Therese Huston | Make Effective Feedback Your Superpower & the Key Trait of Magnetic Leaders

In today’s episode, we cover effective feedback with Therese Huston. Therese founded the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Seattle University, has given more than 225 keynotes, talks, and workshops, and is the author of Let’s Talk: Make Effective Feedback Your Superpower.

Giving great feedback is not easy and poorly worded feedback can put anyone on the defensive, so what does effective feedback look like, what can you do to practice giving great feedback, and why is it important to get better at giving feedback?

What to Listen For

  • Therese Huston’s Beginning – 0:00
  • What sparked Therese’s interest in researching the topic of effective feedback?
  • The 3 Different Types of Feedback – 1:49
  • What are the 3 different types of feedback and how do you put all 3 together to give the best feedback?
  • How do you give genuine appreciation and use it to transition into coaching feedback?
  • What is coaching and how is it different from pointing out what someone is doing wrong?
  • What does it mean to separate the person from the problem when giving feedback and why is it important if you don’t want the person to get defensive? 
  • Why does the feedback sandwich receive so much criticism and what is the correct way to use the technique?
  • Cultivating a Growth Mindset Receptive to Feedback – 17:48
  • What can you do to cultivate a growth mindset in your managers so they can work with their employees rather than against them?
  • Why do you need to state your intentions as a manager when giving feedback? 
  • What is the difference between a “me strength” and a “we strength” and why can a deficiency in one lead to a team’s failure?
  • How to be a Better Leader and Team Member – 31:55
  • What are the different types of listening and why is it crucial to use one instead of the other? 
  • What is critical listening and why can critical listening in the wrong situation lead to a breakdown in communication?
  • What can you do as a manager to ask better questions and thus get better results?
  • What can you do to bring out the potential in younger employees?
  • How do you move past unconscious bias in the workplace?
  • What challenges does working remotely introduce into the process of giving effective feedback and what can you do to overcome them?

Giving feedback can feel like a delicate balance between being too harsh and being too nice. On one hand, if we’re afraid to hurt their feelings, we might sugarcoat the issues and fail to impress upon them just how important it is that they improve. On the other hand, we want to be clear with people about what we want them to work on and why it’s important they improve, but it can be easy to overwhelm them with what they’re doing wrong and turn them against us. 

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Resources from this Episode

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Speaker 2: We'd love to work with you in that captivating connect workshop. Now. Welcome back. Thank you everyone for tuning. Let's kick off today's show today. We have Dr. Teresa Houston with us. Dr. Houston is a feedback expert and the founding director of the center for excellence in teaching and learning at Seattle university. Her new book, let's talk, make effective feedback. Your superpower combines practical and action-based advice. We'll be talking about the tools and confidence you need to deliver skillful and critical feedback. That feels natural as well as how to receive feedback from others. Welcome to the show Dr. Houston, what really peaked your interest in researching giving effective feedback.

Speaker 1: Back when I was getting my PhD, I found that I was someone who cared a lot more about feedback then than some of my colleagues, when I would grade papers, I would grade with a fine green tipped pen. And some of my colleagues and friends would grade with a big fat red marker. And when I asked one of my friends, like why, why do you grade with a fat marker? You can't give any feedback. And they said, that's the point? And it was interesting because, you know, I created with a fine green pen because I wanted to be friendly. Plus I wanted to give lots of comments. You know, I think there's an analog in, in work. If you're one of those employees who has a manager who has the red fat tip marker approach to feedback, you know, it, you know, and you're like, please I would really appreciate a fine green tip pen at some point.

Speaker 1: So part of it's, I've always been curious about feedback. And then the other part is that for one of my biggest investments in my career has been in giving feedback for about 19 years now, before I began working with people in business and, and helping people get better at feedback, my job was to work with professors to make good professors, your favorite professors. I was basically a teaching coach and I worked with lawyers. I worked with engineers. I worked with nurses. I even once worked with a Broadway choreographer and I was helping them figure out how do you give feedback to your dancers, to your students, to new attorneys? And it made me realize that all of us, well, at least 90% of us have to give feedback as part of our jobs, but 99% of us haven't been trained in how to give feedback. And I want to change that. I want to help people know how to give feedback

Speaker 3: Surprised me was that you distilled feedback down into three specific components or forms of feedback, which was just wonderful, because if you view it through that lens, feedback becomes something more that you would want to seek out because it helps in every way. So why don't you go ahead and set that up for us so we can have that chat.

Speaker 1: Oh, sure. Well, and, and I don't know about you, Johnny, but I'm used to hearing about feedback is just either positive or negative, or if your managers being really politically correct, they might talk about constructive feedback and avoid the word negative feedback. Right. You know, that's the way most of us talk about feedback. That's not that helpful to employees, right? Because employees know if what they're hearing is positive or negative. So what I find a much better distinction, and this comes from Douglas Stone and Sheila keen from the book. Thanks for the feedback. This distinction between three kinds of feedback, not two but three. So coaching, evaluation and appreciation appreciation would be what most of us would call positive feedback. Okay. So appreciation is what you're doing well. So that might be Johnny. I love how you make every guest feel like I'm a friend, right?

Speaker 1: I feel like we've known each other forever. Right. And that makes listeners want to pay attention because they're like, if she's his friend, then, then I want to learn about her. Right? So that's an impact that you have. So that would be appreciation. Coaching is advice, right? So coaching would be what you can do to improve. That might be, you might say to Emily, Emily, I noticed you're kind of quiet in our zoom meetings. What could I do to help you speak more? That would be, you know, and you're, you're trying to solicit what is Emily need and how can I help her? And then the last, the third one, there is evaluation and evaluation is where you stand. So evaluation might be, you have to tell Alex like Alex, the past few months, your output has been half of what it should be. Or at least half of the other people on the team what's going on for you? What obstacles are you running into? And so appreciation, coaching and evaluation and people need all three kinds of advice. We all get better. If we have all three kinds of advice or all three kinds of feedback.

Speaker 3: Well, soon as I read that in the book, I was so surprised because there's nothing there that you would want to avoid. So for looking at evaluation and you met your that's, where you stand, okay, that's comparatively with some other numbers. Here's where I'm at. And here's where I have been and where I need to go. So how do I get there? Well, that's where this coaching is going to come involved because now we're not slamming you on what you're doing bad. We're going to coach you to get to where you want to go. And with that, I'm going to fill you up with good vibes. Cause I'm going to show you how well you've already been doing and why you're going to be able to take this coaching and get there through showing you this appreciation for everything that you're good at, who doesn't want that at all times.

Speaker 1: Exactly. And like, you're, you're probably constantly looking at like, how are our ratings for our podcast, right? You're, you're evaluating, you're evaluating yourself all the time. But if someone can bring you new information, right. If your producer or someone else can bring you a new insight, like, you know, you got more listeners for this show because you did blank like that appreciation. And that coaching is so helpful right now. You know what to do more of. So yeah, exactly. I completely agree with you. You want all three kinds

Speaker 2: When it comes to feedback, we've heard a lot of handed down advice, the compliment sandwich and some tactics that we've all heard before. And even it makes us cringe when we think about it, but there is some science to back this up and I would love for you to at least unpack the science behind giving effective feedback. And then we can delve even deeper into some of the concepts that we cover in the book, especially the idea of separating the person from the problem. Because I know that's something that I've struggled with as well.

Speaker 1: Oh, that's nice of you to say, so Amy, let's talk a little bit about the feedback sandwich. You know, if we've got some managers who are listening in, they're probably thinking, Oh yeah, right. Feedback sandwich. That's terrible. That's the old, that's the old bus we're on the new, around the new and improved. That was the old way of doing things back in the eighties and the nineties, you know? And there's new data showing that the feedback sandwich isn't so bad. So what is for those of you who are wondering what's the feedback sandwich sometimes called the sandwich for somebody

Speaker 2: [inaudible],

Speaker 1: That's how bad it's denigrated. All right. So the feedback sandwiches, this notion that, um, you start with something positive or a compliment, and then you move to your concern and then you end with something positive. So you sandwich in the middle, your concerns, the problem, right? And for a while, you know, the way that people have done this has been kind of crummy because you say something irrelevant for the positive. You say something like, Oh, it's such a nice day there in Riverside or in LA. And then you, you know, I love your background and that the concern is really, really focused and specific, right? And then you get back to some generic, positive, like, you know, you did such a good job this week and you're just like, that's that doesn't help me at all. There's a researcher at Harvard business school. Um, Leslie John, she's a management professor, you know, I'm glad you guys asked about this.

Speaker 1: This isn't even published yet. So, you know, everybody who's listening is finding out even before the research has been published. What she's finding is that, um, they manipulated in a research study. What came first? Do you get praised first? Do you get the concern first? What if you get the concern without any praise? What happens? And what they found is that when you praise people first, when you give them the positive first, but it's gotta be specific, right? It can't just be the generic. Like I love your hair or whatever. Right. It's gotta be really specific. But if he gives them something specific, first that's positive. And then you moved here, concern, people pay more attention to that concern than if you give the concern first without any positive praise. First, she finds that what you say last actually doesn't matter. So, so the, the last piece of bread or the last piece of praise doesn't matter.

Speaker 1: But what does matter is if you start with praise, people will pay more attention. And it makes sense, right? Because if people say something specific and meaningful about what they like about your work, you're like, Oh, this person sees me, right. This person actually appreciates what I do. And they appreciate my effort here. And so now it's worth paying attention to what they have to say, that there is their concern. So even though the feedback sandwich gets a lot of eye-rolling, there's going to be research coming out any day. Now showing it's actually at least starting with praise before you give your concern is a good way to go.

Speaker 2: So it's the open face sandwich,

Speaker 1: Right? We're talking about an open face roast beef sandwich here,

Speaker 2: But I love that, that point about being specific on both sides, because that is what we don't see often from managers and giving feedback is it's, it's so generic, the positive, and it's like, you're just grasping at straws. And then it's very specific in the negative. And of course, it's tough to deal with that because you don't feel like that person has your back, has your best interest in mind. And you talk about the separating, the problem from the person. And there's really three ways to look at that. And I'd love to unpack it for the audience because, and in the book, there's a great visual, but I just now realize in managing over the last 10 years, you know, where I've had my missteps in this. And oftentimes as managers, we too closely ascribe the problem to the person and we don't actually give them an opportunity to grow.

Speaker 1: Yes. Oh, you just captured a beautifully AIJ. So like you said, there's a visual in the book button, but people have active imagination. So we'll, I'll just describe this. So imagine whenever there's a problem, you kind of really got three entities. You've got you, the manager or the feedback person. Who's giving feedback, you've got the problem and you've got the listener, right? So imagine the problem at the very top. And then we've got the you, and then you've got the other person. So the problem you, the other person and the mistakes. So many of us make when we're giving feedback is that we, we get really close up to the problem. So imagine now you got you, I'm going to give you feedback and I'm right up here next to the problem. The person who's listening to the feedback is way off by themselves, right?

Speaker 1: They're, they're, they're kind of lonely. They're at the bottom and, and this is problem. And this, this will happen all too easily. If you've given a lot of thought, I need to give this feedback. I don't want to give this feedback, but I need to tell the person there's a problem. It's been bothering me for weeks. You've gotten really close to the problem up there. You were like nuzzled up next to that problem. Whereas the employee has no idea any of this is going on. So by the time you bring up the issue that you've got it, you've got a long list of like, you did it this in seven different meetings, you know, you can ID, you can identify, you can itemize. And the other person's feeling completely overwhelmed. They feel like they're on their own. And, and this, this is what I call siding with the problem you get, what you, the feedback giver or the manager are really close to the problem.

Speaker 1: And the person who's listening feels really isolated and on their own. And this is going to make them really defensive, as you can imagine, right? Because you feel like you're kind of ganged up upon the main time I see this happening is when people are reluctant to give the feedback. They've given a lot of thought to it and they spent more time with the problem than with the person. The other time that sometimes happens is when people have super high standards, if you, as a manager or someone who's, who's really strict about, here are the standards that we have in this organization. I'm not saying high standards are bad, but you've kind of married yourself to the standard. And you're not thinking about the employee as much, a much better way to go is to align yourself with the employee. And that means an album now picture, instead of being up next to the problem, you're down close to the employee and the two of you can look at the problem together, right?

Speaker 1: You're on the same side. You're not on different sides, you're on the same. And you're both looking at the problem together. And, and you know that you're doing this. If you can say things like, so I've noticed that that X happened, or I noticed that that last deadline passed. And I didn't see that you got your work in. I'm concerned about that. Now you're over here with the person, like what happened, help me, help me understand what happened when, when that deadline passed and, and you didn't get your work in until later that afternoon, right? You're, you're siding with the person, not with the problem that leads to a couple of implications. One bring up problems right away. Don't sit on them for seven weeks, right? Because you are going to find yourself nuzzled up next to that problem. Um, another thing is, is say things like I've noticed that blank happened. Don't just start with like you ADJ blank instead. Like I've noticed blank. I've noticed this about you. I've noticed this happened AGI. Can you explain that to me? So asking questions, right? It suggests I'm over here with you with the problem. Um, I'm over here with you, the person I'm not up here with the problem. Does that make sense? I know it's hard to picture in just describing it, but it did. I did. Do you think that that was clear agent? Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I think so. And I think realizing this we're really being their ally. We're not attaching this problem to their identity. We're not saying this person is a little bit like this or a little bit like that. We're actually acknowledging that, Hey, this can be improved. This can be fixed. And I'm here to help you brainstorm, fixing it. I'm here to help support you in the fixing it not blaming and not shaming. And I know I've fallen into that exact pattern where I'm very conflict averse. So I sit with the problem. I sit with the problem, I think about it. And then immediately in my mind, I'm like, well, I want concrete examples because I'm anticipating they're going to get defensive and they're going to push back. So they're going to want data and evidence. And all of a sudden I'm sitting there so frustrated and the other person it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The person hearing this feedback is now definitely going to be defensive and frustrated and not actually work to solve the problem, which as a manager is the end goal here. Our goal as managers is not to just fire people. Our goal as managers is to solve these problems and keep things moving forward and growing

Speaker 3: Now finding ourselves at a place where no one wants to deal with conflict or having to deliver bad news. And we've been talking about this idea of the PIP, the personal improvement program. And if you find yourself in one, you're not being coached up, you're usually being coached out the door and with having strategies to give concrete feedback that people get excited about rather than cringing over, well, then it gives them an opportunity to learn Excel. And then of course, if they're going to Excel and feel good, they're going to feel good about what they're doing their place in the company, the work that they're doing, their communication within that environment. And you're going to see them take on the role of trying to help others in the office. But if, if you see an issue, you refuse to talk about it and you send them the, this is the third PIP I been in in two years. I know what comes next. What comes out of that is low. Self-esteem beating yourself up. How are you supposed to feel good about putting yourself back out in the job market when that problem that you have run into for maybe the third time, could it have been handled in the first place? And you would have been able to find the so much worth for yourself and the value that you bring in into that environment.

Speaker 1: I'm so glad you bring up the PIP because there's, it's, it's really, you know, when I've talked with people who are in that circumstance, two things become clear to me. First of all, often those people are surprised, right? That at least with the first one, they're like, wait a second. I thought I was doing fine. Where's this coming from? Right. So that's really stressful. Research shows that about 24, somewhere between 24 to 26% of the time, people are surprised by the feedback that they get. So on the, on the good, on the, on the good side of that 75% of the time, roughly people aren't surprised, you know, they know that their work was sub-par, but when it's that one out of four times, when it's a surprise and you thought you were knocking it out of the park and you find out you weren't, Oh, you were crushed.

Speaker 1: Right? And you're like, why did, why did you let me go on so long? Right. So, so that can be really stressful for people because it really reduces your trust in the organization. What else aren't people telling me? I mean, there's so much that goes with that. Right? The other thing that I find really fascinating, there's research again, out of Harvard, by sharer and swab or the is the research team. What they found is that managers tend to sugar coat feedback. They don't realize they're doing it. What they find is the worst, the news, meaning that the lower the employees, the performance that they were doing, the more managers sugarcoated. Right? So, so this is really frustrating because if anything, if you're underperforming, you want your manager to play it straight with you, right. You really need clarity. Exactly. And to find out that, and you can, you, if you know, any manager who's who's tuning in right now is like, Oh, you know, that's easy to say teres, but it's really hard to do, right. Somebody is underperforming. I want to soften the blow, but that's so unfair to the employee because, you know, you're, you're, you're monitoring that. You're keeping track of the fact that they're underperforming and you're probably like making little ticks in your mind, like, Nope, again. And it happened again. And it happened again. And it's going to just lead up to the PIP that we're talking about. So we, we need, it's hard, but we need to stop sugarcoating our feedback.

Speaker 4: A big part of this as well is recognizing the growth mindset and creating an environment that supports a growth mindset. And I would love if you could speak for a minute about that, especially when you feel that you have a team that, that might have a fixed mindset and might not feel that they can grow in these areas. Obviously appreciation goes a long way and feedback gets us there. But as managers, we need to recognize that every single person in the organization can grow and it's our job to be that fertilizer help them grow.

Speaker 1: Yeah. I'm a big fan of, uh, of the growth mindset. Have you guys talked about that on your show before Caroline does work quite a bit. Okay, great. You're on board. Um, yeah, so the growth mindset is really fascinating. Um, if you're, if you're a manager or a feedback giver, there's, there's fascinating research out of university of Texas. I love research. So I'll keep referring to it. You love it too. Okay. Great. There's fat. There's fascinating research out of university of Texas showing at Austin, um, showing that when managers take a growth mindset towards their employees, um, their employees, they might not call it a growth mindset, but the employees will feel that their managers have hoped for them. Right. So right. If your manager believes that you can change and improve, you'll feel it in their feedback, right. There's nothing specific, you know, you do.

Speaker 1: You're just like, Oh, you believe that I can change and grow and improve. Right? And so you have hope like I'm willing to listen to you. And so what they find is first of all, managers communicate if they have a growth mindset and they're more likely the big, big statistic there is that they're much more likely to give feedback if they have a growth mindset, because it's worth their time. Right? If you believe someone will change, you'll actually give the feedback. So first of all, managers that take a growth mindset are more likely to give feedback and employees. When they have a manager who has a growth mindset, they're more interested in their manager's feedback. So if there's one change, you're going to make, try to adopt a growth mindset because you're going to help yourself and you're going to help your employees. It's it's, it's a win-win for everybody. There was somebody

Speaker 4: Named that you had brought up Carol who?

Speaker 1: Carol Dweck. Dweck. Yeah. Yeah. She she's the one who, um, uh, has popularized this notion of a growth mindset and she's out of Stanford and she has, you know, she, her work is primarily in education, but a lot of people have applied her work to the workplace. She's great.

Speaker 4: Yeah. Well, one of the things that really stood out for me and I've realized is, is one of my faults over in management is, is not just clearly stating my intentions. So I feel that I'm a great person. I feel that I'm being a supportive manager and I really want the best in my team, but I don't often articulate that. And you talk about it in the book, how important it is to state those intentions as a manager of what you would like to see for your team members and being clear about it. Not assuming that they already know, even if you feel like, well, I've created an environment that this should be obvious. Of course my intention is for them to grow and feel good. So how can we clearly state those intentions to be more effective managers?

Speaker 1: I'm glad you bring up this point, AIG, this is one of the things it's so often for us to skip, because as you say, it feels obvious that we want good things for our team members, right? We want good things. We, we put a lot of time into helping people. We put a lot of time into looking over their work. However, research shows that people, employees tend to assume bad intentions on their managers, not good intentions, but they people assume a lot more bad intentions than good intentions. And S and some of the bad intentions that they assume are things like, you know, you just want it to make me look bad. You wanted to make yourself look good. Right? You can't stand that, that I know more than you do, right? I mean, there are like so many, so many of these attributions that people make, and what's really fascinating is that people don't tend to make positive attributions.

Speaker 1: They don't tend to tell a positive story like, Oh, my manager wants good things for me. Don't people don't tend to tell themselves that story. They only tell him to tell themselves the negative stories. So you, the manager need to insert those positive stories. You need to be saying things like, I want people to see you as the expert that you are, you guys have done 800 over 800 podcasts. You know what you're doing? Right. I want, I want people. I want people to see how brilliant you are. So you, if you state your positive intentions, then people now can tell themselves a different story. They won't fill in the blank for your intentions and make them negative. So this is just, um, if I've got to admit, it feels artificial. When I do it in feedback conversations, it, it doesn't come naturally. It feels like I'm doing a little script, right?

Speaker 1: But things that I'll say would be things like I want good things for you. I know you're working really hard, and I want other people to see how hard you're working. I want your hard work to pay off. These are just really simple things that you can say before you give the bad news and what Leslie, John and others have found is it softens the bad news. People are more receptive. They like you more as a manager. If you say your good intentions out loud. So again, it might feel artificial. You might have to do some searching, right? You might have to like, be like, what is my good intention here, but it's really worth the effort.

Speaker 2: Well, we talk about this. We're all storytellers. We have this need to take data and turn it into a narrative for ourselves. And it's very important as a manager that you don't just give disparate dots of data and let your staff members, your employees fill in the blank. Because as that science shows, not only do we hold onto negative feedback, more than positive feedback, but we also default to those negative intentions, even when they're not there, it's a Mirage, but we have to manage that in our communication.

Speaker 1: It's I really liked your point about holding onto the negative stories. I think so many people think that praise is irrelevant because we only remember the negative things that our bosses have said to us, right? Some of that comes down to cortisol, which I know you guys have talked about on your show before, when you feel stressed, that cortisol stays in your system longer, you ruminate longer about the negative things. Whereas when you hear something positive, you don't get the chemicals that hold onto that memory, but it just means all the, it makes it all the more important that you've got to be giving that praise because it, people don't hold onto it. As long, you gotta be repeating it. You gotta be saying it out loud. I just, I just hope if you know, if there's one message to take away this podcast, there's lots of great things we talked about, but saying your positive intentions, helping people change the story. So they connect a different set of dots and they create a different picture for themselves. That would be a great takeaway.

Speaker 3: Don't think a lot of people respect the power that their emotions have over their view or lens of the world. And in fact, I almost see it like a Salvador Dali painting, I think to one of perception of time where the clocks are melting and everything, where if you were, if your emotions were flat, you were fine. You would see the clocks for what they were on the wall and hanging up. But all of a sudden you get told some bad news, and now they're all melting and dripping. And I like to use that as, as an example of this is what you're seeing, when your emotions are flared up, how do you expect to work through whatever it is that you need to feeling that way and to give it some time to Passover. So you can look at a problem, uh, whatever issue you might be having through a better lens. And I like to call that I call it an emotional theater where you're going through all of this, this nonsense, until you can look at something clear, have you seen any stats research showing how long that transition lasts? How long before you come back to a lens that has given you the opportunity to see things clearly, rather than that distorted drooping look

Speaker 1: Such a good question. So I, first of all, I just want to say, I love the image of the Salvador Dali painting, especially because like you said, there are all these drooping clocks. And for me, I especially love it because one of the things that happens when we get stressful feedback is, I don't know if this has happened to you, but it, like, I remember that moment. So clearly it's like time stops, right? You like picture where your boss was. You remember where you were sitting, you were just like, everything stopped for a moment. Um, those, those memories get imprinted deeply. Um, I, I don't know in terms of what the lag time is. I know for myself just thinking about personal anecdotes, you know, there are moments where I got feedback 30 years ago and I can still relive the conversation. [inaudible]

Speaker 1: your hand on that way? We've all had those moments, right? At least we've, we have a video that we think represents what really happened then. Um, so I don't know about, um, time course in terms of how long those happen, but we've all had feedback that sticks with us and resonates for a long time, um, in terms of how you might be able to change that moment. So, first of all, telling the person a different story, here's why I'm telling you this. You know, um, one of my hardest moments was I had a mentor that I really cared about. Tell me that she didn't think that I could write. And, you know, I, I've now written three books. I can definitely write, but at the time it was very early in my career. Um, that, that, that feedback really stung that really, really hurt to hear that couldn't write because I really wanted to be able to, in fact, as a little girl, I wanted to be a writer.

Speaker 1: So to hear that I couldn't write was crushing, but you know what she said, you know what she said, that really helped. She said, I want good things for you. I want you to be happy. And right now you can't write, if you want to be happy and right, you need to learn how to do that. So the fact that she wrapped it in this good intention for me, made all the difference, because now I could hear she, wasn't just saying this to hurt my feelings. She wasn't just saying this because she was ignoring my abilities. She was saying this because she cared about me and she could see that I was going down a path that I wasn't going to be successful on unless I gained a new skillset.

Speaker 2: It's so interesting that we ascribe good intentions to ourselves, but we default to ascribing negative intentions to those who are giving us the feedback. And I think that that loop that's happening there creates an opportunity for us as managers to clearly state those intentions repeatedly. And you talk about it in the book, the simple way to do this as recognizing we strengths. And I'd never heard of that. And I'd love to discuss the difference between we and me strengths, because I think the we strengths, especially with that lens, it's so powerful in a team environment. And especially when we tend to only really get feedback once or twice a year in a formative manner, then those are dreadful times for a lot of us who our employees are like, I know it's coming. So what are we strengths versus me strengths and how as managers, can we recognize those? Because they're so impactful.

Speaker 1: Thanks so much for asking about those. So I actually made up those terms. We strengthen me strength. So that's why you haven't heard about those. That's how I, this is the first time. And you're the first person to ask me about these. So your podcast is debuting me, strength and strength. I love it. You heard it here on the art of charm. Yeah. So, um, so many strengths and we strength. So, uh, me strength is something that I enjoy doing or something that you enjoy doing the employee enjoys doing and gives them energy, right? So, um, perhaps doing interviews gives you energy, right? That would be something that I might expect as, as a podcast host for me writing gives me energy, right? So I, if I'm feeling low in energy, I can spend an hour writing and my energy will come back. Right. Whereas, uh, we, strength is different.

Speaker 1: Uh, we, strength is something that makes the team stronger. Okay? So for instance, I've seen people who are really have, have a lot of confidence and that confidence makes everyone in the room feel more confident, right? And that, that becomes a, we strength. Even if, for them feeling confident, it's just like a natural part of who they are. It doesn't make them feel necessarily better, but it gives, it gives everyone else in the room. Confidence because their leadership is now shining on everyone, right? So a we, strength makes other people stronger. Uh, me strength is something that gives you energy. And like I said, they can be different. I've worked with people who have, you know, uh, like I said, you might, you might have confidence that helps the group, or maybe your me strength. I know someone who loves to work on PowerPoint. He loves to like design and like really get into the fonts and the, you know, the imagery, he spends a lot of time on that.

Speaker 1: Does it help the team? Not really, but it makes his day better. And you know, he'll, he'll, he'll be much more productive on a day that he gets to play with PowerPoint design. So the notion here is that that people need some time to spend on me strengths. You can get your energy from doing things that make you good. And that we strengths are things that the team needs you to be doing, right? The team needs you to show that confidence. So if it's a day when you're not feeling confident, you've got to dial that up because the team needs it from you. Right? The notion here is that as managers, we need to praise, we strengths. We need to say to people, when you did that in that meeting, everybody lit up, everybody paid more attention when you said blank, right? Those we strengths are things that need to be praised me. Strengths don't need to be praised so much because that already gives the person energy. If it's something that that person enjoys doing, it's kind of nice if you notice it, but you really need to recognize those strengths that help the entire team.

Speaker 4: For me, the really important part there is giving that person clarity as to how they fit in to the team's goals and allows them to see the bigger picture outside of themselves. Because I feel like a lot of times we can feel like we're on an Island and not realize just how our behaviors and our strengths are impacting the team in a positive way. And we don't often get those pats on the back in a team environment as well. That allows everyone to see how we're shining. And it's, I think it's so empowering as a manager, when you can bring that to the forefront on a regular basis on a cadence that allows everyone on the team to see how we're all rowing together and how each one of us individually is important to the team and those goals.

Speaker 1: I'm so glad that you bring that up because what you're underlining is that we need to not just say you did a good job, but you did a good job and it had this impact, right? And that's, that's, you know, getting back to your point earlier about connecting the dots all too often, we know our little dot, but we don't know the impact that we had. So as an a manager, you see the impact, you see the ripple effects, let people know what their ripple effects are. One person that I interviewed had the impact. He was working in a tutoring center and he helped, he helped a young girl get her. Her mom was going to remove her from the tutoring program. He talked with the mom, he convinced the mom to get back in the program. So for him, he was like, okay, that was a successful phone call. Yay. You know, moving on, moving on to my next phone, call his boss, however would not let it go. She kept coming back to this and meeting saying you were the one who made the difference. You kept someone from becoming a statistic. You're the one who makes this team better. It made him love the job so much more because she kept talking about the impact. He was focused on the one person. She focused on the bigger impact. And that's what we can do as managers. We can connect the dots for people.

Speaker 4: And that creates motivation. That's what I think is the missing ingredient in a lot of this, when we talk about feedback and when we think about giving, oftentimes

Speaker 2: It de-motivates, it de-motivates us. We drafted it and the person receiving it, isn't receiving it well, and it can de-motivate them. And those we strengths and highlighting them. I feel have a huge impact on personal motivation and team motivate.

Speaker 1: We talked earlier about being conflict avoidant. And I think it's one of the reasons that people don't give feedback is they're afraid they're going to crush someone's soul. Right. They're afraid that I am gonna, I'm gonna, you're just, you're not going to get on your zoom camera the rest of the week. If I say the thing I need to say to you, right. We're, we're just worried about that. Yeah. And if you can frame your feedback, as you know, I want to make sure that people come seek your opinion. Right? I want people to see you as the star on the team. If I, if I let you know, I have these good intentions for you, first of all. And secondly, I tell you the impact that, that something that you did, like, like, let's say you, you seemed unprepared for that meeting this morning, right?

Speaker 1: Let's say, I'm saying this to Alex on the team, Alex, you seem unprepared for that meeting this morning, and it's going to make people slower to seek your advice in the future. Right now, Alex is like, Oh, Oh crap. I gotta make sure I'm prepared for all my meetings. Like I want people to seek my advice. That's, that's important to me. So letting people know their impact, especially letting people know the impression they're making on others will really, we all care about the impressions we make on other people. So if you let people know, you're creating this negative impression, and I don't want that negative impression for you, you've just, you've really motivated that person to change. So that's, that's another key element of this. Let people know what impression they're creating and they're going to be motivated to get to line up with you and, and change their behavior.

Speaker 3: A point in the book that I think a lot of our audience will really enjoy hearing about. And I know that a lot of the guys are, and certainly because the guys are, the ladies are as well. And this is where men and women have this tendency of not hearing each other, because we're not listening to each other in the same manner. And you brought up two different types of listening. And I think that we should define those. So that those of us who prefer one can understand that there is two and what we might be able to focus on to better help with those listening skills.

Speaker 1: This is, this is such an important point because we don't often think about different types of listening. I mean, we might talk about, you know, we might say active listening, but really when most of us say active listening, we just mean really, really good listening, right? Like, are you listening or not? Right. That's that's it. But we do know that there's different types of listening, right? If you're listening to someone present three different marketing strategies, you listen very differently than when you're listening to your best friend, tell you about why she's breaking up with her partner. Right. Those are different kinds of listening. Right. So, yeah. So what you would hope critical listening with, with a friend you would hope? No. Um, so those, so you've just used one of the key terms AGA, so one of the kinds of listening is critical listening and critical listening is like when your BS detector is on. Okay. You critical listening is when, like you would do with the marketing team when you're listening to three different pitches. So critical listening is what's, which is the best idea is what you're saying consistent. Right? A lot of us do critical listening, especially with our exes. We do critical listening with our in-laws right. You're you're you're you're on you're you're constantly looking for the inconsistencies in the message. Right?

Speaker 3: Well, every man has had a conversation with a significant other where she has said you are not listening, but he's like, but I can repeat everything that you just said. So what are you telling me that I'm not listening? And I feel like you've had that conversation, Johnny.

Speaker 1: Well, you know, so, so there's a different thing going on there. Um, and this is no commentary on your relationships, but there's, there's actually different kinds of memory. And there's one kind of memory called sensory memory that lasts for just a couple of seconds. And basically this is like this little storage bin where you can completely not be paying attention, but you can basically hit, rewind and play the last three seconds of whatever you heard. Right? So sensory memory allows you to like, have your mind on something else. But if someone says, Johnny, you're not listening, you can like hit rewind three seconds, three seconds. I got it. Even though you're, you know, if, if this person were someone that you were feeling warm and fuzzy about you, you would probably admit like now I wasn't really listening,

Speaker 3: Sitting with somebody to solve their problems. You're listening critically. And when this other person just wants to be heard and have somebody to be empathetic with that person, rather than trying to solve the problems. So the minute you're like, well, here's what you need to do. Like you're not listening to me. I don't want answers. I don't want you to solve my problems. I just want to vent. And I want you to be in this moment with me.

Speaker 1: So well said, so that kind of listening, isn't critical listening. That's called relational listening. So, or you might call it empathetic listening if you like, but psychologists call it relational listening. And the idea here is not listening for the purpose of judgment, but listening for the purpose of empathy, right? I want to understand where you're coming from, and this is going to be true in relationships, your personal relationships, but it's also true in your relationships at work. You might think, Oh, relational listening is just for, at home or with my friends. But relational listening is crucial at work. So let's say, um, Abby comes to you and is like, I I'm going to have trouble meeting Friday's deadline. Okay. And you're counting on Abby to meet Friday's deadline. So you could get out your BS detector and do critical listening and think about like, well, why isn't you know, why is Abby missing this deadline?

Speaker 1: Right. That would be critical listening, but what Abby really needs right now and what you need to be doing is relational listening. Like figuring out okay, from Abby's perspective, why isn't she going to meet Friday's deadline? What obstacles are you running into it? You know, a question I like to ask is if you could wave a magic wand, what three things would you change so that you can meet Friday's deadline? Because all, you know, all of a sudden, now you're on Abby's side right now. Now your problem, your problem solving with her. And she can say to you, wow, Oh, and now she'll brainstorm with you. What are the three things that I would change? Right. And all of a sudden you've opened up a pathway. So that by the end of the meeting, Abby's like, okay, maybe I can meet this deadline. And you did that by relational listening, taking Abby's side, getting back to what we talked about earlier, you, you get, you get on Abby's side, which is beautiful. But also you're asking your T you're asking the questions from Abby's point of view, what do you see? What do you see that I don't see? Right. Let me help you. You know, maybe you need to have the conversation with Abby down the road around like, okay, Abby. So I'm really concerned someone at your level should be able to meet these deadlines, right? But that's not the conversation to have with, you know, exactly.

Speaker 4: Now you bring up a great point here in order to either critically listen or empathetically, listen a relational list, and we need to be asking better questions. And I feel that as a manager, that really is the secret sauce is understanding that in order to get to the solution and allow the other person to feel good about the solution, it's not us dictating the solution. It's us actively brainstorming by asking better questions, to get a level deeper, to allow that person again, to feel like we're on their side. So how as managers, can we ask better questions to get better results?

Speaker 1: I'm glad you raised this. I there's a, there's a management professor in, at the university of Jerusalem RV Kluger, and his motto is listen, first feedback later, right? Listen, first feedback later. And if you ask and you might be thinking, well, what am I going to listen to an agent? You've just captured it. Ask, ask questions, ask questions that you want the answers to. And then you get a chance to listen, right? Um, and, and for some managers, this takes a lot of practice. Some people are natural question askers. Others just want to get to their 0.1 person. Um, I, I love her strategy for this. What she does is if she's got a piece of advice that she's going to give, she wants to give it a meeting. She writes down that piece of advice on a piece of paper, and she turns over the piece of paper and she writes down at least two or three questions for every one piece of advice.

Speaker 1: She needs at least two or three questions that she could ask before she gives that piece of advice, right. And this slows her down. So that she's, if she asks those questions, what she often finds is she's got different advice by the time those questions are answered. Right? So asking questions can really now, now you're going to give better advice. So what kind of questions could you ask? You could ask, what problems are you running into? When do you see us running into this problem? Again, that's now all of a sudden you've made the other person, the expert. When do you see us running into this problem again? Brilliant. Right now they get to say, well, we're going to run into it. I can see it coming and down the road in a month, but now you're on the same side. You're solving the problem together.

Speaker 1: And they're not going to be nearly as defensive. When you say, are you willing to try it? And this is another Oh, a sneaky one, a real sneaky question, like sneaky. Right? Good. Um, uh, a really nice sneaky question would be to say, what would make you consider doing blank? Right? So what would make you consider trying to get that done tomorrow? And they would say, well, what would make me get that done tomorrow? What would help me consider? Well, I would consider getting it done tomorrow, if, and then they come up with ideas. But if you, if you pose it as what would help you consider this possibility, and then you give your piece of advice, right? Or you give the thing, the outcome that you want to see, you've, you've asked the person to enter this thought space with you. And all of a sudden now you're problem solving again together. So what would make you consider, or what would allow this to happen, then they're again, they're problem solving with you and you've inserted your advice in a really sneaky way.

Speaker 4: And you've allowed them to air those objections because after we air those objections, we don't hold onto them as tightly. And sometimes we even realized as we speak them, that they're really just not really meaningful excuses. They were something in our head that we were holding onto, but really are not roadblocks. So it allows for better investigation of what's going on internally for that person who is struggling to meet the deadline. Who's feeling a conflict with their coworker who has ambiguous instructions and doesn't know how to do what you ask them to do, which I find is especially important when dealing with younger employees. And I want to touch on a few of these nuances that you go into the book, because I think it's really important. We, we haven't really touched on unconscious bias, which is obviously very present in everything that's going on right now and what we're learning about ourselves. But let's first just talk about for the younger employees or staff members who are fresh on the job, who maybe don't have as much experience in communicating themselves what their needs and wants are. And we're trying to get them to be motivated to achieve what we need in a team setting.

Speaker 1: It's interesting because I hear from a lot of managers frustrations around their younger employees, right? Some people will say, Oh my gosh, everybody wants a blue ribbon. Or like, you know, I've got, I've got a millennial on my team and they want praise every week. Right? So two things, first of all, it could be that there's a generational difference there. And I think that's probably a valid point that younger generations are used to getting more praise on their work than perhaps we did. I think you guys are younger than me, but the point being that we might be frustrated that people right out of college are asking for more positive feedback and we're getting frustrated. So maybe there is a slight preference for validation than what we're used to. But the second point is this. And I think this is important to think about. And that is that whenever you're young, you don't know what you're good at yet.

Speaker 1: All of us. Right? Yeah. You're not sure if your main strengths, you don't know you. I mean, you know, you were good in school, but you don't know what you're good at on the job yet. Right. And you don't know relative to your peers, what you're good at compared to what they're good at. You just assume if you're good at it, everybody's good at it. For the most part we do. Right. I think all of us probably really would have liked a lot more positive feedback when we were 22, 24, 25. But maybe we just weren't bold enough to ask for it. Whereas this current generation, I think is I think they're comfortable asking for it. So one thing that I would advise is, is be willing to give that positive feedback because you're helping them learn what they're good at. And if they learn that sooner, they're learning their me strengths. They, they learn, uh, or they're also learning their weak strengths. They're learning what they contribute to the team, right?

Speaker 4: You're raising their self-awareness, which is so key and inexperience regardless of the generation. I know we label things and we like to claim that it's different for everyone. Inexperienced has tripped every single one of us up in our career. And we've all been on the other end of that. And as a manager, it's important for you to encourage them to go beyond their inexperience and learn those lessons in a more constructive and supportive way than leaving them to fend for themselves.

Speaker 3: And it is so easy to make fun and give the millennials a hard time. I'm I'm gen X. So I have that, that privilege, but to throw my own generation under the bus is we have gone on without finding ways to not take responsibility for things that we don't want to be doing as gen X, there's this whole thing on gen X and the slacker movement. How can they just slide by without not really having to engage in much? And I didn't like that cultural shift or movement, however, I can accept that that was going on. And when you have a younger generation that maybe is looking for feedback or trying to get some praise and we haven't accepted any responsibility and how we're going to communicate or communicate in ways that allows us to be able to give feedback such as in the manner that you have laid out in this book will then we have two parties that are not able to do what they need to be doing in order for them to get along and or bridge the gap that we need to in order for us to, uh, thrive together.

Speaker 1: I'm gen X as well. And it's really interesting what you're talking about in terms of slacking. I th I think, you know, we probably have some gen X people who are thinking, well, I don't Slack, but what's so easy for any of us to do. Like we taught like w one thing that is, um, that I know that you guys talk about on this podcast is, you know, to what extent are we taking responsibility for our own actions, right. And it's really a tricky issue because we to get defensive when it's something that we've done wrong, it's, it's always the, you know, for any of us of any generation it's, it's external factors. It's not our fault, but when it's, when we're looking at someone else's behavior, it's really easy for us to see it as intrinsic to that person. Right. And that's psychologists call that the fundamental attribution error.

Speaker 1: You know, if, if I've got my arms crossed in a meeting, it's because I'm cold. If you Johnny have your arms crossed in a meeting, it's because you're standoffish. Right. Right, right. Right. So we see, we see the reasons I very different, depending on whether it's our behavior or someone else's behavior, and there's lot of research showing that if someone's a member of an out-group, so an out-group means that they're not a member of our group. Right. And we define out-groups very differently. Out-groups might be, are you a Southern Californian? Or are you a Seattleite like me? Right. That might be one outgroup, but a really easy out-group for us to all notice is the generational difference, right? I mean, because of the clothing, the tattoos, whatever it might be, right. Or, you know, how people get to work, whatever it might be. Um, you know, you drive up in your Prius and they, you know, they walk to work or whatever it might be. The generational differences are real quick outgroup. And the research shows that we tend to, when we see a member of an out-group, we assume that's just how they are, they're unchangeable, that's who they are. And so that I think is, is contributing to why we look at someone 20 years younger than us and be like, and we just roll our eyes. And we're like, Oh no, I gotta put up with so-and-so

Speaker 4: Now unconscious bias. It's happening all around us. Some of us are aware of it. Maybe we've gone through training at work around it, but it certainly colors how we give feedback and how we perceive feedback. And many of us don't realize that we're giving different types of feedback to different genders and the way that they're responding to it. So can you unpack that a little bit for the audience and how we can start to move beyond those unconscious biases that are holding us back?

Speaker 1: I really appreciate your asking about unconscious bias and gender, because this is one of the reasons that I wrote the book is that there's growing evidence. Some of it coming out of Stanford, some of it coming out of Harvard, coming out of lots of different respectable institutions, showing that men get better feedback at work than women. Now, I'm sure there are men going, like I get crummy feedback. Can you say that? Trust me, I've, I've interviewed plenty of men. Who've received hostile feedback. And, and they have, they have their own scars from bad feedback they've received from bad managers, right? So I'm not saying, I'm not saying that every piece of feedback catapults your career, if you're a guy, but there's growing research, that's showing that the same manager can give good feedback to men. And then kind of shortchange women, even though they've got the skills to give better feedback, they're more likely to sugarcoat feedback to women. Especially men are more likely to sugar coat feedback to women, but women also seem to do it. And then there's also, even praise tends to be more specific for men. Whereas women might be told research finds that when there's vague praise being given, it's more likely to be given to women. So what does that look like? So vague praise would be like, you had a great year, keep doing what you're doing, you know, and you leave your performance review thinking, great. I'll keep doing what I'm doing. Wait, what am I doing?

Speaker 1: Which part, which part do you want to see again? And I know people who are bold enough to sometimes ask that, and sometimes the manager will kind of scramble and look at their notes and be like, um, and you're like, Oh, you, you don't even have something specific to tell me. Right. Right. And that's more likely to happen for women than it is for men. Men are more likely to get feedback saying, you know, because of what you did with these three contracts, we got three new clients, three big new clients, right? Men are more likely to hear about their impact on business outcomes, on product outcomes. Whereas women are more likely to just get the vague, keep doing what you're doing. I'm really impressed with your work. You're a great team player. That's a really frustrating one to a great player, right? Women, when women are often encouraged to be team players, men, you know, they might hear that, but then they get the specific impact of their team player.

Speaker 3: I can see somebody taking, interpreting being a, Hey, you're a good team player, which is they want, they don't want me to rock the boat. They want me to keep my mouth shut. And they just want me to be quiet and not disturb anything that is going on. I can totally see how that can be, can be misconstrued. And I think as well, once again, we have a listening problem because you're inferring that, you know how somebody is going to take this feedback and how they're going to interpret it. That's mind reading. You can't do that. What you should be doing is once again, relational listening, to be able to decipher what sort of feedback this person is willing to accept that what they're looking for and how you might deliver it.

Speaker 1: Relational listening is so important, right? And what we come back to it, because if you can ask good questions and try to take the side of the person you're giving feedback to, if you can take the side of the employee, you're going to be so much more sensitive to what they need to hear. I mean, you know, it's emotional intelligence is challenging for many of us, right. Or at least we can see places for us to improve. And one way to get there is by asking more questions, you know, asking that question, how do you, how do you see it? Right. All too often, we assume we know how the other person sees it. And we've, we've, we, we've got to get a little bit further away from our omniscience. We gotta get a little further away of assuming. Yeah. Don't assume you're a genius, like assume for just this meeting, just this meeting. I'm not a genius. I have no idea how this person sees it. If you can go in and just leave that at the door, you're going to have such a better meeting with that person.

Speaker 4: I have to ask the elephant in the zoom room question, are there nuances to this new work from home and zoom feedback? You know, obviously we're to being in an office together and having more moments of praise and appreciation and just more time together. And now we're isolated on zoom and work from home settings. That's new to many of us as managers and as team members. What are the differences or are there differences in giving effective feedback when it is digitally versus in-person?

Speaker 1: So we're recording this during COVID for those of you who are listening in 2025 [inaudible] someday we will be on the other side of this. I don't know when we all, um, but we're, we're doing this during COVID. So zoom meetings, teams, meetings, WebEx, whatever, you know, your chances are. You've got some web platform that you're using. I've got an article that's about to come out in Harvard business review on the negativity bias. So one of the things that we're struggling with right now is a negativity. We always have a negativity bias. We tend to focus on the negatives more than the positives. We think more about the negative critical praise or the negative critical comments. We've heard that on our praise, right? That's natural. That's not normal. Part of being a human is we have a negativity bias, but there's data coming out showing that we have a stronger negativity bias when we're under a lot of stress.

Speaker 1: And this has been a period of incredible stress for people, right? Because they've, they're, they're, they're schooling their kids at home. Um, they're not sure, you know, they see their company doing layoffs. Are they going to be one of those candidates for layoffs? Um, they're having to wear a mask in public every time they go out. They're not sure where they're going to see their sister again, whatever it might be. You've got incredible stress, right. And, and negativity bias goes up when we're stressed. So what does that mean as a manager? It means that chances are your employees are feeling are going to be even more focused on your critical comments than ever because they're feeling stressed and we've already got a negativity bias. So they're, they're going to LA, they're going to glom on to your negative comments even more than they normally would.

Speaker 1: So what it means is you've got to work extra hard to find the good things to say about people's work. So one thing it means is make sure that you're praising people because, um, they, they need to hear it under the, under the stress that they are. Secondly, you need to do more compare and contrast. So let let's say that I'm giving you the feedback, Alicia, your presentation yesterday, just wasn't as good as your other presentations that you've given. I know you can do better. Okay. So let's say, I need to give that feedback to Alicia. When you say that you need to then clarify, I'm saying that yesterday's presentation, wasn't up to your standard. I am not saying that you're bad at presentations. I'm not saying that we don't appreciate your work. What I am saying is that something seemed off yesterday. Can you help me understand that? Right. So doing that compare and contrast, helping the person say, I'm saying this specific instance, wasn't what I'm used to from you. I'm not saying that your work is crap, right? Providing that kind of clarity because it will help. It will prevent people from going, taking that negative spin because all too often, what researchers are predicting as people are going into that negative nose dive, when they hear critical comments

Speaker 4: For us, you know, internally and anecdotally, when, uh, we moved to more remote work years and years ago, there were a team managers, especially managers who had an increase in negativity bias simply because we weren't around each other. And we saw time and time again, negative assumptions about people's productivity or what they were doing because they weren't in the room and visible. So I wonder, you know, how much of that is also weighing on what feedback is is being given, and also how it's being perceived as we're socially distanced from one another and not actually there to see each other working and engaged as we were, when we were in the office together.

Speaker 1: Yeah. It's interesting. I've been interviewing managers about what they've noticed with working remotely and, and one of the common things they've raised is exactly what you're saying, or at least an implication of what you're saying. And that is when you see one another, all the time, you're likely to say things like, Hey, nice job. I really like how you handled blank and you just make that throw away comment, but it's praise, right? Chances are those throwaway comments are the things that you liked, right? Or like, I'm so glad you made that comment in that meeting today. I've been, I was going to say it to you like, affirm, I am glad you were there. Right. Where, right. Whereas with zoom, right? The, the shortest meeting you can schedule on zoom is 30 minutes. Right. You know, so, so we're not likely to like set up a meeting to say to someone, Hey, I'm really glad you made that comment in that meeting. Instead, that comment gets you. You never make that comment. You just skip it altogether. Right. And so it's, it's one of the tricky aspects of working remotely is that we don't need those little drips of praise. Don't get said, and, and we're used to hearing them and we don't, we don't even realize how much we value them, but they remind us, we belong. I belong here. I belong on this team. And if you don't get those drips of praise, you start to wonder like, should, should I be looking for a different job? You know?

Speaker 3: Well, just think of all the moments that we've taken for granted, the, the trips that a water cooler or walking through the hallway, or going to grab lunch with somebody or having beers after work, none of that is happening now. And th those, you may have not been talking about anything remotely important, but there was a connection that was being made. That was being strengthened every time that you had one of those micro interactions with your coworkers

Speaker 4: And investment outside of just work and one another. And the team, our last question we love asking every guest is what do you believe your X factor is? What has made you successful from a mindset or a skill set? And how did you develop that?

Speaker 1: Such a fun question. Um, what has made me successful? I come from a family. I'm Sylvanian by heritage. I grew up in the U S but my, you know, and Slovenia is now on the map. We're not in the, we're not in Slovenia. No, no, no. Evidently a motto of Slovenian people is that we work hard. Right? And this is something that I grew up with is that there's that the biggest criticism you could have for anyone is they're good for nothing, right? That is the harshest criticism. Anyone in my family can ever lay on anyone. What you want to hear is you're a hard worker and that's like the biggest praise. So I think for me, my X factor is that I believe in hard work. I can probably solve just about any problem. If I'm willing to work hard on it, there are certain problems. I have no interest in solving. I'm not, I'm not interested in physics at all. Um, but, but I've really been raised with this belief that if you work hard, I could learn it.

Speaker 2: Thank you for helping us solve this problem of effective feedback and making it our super, we thoroughly enjoyed the book. And we're excited to get it in more manager's hands, because it will be so impactful for all of our lives, both during and after this pandemic.

Speaker 1: Thank you so much. You guys, I have really had a good time here today, and I hope this is helpful to people. [inaudible].

Speaker 2: I have to say Johnny, after this interview, I started implementing those exact skills instantly in our communication with our team members, our X-Factor clients, as well as my personal coaching clients, it was magical to actually learn some of those strategies on giving feedback effectively and not just the old compliment sandwich that we know and love.

Speaker 3: Aja, we've always get asked what makes a good interview. And for myself, it is when I apply lessons that I have learned and those conversations, and this was certainly one of the,

Speaker 2: And so practical, how many of us withhold critical feedback from others? Because, well, we just don't know how to say it. And as we learned with simple, easy to use strategies, we can make that feedback meaningful or one

Speaker 3: Take this time to shout out Isaac and our X-Factor accelerator,

Speaker 2: Stepping up with confidence to lead a training inside your company. And over-delivering value for the newest members is what unlocking your X-Factor and reaching your potential is all about.

Speaker 3: We're so proud of you becoming a leader and taking your career to the next level.

Speaker 2: It's a new year, and we're all excited for the growth of challenging ourselves.

Speaker 3: Are you ready to finally unlock your potential and unleash your X-Factor? We believe you have everything you need inside of you and myself, and AIG will help you reach your true potential

Speaker 2: Apply. Today. It joined our mentorship program, the X-Factor accelerator with the support of the entire art of charm team for an entire year weekly group coaching monthly deep dive implementation sessions on conversation, connection and confidence building to put everything you've learned on this show, into practice in your life, to see immediate results, just like Isaac. We know ultimate growth and success requires support and accountability. You're ready to become your most powerful version of yourself. Head to unlock your X-Factor dot com and join our amazing group of top performers. Like Isaac, you have a question for the show, a tip, a trick you want to share. Let us know. We're always excited to hear from you. You can send us your thoughts by going to the art of charm.com/questions. You can also email us [email protected] or find us on social at the art of charm on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Also, could you do us in the entire art of charm team, a big favor, could you head on over to iTunes and rate and review this podcast? It helps others find the show and helps us get great guests. Like we had today with teres. The art of charm podcast is produced by Michael Harold and Eric Montgomery until next week. I'm a AIJ and I'm Johnny

Speaker 5: [inaudible] [inaudible].

Check in with AJ and Johnny!

AJ Harbinger - author of 1175 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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