What’s On Our Minds: “Saving Face”

Everyone knows I have been struggling to keep up lately, so it was no surprise when I got the email from my manager about getting some time on the calendar to check in. When the uncomfortable and embarrassing conversation happened, “the general feedback recently from your team is that your work is sliding” – now I have to go face the team knowing what they have said.


We have all been in a place where we wish the floor would open up and swallow us whole rather than face a person, people, or a situation where we feel tremendously embarrassed. A difficult conversation with lackluster feedback can bring this on, but so can a number of other circumstances as well. How do we “save face” when this happens?


Key to bouncing back from these situations is starting with self-reflection and positive self-talk. When we mess up generally speaking, we should take the feedback and reflect on it, and put a plan in place to make positive changes. But we should also be kind and understanding with ourselves too. Envisioning the situation as a learning opportunity can be difficult, but beating ourselves up won’t make it better either. While the tendency to hide seems like a welcome solution—and taking some time—some minutes or maybe a few hours to regroup and get our mindset right maybe a good first step—we shouldn’t waste precious time hunkering down in a place of self-pity. Avoid wallowing. Almost all of us have been here before and talking to a trusted friend may also bring the empathy we might be seeking to move forward.