In the final analysis, it is performance that counts. When the tsunami comes ashore, what counts is how high and strong your sea wall is or how far inland you can escape. The hurricane does not care about your feelings and quite frankly neither does the financial crisis.
Your Customers don’t care about your feelings either. This may come as a shock to anyone brought up receiving accolades for merely showing up and participating, but the real world rarely grades on a curve. Your Customers have paid for a product and a service, and they expect to receive it as promised, regardless of what kind of day you are having or what went wrong. Oh, your Customers may be very nice, civilized people and they may feel for you on a human level and may even cut you a break or two. But most, if not all, will in short order be taking their business down the street to someone who does deliver as promised, day in and day out, good days and bad.
So while your boss may care about you as a human being, he or she does not have the luxury of sparing your feelings when coaching you, when giving you feedback, when (horrors!) actually criticizing your performance. Reasonably respectfully, yes. But tap dance around your feelings and ego, no.
“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.” — Peter Drucker, quality expert
“It is always easier to a job right then to explain why you didn’t.” — Martin Van Buren, U.S. President, 1837-1841
“One of the rarest things a man ever does is to do the best he can.” — Josh Billings
“I will accept nothing less than the best that is in people.” — Lou Holtz