TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
>Expecting any given person "should be able" to objectively evaluate their
>personal style and its effect on other people is unrealistic. Some people
>are blessed with personal insight, but many perhaps most are not. In either
>case no matter how objective someone thinks they are I'll wager their
>objectivity has one or more significant blind spots. In my experience, most
>folks who claim such insight and self-knowledge are simply tired of hearing
>the feedback on things about themselves which they don't want to change.
I'll grant you that "should be able" is a tall order. I think it's a worthwhile goal, though. Granted an "editor" (in the context of the original discussion) who is a young and inexperienced entry-level copyeditor may not have matured to the point of personal insight yet. Such a person is liable to make tactical mistakes in interactions with writers. But we humans tend to forgive young people their mistakes, right?
On the other hand, at some point we're all s'pozed to grow up. Granted that many people don't, nonetheless I don't think we should abandon the supposition. It took me decades of hard work to get to the point where I think I know myself pretty well. I was not blessed with any particular ability in this regard. I hope that self-knowledge will continure to grow as I get older. As for objectivity, though, there is nothing objective about such insight. Introspection is by definition subjective. However there is an objective aspect to observing the effects on other individuals of one's own actions. Is this perfect objectivity? No, of course not.
Regarding your last comment, I'm not sure I get your point. To take my own example, I know I'm a curmudgeon and lots of people find me abrasive and obnoxious. That's a personal insight. I have neither the skills nor the desire to change those aspects of my personality. That's another personal insight. Yes, I'm tired of hearing the feedback, and no, I don't care that some people don't like me. What's your point? That people who go through life totally oblivious to the way other people perceive them are nicer? I don't know that this is necessarily the case.