Giving and Receiving Feedback, Part 2 – Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

Giving and Receiving Feedback, Part 2 – Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast


This is the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. Hey, welcome to another episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, where we are passionate about helping you become the leader that others love to follow. If you’re new with us, we release a brand new teaching on the first Thursday of every single month. I would love to invite you to subscribe, and that way we’ll send it directly to you. If you’d like show notes, you can email us at [email protected] You can ask us questions, if there’s something you want to hear about, you can tell us. If you’ve got an idea to make this better, you can tell us. If you would like to send you the show notes, you can request that, and then every single month we’ll send you a detailed summary of the notes. I know that a lot of you go over this with your teams and I just think that’s brilliant when we learn together, we have the same language and the same experience in learning, I think it’s really valuable. I also want to say thank you to those of you who are sharing about this, inviting co-workers to listen or sharing on social media. Rating it and reviewing it is very helpful as well, so just want to say thank you. Today we’re going to do part two of feedback, talking about feedback. But before we do that, I wanted to address a couple of questions that you wrote in about. We’ll start with Steven, Steven asked this question, “Would you describe to me the first 60 to 90 minutes “of your ideal morning?” “What are non-negotiable decisions that you made beforehand “to launch your day in the ideal direction.” Steven, I know a lot of people talk about this, a lot of the podcasts I listen to are like crazy into their mornings. My mornings are predictable and a little bit boring, but I will answer your question. I like to get up early, and so I always have my alarm set, but it rarely goes off. I always seem to wake up ahead of time, and I get up excited about the day. I have the same routine, kind of boring, but I drink a protein shake, and then I make oatmeal with a few berries, probably more details than you cared about, but that’s what I do. I do a very personal daily devotional time, which includes reading the Bible, I have some declarations that I say every day, and I have a time of prayer. Then I read a few news apps, just so I’ll know what’s going on in the world. And then I get into the office. I’m usually the first one in the office. I like that, because I’m most creative in the mornings, and so what I do in the morning time is I don’t take any meetings. I’ll bet you I haven’t had a breakfast meeting, honestly, in seven or eight years. It’s just a very sacred time for me where I’m creating content. I’m writing messages, I’m doing leadership content. A big portion of my job is writing content. It’s the most difficult thing for me to do, and the morning is the only time I do it well, and so I guard that time like crazy. Then, to tell you a little bit more, I wrap up the day early. I like to have a hard end on my day. It makes me delegate, it makes me say no to things I shouldn’t do, it makes me make faster decisions, and so I like to start as early as I can, but I do have a hard end to the day. That’s a little bit of my day. I’ll deal with Nicole’s question, Nicole asked this, “At what point do you keep some things a secret, “or do you not at all?” Nicole said, “I find that there are some issues “that keep coming up in upper leadership, “and I think it causes frustration “with the folks that I manage. “I’m not sure where the balance is between telling all “and using wisdom on what to tell or not.” Good question, Nicole. Here’s what we know, we know that transparency builds trust. Transparency builds trust. So, as often as we can, we want to lead with transparency. But, another thing that builds trust is truth. Transparency and truth build trust. So, everything said should be true. But remember this, not everything true should be said. This is a really important principle for leaders, that everything said should be true, but everything that’s true doesn’t need to be said. So, instead of using the word secret, which kind of implies something negative. Let’s lean towards using words like discretion or confidential. I like to say this, if something cannot be easily understood by the whole team, then maybe we want to keep it confidential until we have the ability to bring clarity and context in a way that makes sense for everyone to know. If there’s a reason to hold information for later, or maybe the timing’s not right for everyone, then we want to keep it confidential. For example, we’ve purchased land in a couple of cities to start new church locations, but we haven’t announced it yet because something could go wrong, we haven’t received approval from the city. So, instead of saying everything early, there’s certain things we keep confidential until we feel like there’s the right time. Now, Nicole, one of the places that, I think, many organizations make mistakes when it comes to sharing or not sharing is in transitioning team members. What I want to say, when you’re transitioning someone out, my encouragement is tell the most loving version of the truth. The most loving version of the truth. Sometimes people don’t tell the truth, and this is really, really dangerous. So if we’re transitioning someone, I might say, well, this person wasn’t in the right spot, we tried to make it work but it didn’t quite work, so we made a change. Telling the truth, I’m not being rude. Or, we appreciate so and so, but it became clear that we had different values, and since we weren’t on the same page, we decided to make a change. What we’re doing here, is we’re telling the truth, we’re not being dishonoring, but, we don’t want to say, well they just got led to do something different. It’s just not true, we’ll tell them we made a change, it was our decision. Especially when someone fails morally, and I’m in a non-profit situation where behavior matters, even behavior outside the job matters a lot. And so, if a person’s in a public role, what I do is I always tell the most loving version of the truth. And if they’re in a public role, sometimes it demands a public explanation. And so, I’ll just say it. I’ll say something like, you know, this person was unfaithful, and in our church we have standards for being a pastor, and so we terminated this person, I’ll say we released this person. And then I’ll explain what we did for them. Like, well we gave them a six months severance package, and we’re paying for counseling to help them get better. And so, it’s the most loving version of the truth, but the truth really matters. When we’re consistently and generally transparent, people will understand that some details need to be kept to a smaller circle. That’s not being untrustworthy, what that is is being wise as a leader. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, use wisdom and lead strong. Let’s review the content from last month’s episode. We talked about receiving feedback, today we’re going to talk about giving feedback. Review, big thoughts. Without honest and timely feedback, your personal and organizational growth is always limited. Why? Because we are blind to so many different things about ourselves. We have no idea what we don’t know. Our blind spots are all around us. Many people would say, well we don’t do feedback in our organization. That’s not true, feedback is everywhere. This is what we learned. Feedback is common, helpful feedback is rare. So what are we going to do? As leaders, we’re going to develop a culture of honest, timely, and helpful feedback. Why? Because your unwillingness to accept and give feedback will ensure your inability to achieve growth. What do we need to learn about receiving feedback? Number one, we don’t dread feedback, we crave it. Remember, feedback is the number one tool that helps us grow. So, feedback is not something that we endure, feedback is something that we embrace. Number two, we separate the do from the who. One reason we don’t like feedback that tell us how to improve is because we feel like people are criticizing who we are, that’s not true. The best feedback is all about what we do, not who we are. It’s about actions and performance, not about identity. Whenever we find ourselves getting the most defensive, remember, that’s the the point where we say oh, this may be the place where I have the most need to learn, the most opportunity for growth. Number three, we’re going to ask clarifying questions. General questions rarely lead to helpful feedback. So, when you hear something in a feedback session you don’t fully like or you don’t understand, don’t push back and say that’s not true about me, instead, train yourself to say, tell me more. Help me understand. Then, whenever possible, try to get feedback before game day. If you can give feedback on a presentation, on a written document, on a speech. Anything you can get feedback on before the actual game day can help you get better. So we’re not just getting feedback on the backside of performance, when possible we’re going to get feedback on the front side. It’ll make you better, and it will value those around you. I love the Andy Stanley quote, I want to say it again. “Leaders who don’t listen to others “will eventually be surrounded by people “who have nothing to say.” Listening to feedback values those around us and it helps us get better. Bottom line is this, helpful and honest feedback can be the difference between you being a good leader and a great leader. Now let’s dive into new content. We’re going to talk about factors that matter in giving feedback. The last episode we talked about receiving feedback, today we’re going to talk about the art of giving feedback. Three big things to talk about. Number one is when, number two is how, number three is who. When, how, and who. What matters in giving feedback. The first thing is when. When you give it matters. When you give feedback matters. For some organizations, and this may be true for yours, the most common time for feedback is the annual performance review. And what I want to tell you is that is months too late. That’s months too late. What we want to do is what Ed Batista says, his quote is this, “Make feedback normal, not a performance review.” Make feedback normal, not a performance review. The biggest win is to make feedback immediate and normal. So, when there’s performance, there’s feedback very, very quickly. Because what’s evaluated improves. So, if someone totally messes up a project, and they’re in the middle of the game, like they’re in the middle of a project, and it’s just going bad, that may not be the right time to give feedback because that could be devastating to them. But what you want to do is you want to wait until just after it, give them some time to emotionally recover, and then give them feedback. For example, I used to drive between churches when I would teach on the weekend, and there’s one particular weekend when I was with Paco, who’s my workout partner, who would drive me back and forth, I came out after my second message, and I had two more to go, and he said, you know your outfit just looks horrible, and your message isn’t really making a lot of sense. And I just looked at him and said, my outfit’s fine and the message is the best I’ve got. In other words, I couldn’t change my outfit, and the message was already done, so feedback at that moment wasn’t really valuable. Feedback the next day might have been more valuable because it was after the emotion wouldn’t have been quite as strong, and it would have been what I could have done something the next time. So you want to be wise about when you give it. But we want to give feedback as close to the performance as is wise. Performance happens and then as close to after the performance is wise is what we want to do. Occasionally, and I want you to pay careful attention to this, occasionally we might want to give public feedback. In other words, we may want to give feedback to someone in front of others. Whenever the feedback’s great, this is always a good time to give feedback. Because what you’re doing is you’re rewarding that person, you’re showing value, and you’re helping everyone else see why that behavior was valuable. So, positive feedback publicly can be a teaching moment, as well as honoring the person. Occasionally though, you’ll want to give public feedback when it is corrective in nature, and I want to kind of tell you why. Because you might actually be doing the person a favor by letting everyone else know that the issue is resolved. And let me just be clear, this takes some real finesse. If you don’t do it right, it can hurt the person, it can lose trust with everyone else, and it can make you look really foolish as a leader. For example, let’s say you’re in a meeting and someone is totally out of line, they’re really disrespectful, and they’re really, really rude. If you don’t address that in the moment, then you’re actually going to devalue the other team members. You could actually correct that person later, and say hey, what you did was really inappropriate, but you’re really going to do that team member a favor by addressing it publicly because, you’re saying to everyone else that I noticed this happened and I addressed the situation. So again, you have to be really careful with this, because if you do it with the wrong heart, the wrong attitude, the wrong tone, you can devalue the person, you can hurt everyone else, and you can make yourself look foolish. But done in the right spirit, correcting somebody publicly can be a teaching moment and actually can occasionally do them a favor. This is when you have to be wise as a leader. You might not always get it right, but you want to always have a humble and a right spirit toward it. When you give it matters. Again, after the performance, as early as wise, we want to give the feedback. Because that’s when people are most ready to learn. The second thing that matters is how you give the feedback. What I like to do is I like to define not only what is happening in a feedback conversation, but I also like to define what’s not happening. I’d give you the source, but I just can’t remember where I read it. But, in one book I read they talked about creating a climate of safety. What I want to do is, if we’re sitting down, I’m giving you feedback, you’re going to be all nervous. Like, oh my gosh, what’s he going to say, am I going to lose my job, am I in trouble, and so you want to tell him what’s not happening. Hey, what’s not happening is your not in trouble at all. You know, you’re doing a great job, and I want to help you improve. You know, and sometimes you just have to say, you’re not getting fired, and you have to be that clear. It’s kind of like when you get an exam back from the professor, you want to find out what’s the grade on it, you want to know where you stand before you start reading all the comments. And so what we want to do is create a real climate of safety with the people that we’re giving feedback to by letting them know what’s not happening. We’re taking whatever fears they have off the table so they can breathe a sigh of relief, and say okay, now I’m ready to receive. When we’re showing feedback, we want to be really really kind in heart and in spirit. In attitude, emotives, because this is going to come across in our body language. We want to really show people that we care about them, the feedback is all about helping them improve. I love what John Maxwell says. He says, “People may hear your words, “but they feel your attitude.” People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. I like to think of feedback in two different categories. The first category is appreciation, and the second one is coaching. If I’m giving feedback I’m either appreciating or I’m coaching, and whenever possible, I like to separate the two. In other words, anytime I can show appreciation without coaching, I want to do it. What I want to do is I want to let the win be clean. I want to tell you you’re doing a great job, specifically appreciate your performance or your behavior, without clouding it with the suggestion of how you can do something better. I want to talk about just appreciation culture. We’ll do maybe a couple episodes on this in the future, but you want to make sure appreciation is a regular part of your culture. So many of your team members, they simply want to know that you notice the effort that they’re putting in, the hard work, the attention to details. And, if you don’t ever appreciate, then they don’t often know where they stand. And I just want to say, don’t assume they know how much you appreciate them or how much you value them. Anytime you think something good, say it, show it, write it down, send them a text, be as specific as possible. Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate. As often as you can with feedback, let appreciation stand on it’s own. Appreciation without coaching lets the appreciation be a clear win in their mind. Then, when you’re coaching, try to keep it focused on one or two areas. In other words, I’m not going to come to you with 15 different things you can do to improve. That’s going to overwhelm you, and it’s going to discourage you. What I want to do is I want to pick the one or two most important areas that are going to have the highest return, and I want to start there. Just, here’s one area or two areas, and this will help the person have a sense of I can actually improve in this area. Then, tell the truth, and be very very specific on what they can do to get better. Don’t just say, you know, you aren’t good with people. Tell them very specifically here’s what you can do. You might come in with a thought out plan of here’s a book you can read, here’s a mentor you can work with, here’s a seminar you can go to, here’s an assignment, here’s what I’m going to help you do, but you want to be very, very, very, very specific. And when you do, think about how the feedback will make them feel. Be very intentional and try to put yourself in their shoes, so you can give the specific feedback in the way that is truthful, but also, is very very caring. Something that I’ve learned as well in working with people is to try to help them separate in their mind the difference between intention and impact. Intention and impact. Because, let’s think about it. It’s really rare that a team member intentionally does something that hurts an organization. If someone is consistently doing something to hurt an organization, I want them out of my organization. So, the vast majority of our team members will rarely intentionally do something. So what we want them to do, although their intentions may have been good, or at least their intentions were neutral. We want to show how their actions actually impacted the organization or the people around them. So we want to show them very clearly and specifically how their actions or inaction’s, no matter their intentions, impacted those around them. For example, we might say, you know when you’re late, it makes everyone else feel like you don’t care. It doesn’t matter if it’s traffic or you didn’t mean to be, but your actions, this is what it communicated. Or, when you cross your arms and frown, everyone else thinks your upset and they don’t want to work around you, and so we’re showing them. Well, that wasn’t what I intended. Well, it doesn’t matter what you intended, this is what your actions communicate. This was the impact of your actions. Or, whenever you criticize something before the person’s ever finished speaking, you appear to have a bad attitude and no one else wants you around in meetings. Well that wasn’t my intention. It doesn’t matter your intention, that was the impact of your body language and your actions. And so, we want to separate their intentions from the impact, and that can really help them see how their actions impact others. When you give it matters, how you give it matters, and who gives feedback matters. If you are the receiver, and you don’t like or respect the person who’s giving feedback, it’s very, very difficult to receive. We all know that. Some people, honestly, are more difficult to receive from than others. What you want to do is just remember that they have a very different perspective and different is valuable. A different perspective is very, very valuable. Because where they sit determines what they see. The person who sits at the front desk sees things different than a person in the executive office. The person who sits on the board sees things differently than the person in an office. Where you sit determines what you see. So the most important factor is to let them know that you care about them as a person. When they win, you want to celebrate the loudest. When your coaching them, you want to celebrate their improvements along the way. You, as the leader, set the tone. Let me just say this. You as the leader set the tone for the feedback culture in your organization. Nothing affects your organization more than the executive leader’s willingness to seek and receive feedback. If you want a great feedback culture, you have to be the first one to go seek it out, and you have to receive it from others. The higher you rise, the more difficult it is to get the truth out of people. Because the more powerful you are, the stronger you are as a leader, the more people are going to tell you what you think that you want to hear, and that’s when you become incredibly vulnerable. You have to work really, really hard to receive feedback. I received feedback two years in a row on an anonymous 360 degree feedback that changed my leadership. If you’ve never done an anonymous 360 review, I highly recommend it. It’s never, ever fun. But you let people all throughout the organization anonymously review your leadership. And what happened is, several years ago, my feedback came back that I was distracted and wasn’t engaging deep in the organization. And the first year, I was really mad about it. I was like, find out who these people are, because I want to see them. Obviously that didn’t happen. The second year, the feedback came back, and it was almost exactly the same. And what I had to realize is that I actually was somewhat distracted, and I wasn’t engaging deep with the leaders in our organization. And it completely gave me a wake up call that reengaged me fully in the heart of what I care about most, and now I work very intentionally to lead all through the course of our organization, and it completely changed my leadership. You as a leader have to seek it. If you don’t seek and receive feedback, your team will never, ever do it. One of the most important things you can do for your organization is be one who seeks out and intentionally receives feedback. It helps you get better, it helps the whole team get better. Let’s review factors in giving feedback. When you give it matters. For some organizations, the most common time is a performance review, that’s months too late. How you give it matters. Start by clearly defining what’s happening and what’s not happening. We’re going to create a climate of safety. You’re not in trouble, this is here just to help you get better. It’s difficult to receive feedback from someone that we don’t like, so what we’re going to do is we’re going to communicate care. We really, honestly care about people. John Maxwell says, “People may hear your words, “but they feel your attitude.” We’re going to think of feedback in two categories, appreciation and coaching. When we can, we’re simply going to appreciate. We’re going to let the win be clean. We’re going to make sure appreciation is a regular part of our culture. When coaching, we’re going to keep it focused on one, maybe two different areas. The most important areas that have the highest impact. We’re also going to separate intention from impact. I know you didn’t mean to, but here’s how your actions impacted the people around you, and that can be very valuable in giving feedback. Who gives it matters. It’s difficult to receive feedback from someone that we don’t respect. But we have to remember, where we sit determines what we see. We’re going to help the receiver know that from where we sit, here is exactly what we see, and this is why we think it can help you get better. Again, you as a leader, set the tone. There’s nothing more important than you seeking out feedback. By you modeling this, it can become a regular part of your organization’s culture, and this will strengthen the organization more than you can imagine. Application questions, there are three of them. This is where the rubber meets the road. Number one. Has your unwillingness to give honest feedback robbed a team member from an opportunity to grow? Think about it. Has your unwillingness, you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you don’t want to take the time, whatever it is. Has your unwillingness to give honest feedback robbed a team member from an opportunity to grow. Be honest about why you haven’t given the feedback, and then do something about it. Number two. Which words would your team members use to describe your feedback? Think about this. Which words would your team members use to describe your feedback? Sporadic, harsh, caring, helpful, loving, genuine, valuable, or maybe some other words. What words would your team members use to describe your feedback. Now, ask your team and see what they say. What can you learn from the words they’d use to describe your feedback. Number three, what is your top takeaway you’ve received that you will implement on giving or receiving feedback. What’s your top takeaway that you’ve received that you’re going to implement to change your organization for the better. Thank you again for sharing on social media, thank you for being a part of our leadership community. When the leader gets better, everyone gets better. I always say it and I’ll always mean it. Be yourself, be yourself. Why? Because people would rather follow a leader who’s always real than one who’s always right. (upbeat music) Thank you for listening to the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. You want to get even deeper into this episode, get episode resources, or learn how to connect with Craig on social media, visit life.church/leadershippodcast and download the notes for this episode. You can also sign up to have those notes delivered straight to your inbox when new episodes release. Craig’s new book, Daily Power, 365 Days of Fuel for Your Soul is in bookstores now. We learn best when we practice daily, and in this book, you’ll find truths you can apply directly to your workplace, your marriage, your family, and decisions you make every single day. With insights for every day of the year, this is a great way to start of your 2018. Pick up your copy of Daily Power by visiting craiggroeschelbooks.com. In the meantime, we’d love it if you subscribe, rate, and review the show on iTunes, so more people can learn from Craig. We’ll see you next time, on the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast. 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