis in Counselling