Ep #31: Feedback for Female Entrepreneurs
Being able to give feedback for a female entrepreneur is not negotiable. You HAVE to get good at this. Here is what your responsibility is and a few tools to help you improve at this critical skill.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- Your only responsibility in regard to feedback is just to give it.
- Don’t give it when you’re angry or don’t have all the information yet, and don’t base it on other people’s opinions.
- Step one – be direct and teacher-like.
- Step two – engage them and get them to talk. Determine if it’s a mindset issue or a skill set issue.
- Advice on what to do with new employees.
- Third step – now you must transition into performance conversations (we’ll talk about this in another episode).
- Another reason why getting good at feedback is super powerful for a female entrepreneur.
- The goal of feedback is to give someone perspective that will help them change their performance so they get a different and better result.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- I’m launching a new group called The Founder’s Lab at the end of October where I will be teaching and coaching a very small group of smart businesswomen. I’m currently scheduling consultations. Go here to book an appointment with me and fill out the application.
- Please write a review of my podcast. Go to iTunes’ main page here and give it a 5 star if you feel it is worthy and write a review. Do a screen shot and go to Instagram and put that on your story or feed and tag me @KrisPlachyCoach. I will then send you a list of all of my most favorite books that I’ve read over the years.
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Hey everyone, I’m Kris Plachy and this is How to Lead for Female Entrepreneurs and Founders, because the best way to grow a business is to grow the person who’s running it. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Welcome, welcome. You all loved the podcast I did on accountability so much that I’m doing one today on feedback. Now, feedback is a huge part of accountability, right? And yet, just like so many other things that are hard, we’re kind of terrible at it. We’re really bad at giving feedback. And so I want to spend a little time talking to you today about why you have to get good at giving feedback, and we have to lean in.
I’m going to give you some tools that help you think about it. Because I know one of the biggest reasons why you aren’t giving feedback is because you’re not confident in how much you should say or how much you shouldn’t say and what to use to give feedback, so those are all the things I’m going to talk to you about. I also want to make sure that I just reiterate that this is not… I know I talk about a lot of things on this podcast. Being able to give feedback to me, it’s just not negotiable. You have to get good at this. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to mess up. It just means that you can’t avoid your people.
So many times I’m just watching people who just don’t want to do it because it’s hard, because it’s uncomfortable, because they might get upset. They might cry, they might not like me, they might not agree with me, they might get argumentative. All the things that make us not want to tell people things that we need to tell them. And ultimately, our only responsibility when we give feedback is just to give it, is to think about our intention, who we want to be in the process, how we want to show up. We can’t control how other people receive it. We can’t control what they do when they get it. We can’t control whether they agree with us or not. None of that is up to us. We can only really be clear about what our intention is.
So with that being said, there’s certain things that you just… You don’t give feedback when you’re angry. You don’t give feedback when you’re in the heat of the moment. You don’t get feedback when you don’t have all the information yet. You don’t give feedback based on other people’s opinions and other people’s insight. You give feedback based on your own observation, your own experience. Okay?
So that means that you have to be available to your people. You have to pay attention to them, you have to be involved, you have to be engaged, and you have to watch also the biases that you have about people in your business because we all develop them. This is normal. So that’s why, honestly, that’s why… Shameless plug, you should have a coach because you’ve got to have somebody else you can go to to say like, “Is this make sense that I want to tell this person this?” Like, “Is this aligned or am I like just emotional and frustrated and have too much of an opinion?” Okay? So you’ve got to have all of those elements considered before we give feedback.
So the intention of feedback, right, is to ultimately give somebody some perspective that will help them change their performance, so that they get a different and better result. That’s it. And the basis for feedback should as much as possible be factual. It should be based in evidence. It should be based on things that have happened, not based on your perception or your opinion. Okay?
So when we’re giving feedback, I want you to think about like a set of stairs, okay? And the very first time we have to teach someone something or tell someone something, I want you to treat it like it’s the first step, which means we’ve never taken it before. We’ve never stood on this step before. We haven’t even started on the staircase yet. So I’m going to be very direct and almost teacher-like in my feedback. So it will be pretty instructional, and like I said, directive. “Hey, I noticed that on the phone call today, you said this. I want you to say this. The process that we have in place is to do this, and this is how you do that.” You show them what you want, but you also tell them that they didn’t do what you wanted or that is appropriate based on your process.
Then we go to the next step. So let’s say they do the same thing and they make them same mistake. But now we have first step cleared, so now we’re on second step. And so from my perspective, now what we have to do is engage them. Now this is where a lot of people fall down because they keep thinking that the more they talk and tell people stuff, that’s feedback. And the more that I make my voice louder than yours and the more I talk to you, the more you’re going to get it, the more you’re going to hear me, and the more you’re going to change. That is not true. What I know to be true is the more I engage you to talk and be reflective, the more likely you are to change.
So we’ve gone through the first step. Now let’s go to the second step. The second step is, “Hey, so we talked about that thing that you did on the call. We talked about that last week. What do you remember from that conversation? What stuck with you?” Now, here’s where you’re going to find out, they didn’t remember what you told them. Or, they remembered what you told them, but it was hard for them. Like, “Yeah, I know you said that, but I don’t really know how to do that.” And that’s when we find out either we have a little bit of a mindset issue with their performance or a skillset, like they just don’t know what they’re doing yet; and so, we might have to go back to first step and do some direction. But nonetheless, we have to give the feedback. We have to say it right away.
I watch a lot of people do this with new employees, and what they do unfortunately is a new employee starts and they want to give people all this room. Because, of course, we’re adults and everybody should know better and everybody should know what they’re doing. Nobody else knows your business like you do. You can’t hire people and just give them all this freedom. I’m talking to myself here. I get why that’s an easy trap to fall into. It’s not effective.
So when we bring people in, I was just coaching someone today who’s got a new employee and we were talking about what do you do with the new employee. And I said, “You’ve got to meet with them in the morning and you’ve got to meet with them at the end of the day. And you have to bookend their experience so that you can give them tons of feedback. We need everybody to be really comfortable with feedback, including you.”
I coach a lot of female founders who are very successful, and some of them are really good at hearing bad news and some of them aren’t. And for those of you who don’t like to receive feedback and you run a multimillion dollar company, that’s a problem because your people will omit the truth. They may not lie, but they won’t tell you all of what you need to hear, and it will catch up. You do not need a bunch of people around you who just want to make you happy. Trust me on that one. I’ve done both.
The best teams have always been for me, the ones who will tell me the truth… about me. Right? Like, “What the hell’s wrong with you? You’re being kind of an asshole today.” Right? Whatever it is, tell me. I’m in my own zone. I’d much rather people tell me, right? We’ve heard that expression. The emperor has no clothes, right? The person who likes standing there naked and nobody will tell them. Right?
Haven’t you ever been out with friends and then you go home to brush your teeth and you have a huge black thing in your tooth and you’re like, “Really? Nobody could tell me I had a black thing in my tooth.” And of course what’s always their answer? “I didn’t notice.” Oh come on, you totally noticed. The same thing is true for the stuff that we do. So this is a little bit of a tangent, but you’ve got to be willing to hear it all you all.
You can’t hide from feedback and please don’t put people in a position of being injured if they tell you something. If you yell at them or hide them or scorn them. I had another client whose boss would just remove you from a project if he didn’t like what you said to him, and everybody knew it. They didn’t want to get taken off stuff or threatened, so they just wouldn’t tell him. It’s terrible. That company went out of business. So it’s no joke, feedback really matters.
Your expertise at feedback is such a weapon of success. It’s like if you could get people to really listen to you and really hear what you have to say and believe you and do the things, it’s amazing what you can make happen in your business, right? It’s such a part of your arsenal of capacity to achieve… if you can just get over yourself and not be uncomfortable. Because most people are not taught how to get feedback, and so when you give them feedback, they kind of freak out, right? They don’t know what to do with it. And so it’s normal for people to become a little defensive or overly apologetic like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t know. I won’t do that again.”
So let me continue on my stairs. So we got on the first step, told them what to do; got on the second step, asked them what they remember about what we said; and then we get to the third step, they do the same thing. Now we’re really going to say, “Okay, so now we’ve talked about this two other times. Why aren’t you doing it? Because I want to be clear that the thing that you need to do, needs to be done. So the thing that you’re not doing is affecting the business because you’re not doing it.” Right?
So how do we do that? We ask them to be reflective, but we have to give them the feedback. And we’re going to talk about in future podcasts, how to actually have that conversation. And honestly, so much of what I do with my clients is really learning how to construct a performance conversation that is suited to the needs of your business, but you can’t avoid them. But it’s really easy to avoid performance conversations if you’ve avoided feedback. We don’t even know, right?
And I always come back to what I level set everything on. The only reason you have employees in your company is to make sure that your company’s successful. So why would you have these instruments of potential success, these resources that you’re paying money for every day, if you’re not fine tuning how they’re contributing to your business performance? It doesn’t make sense on paper, right? You know that logically that wouldn’t make any sense to just hire people until they ignore them, and then get irritated with them when they don’t do what you want. There’s that, right?
So getting good at feedback is first knowing. Feedback is sort of, to me, these stair steps, right? We’ve got to be able to bounce back what we see in people and tell them how to do things more constructively. Over-insert details. People don’t… You can’t make assumptions that they understand what you’re talking about.
But there’s another reason why getting really good at feedback is such a superpower for a female entrepreneur in that the your capacity to grow is going to be based on your ability to hire exceptional people; and your ability to hire exceptional people will eventually become based on your reputation as somebody to work for. I know there’s a lot of people who attract people to work for them because they’re a celebrity and they have a lot of clout in the community that they’re in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re great to work for. So you have to be careful with that.
What I mean by being a great person to work for is that people become better because they worked for you. Their skills improve, their capacity to work gets better, their attitude about working improves, they’re more successful. Because as soon as people attribute that to working for you, now you start the attraction magnet of other people wanting to work for you. Like, “Oh, working for her is a really big deal. Because when you work for her, you’re going to get all this sorts of feedback and you’re going to be able to grow and you’re going to be able to improve.” And for a lot of people, that’s what they want. And that to me is the kind of employee I always want.
So being good at feedback isn’t just about, get through your discomfort. It is about understanding how that plays into the culture, and then the future hires that you will make and who will be available to you because of it. So we can’t avoid feedback. Feedback is a stair step. I believe that feedback should be a reflective process. It’s not just me talking at you. And I also think you have to be mindful of giving feedback about things that aren’t just measurable results.
So for an example, I have been known in the past to give feedback to people about their brand. And so there’s the mistakes that you make and the work that you don’t get done right, and the benchmarks that you don’t hit, that’s something I can give you feedback on. But the more you do that, now what’s affecting, now what’s happening is people start to think you’re the person who makes the mistakes. People start to think you’re the person who doesn’t follow-up. People start to think you the person who doesn’t hit a deadline.
And so a feedback, if I’m stair stepping for something like that might be, “Hey, you’ve made five mistakes in the last week that are significant. My expectation is you will stop making mistakes immediately.” And that’s very quick, fast feedback. Second step would be, “Hey, you’ve got another mistake here. This is kind of a big one. What do you remember that I said about mistakes?” And then I would ask, “What do you think is kind of happening to your brand here? What do you think people are thinking? Because my perception is, and what I’ve heard is that you’re not reliable.” That’s harder to recover from than just a mistake. And if we get to the third point, now we have a real issue; and that’s when we’re going to transition into actual performance conversations, which we’ll talk about another time.
So you’ve got to not be afraid of feedback. You’ve got to really look at what do I make feedback mean? Am I just afraid of their response? Probably, but here’s what I know. The response from an employee who ends up getting fired because they never got any feedback is a hell of a lot worse than the response that you get from an employee who you’re giving feedback to all along. And of course, the goal of feedback is to improve people’s performance, to help them get closer in alignment to the outcome that you want. So don’t shirk on feedback. It really matters. You’ve got to have a construct in your business that supports it. And the more you give feedback, the more comfortable people will get receiving it. And the more you receive feedback, the more comfortable other people will be at receiving it. So take some time and invest in feedback.
And my last comment I want to make to you guys today is taking me a little bit off target of feedback, but not so much because this is the work I do with my clients. I am launching a new group called The Founder’s Lab at the end of October of this year, and I would love to talk with you if you are ready to take all of the tools that I teach. So I want you to think about the podcast as your classroom and now I’m going to open up the lab. And in the lab, we’re going to meet and we’re going to talk through all of these very specific learning points, very specific practices, but we’re going to make them mean something in your business. I’m going to ask you to integrate them into what you do every day as a woman who runs her own business, and we’re going to take all of it to the next level.
So it’s teaching, it’s coaching, it’s me, and it’s other amazing, powerful, smart business women like yourself who are running their own businesses. This is a very small group. Again, it’s called The Founder’s Lab. I’m currently scheduling consultations with women who are interested in being part of this group. You have to book an appointment with me. You have to fill out the application, so go to krisplachy.com/appointment. If this has been on your mind, you’re ready to get started, this is going to kick off 2020 beautifully. Because you’ve got to put these fundamentals into place in order to get the business that you really, really want; and to stop feeling so overwhelmed and stressed out by managing and dealing with the human capital part of your business. Okay, you ready? That’s my invitation to you. Thanks for tuning in today.
Hey, don’t miss a thing. Make sure you join my community at krisplachy.com/connect. Once you join, you’ll get all the information on exclusive and private experiences that I’m offering to my clients. I can’t wait to see you there.