Ep #103: Saving Team Members from Their Failures

 In Podcast

When a team member makes a mistake or doesn’t perform well, it has a direct impact on you and others in your business. As an empath, you probably tend to focus on how the team member feels about making the mistake, and you may accommodate that failure. Today, instead of saving team members, let’s talk about how to acknowledge the mistake, hold the person accountable, and discuss what happened.

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. How to recognize what happens to you emotionally when other people fail or make a mistake.
  2. What to do to turn down the emotional noise and just look for the facts.
  3. How to build practices that you can leverage so you can avoid getting too tangled up in the emotional part of what happens between people.

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Podcast Transcript

Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Well, hello. Welcome to this week’s podcast, I’m so glad that you’re here. This is Kris Plachy and you are amazing. So I hope you’re having an amazing morning, afternoon, evening, whatever you’re doing in the world and wherever in the world you are. And thank you to all of you who have been posting comments and recommendations for the podcast on iTunes and where else you listen. Those do not go unnoticed and I just want to let you know how grateful I am that you take the time to do that. So thank you very much.

Today we’re going to talk about something that might sound a little odd, maybe the title did. Well, maybe not, maybe it was right on cue for where you are and what’s going on that you deal with. But I wanted to talk about today, saving people that fail, saving team members that fail. And this sort of stems from the podcast I did a little while ago about being an empathic CEO, and I’m incredibly excited to confirm that I am going to be hosting a live virtual retreat for female entrepreneurs on Saturday, February 27th. It’ll be a three hour live event and it’s called The Empathic CEO. And the intention and focus of this will continue to present more of that to you and we’ll have more information, probably by the end of the first week of February.

But the goal of this time together is to create a space for you, if you are a woman leading a business, and you want very much to not feel as much as you do so deeply, in a way that isn’t constructive. And so what I want to do with you and help you through is recognizing that you can be all of that, all of that sensitive, deeply feeling, knowing woman and still hold boundaries and expectations and accountability measures and all that businessy stuff. And that you can actually do it better because you are empathic, not despite it.

It’s like Dr. Weiss was saying to me this morning on a conference, we were talking about how empaths spend so much of their time suppressing who they are because they feel wrong in it, because so much of the world doesn’t share that experience that you have. And I want you to see how right you are in it, and that you can leverage it, not hide it and bury it and suppress it. Because suppressing who you are is exhausting, and I know that’s why so many women end up on my proverbial door, just completely fried with the whole leading and managing part.

So let’s talk about the topic then of this week, which is saving people who fail. This is sort of an interesting quagmire that I watch myself and other women, who I think identify on the higher empathy level scale, right? Someone makes a mistake or doesn’t do well or doesn’t perform well, and in a small business, when somebody in the business doesn’t do well, it has a direct impact on the entire business and team, and potentially clients. It’s not easily absorbed, like a mistake would be absorbed in, let’s say, Microsoft or IBM or some other big organization.

So what happens is someone fails in some way, and this isn’t to make it like a stain that failure’s a bad thing. We all have failures, right? But what I want to point out is that someone fails at something, and that has an impact, typically speaking, a negative impact on you and others in the business. And as an empath, and as someone who tends to feel their own emotions very deeply, and then also experiencing emotions of others, now we’ve kicked that kind of thing happening, right? Now you’re noticing and feeling, not just your own disappointment or frustration or anger or resentment, but you’re feeling it from other people on the team.

And meanwhile, here’s this person that failed. And what I find super interesting that I see in others and frankly, and in myself at times, is instead of what we need to do, which is hold this person accountable to the failure, to the mistake, to the oversight, to the whatever, and address it. Instead, what we do is we focus on how they probably feel, that they made a mistake and they failed, and we accommodate the failure. We ignore it, we poo poo it, we dismiss it. We appease them so they don’t feel badly. Is this sounding familiar?

And so then, now all of us I think feel bad, right? You know they feel bad if they made a mistake and they have some integrity in who they are, and then you feel bad because it impacted your work and so does the other people you work with. But no one’s talking about it and we’re sort of pretending like it didn’t happen. This is a problem. And so then what we do is we fall into the person who failed and we try and lift them up and support them. And, oh, it’s okay. Right? And what happens now is we’ve started to kick in some emotional codependency behavior between all of us, which isn’t healthy at work.

So what do we do about it? Well, first of all, I want you to notice what happens to you when other people make mistakes, or when other people fail in your company. What happens to you emotionally? On a scale of one to ten, one being thrilled and happy and ten being furious and irate and five being calm and in the middle, right? Just sort of status. What happens to you when other people make mistakes? And typically speaking, we’re going to go from one side of that to the other, right? And usually, at least in my experience with my clients, it tends to be more towards the angry, annoyed part of it.

But then what happens is we feel badly for feeling that way. So we stuff it and we suppress it, rather than just telling the truth about it, which is, oh, look at me feeling angry because I believe that they made a mistake and that mistake is making me look bad or means they don’t care. I have a bunch of thoughts about it, which triggers how I feel, and then I feel guilty because of how I feel. And then, because I feel guilty for how I feel, then I have to go over here and make them feel better. When all we have to do is notice that that’s happening and instead of getting all tangled up in everybody’s emotions, including our own, we just say, “Hey, what happened here? Can you help me know why this failure occurred?”

That’s usually not the language you use, but I’m using it just to be clear, right? What was the miss? What happened here? And I don’t have to feel personally affected, hurt, angry, burdened, helpless, overwhelmed. And I also don’t have to feel guilt for feeling that way. And I also don’t have to feel their feelings on their behalf and try to mitigate them because that’s their business, not mine.

My business is to be who I am, which is someone who has the sensory understanding of the exchange, and to still follow my own process, which is, “Hey, I noticed this didn’t happen the way we had talked about it. Why not?” Not an accusatory way and not an apologetic way. Just, let’s talk about it like humans, humans who care about each other, who see each other, who notice each other, but not necessarily need to force each other to feel better.

So I think as an empath, your ability to feel your own feelings and notice the feelings of others is a superpower. But I also think it can be like having the TV on too loud. And sometimes you have to turn the TV down, right? If you’re in a room and there’s 12 people in there and everybody’s talking and then the TV’s on, it’s just overstimulating for you and for many people. And so in that moment, when a mistake happens, a failure occurs, if you tend to be more empathic, it’s like someone cranked up the TV and now there’s too much emotional noise happening for everybody.

Your job is to recognize that’s a superpower of yours, okay, interesting, good to know. But now I need to go over here and clean up my own thoughts and release this emotional attachment I have to how they might be feeling because they made a mistake. And instead, I just need to look for the facts in all of it because the facts do not possess emotion. I can possess emotion, but the facts don’t have any. And the more I’m able to do that and do that with… You guys who’ve listened to me a long time, you know I say with love and grace in your heart, right? Like, “Hey, this didn’t happen how we thought it was going to happen. Let’s talk about it.”

Versus hiding from it because I’m so angry, hiding from it because I don’t want to embarrass you, or the opposite, yelling, being rude, dismissive, argumentative, blaming. Right? So you don’t have to save people from their own failures. That’s not your job. First of all, there’s nothing to save them from, other than feeling some emotions. And you don’t have to ignore all of it either so that you’re to the point where you are injured and now you’re trying to save someone else. How about we just tell the truth? Oh, that sucks, I wish that failure hadn’t happened. I’m going to come over here and clean up my thoughts about it. And then I’ll be able to have a CEO conversation with you about your results or lack of your results. It’s not personal.

And if I can do that on the regular, I learn that I can feel the emotions and process them. You learn that you’re responsible for your own emotions and I’m not going to bring mine into the conversation. And you learn that I’m also not going to save you from your own emotions. It’s not my job. Now, a lot of us don’t talk about this very much at work, right? Because again, this is I think part of the empath’s journey, is we think that we’re either on or off. You’re either healing people or you’re not. You’re either teaching and mentoring and guiding and using your ability to intuit and experience that, or you’re not.

And I think that’s why a lot of women don’t even call themselves a CEO because it feels too cold. It almost, it feels like the antithesis of who you think you are in the world. You’re a healer, you’re a teacher, you’re a guide, you’re a coach, you’re an advisor, right? Or maybe you think of yourself as a founder, a creator. But not a CEO. A CEO is too businessy, it’s too cold, it’s too formal. I think for a lot of women, they see it as a separator somehow. And it’s exactly why I really want to encourage my clients to use the language of CEO, to call themselves a CEO, because it’s how we will claim the position and the role and redefine it. Right?

I said this a while ago, there’s plenty of women who haven’t been invited to the table. So how about we go over here and build our own table? And let’s redefine what it means to be a leader. Let’s claim that leadership is feminine and let’s own that we can lead and manage and be managing leaders, who can tap into the superpower of empathy and understanding and listening. All these skills that we’ve been told for years are the soft skills. It’s just a lie. And instead, let’s leverage them. Let’s understand them. Let’s lean into them without letting them weaken us, because I think they actually make you stronger.

So when you see someone fail, you have to understand that as an empath, your first reaction will be to help them compensate for the failure, because you can see what they’re feeling. You can feel it, not to mention your own feelings. But how about instead, we just acknowledge, of course, everybody’s going to have feelings about this. Failing sucks. But it’s not my job to take care of that for them. And it’s also not their job to not make mistakes so I don’t feel bad. All we’re going to do is say, “Oh, there we go. There’s a failure. Let me come over here and do my work.” Think about it, “How do I want to choose to think instead?” And then invite you to the discussion, like, “What happened here?” Okay?

So I hope this is landing in a way for you to really think about where you unconsciously choose to save people from their own failures. And how does that deplete you? How does that keep you from being honest and authentic? And how is it suppressing you? Because when that’s what’s happening, you are not standing in your own voice and in your own power as a leader. And this is the work I want to do in the retreat, is to really invite you to look at these very specific leadership and managing challenges that I know you’re facing as a woman running a company, that I believe you believe are unique to you. And that you might even tell yourself, you’re not cut out to manage people. You take things too personally, you’re too sensitive, you’ve been told you’re too sensitive. It just feels like sandpaper all the time. It’s too noisy.

You aren’t alone. And it’s why I do what I do, it’s why I created what I created. Because in order for me to function as a leader, I had to build practices that I could leverage so that I could be the leader I wanted to be and not get too tangled up in the emotional part, the energy part of what happens between people every day. So a lot more to come, I certainly appreciate your thoughts and opinions. Thanks for tuning in today. Go to theempathicceo.com to sign up for our invitation list for the virtual retreat at the end of February.

One more thing before you go. In a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live, because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of, and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoceolive.com to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.

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