A lot of times the things that seem super obvious to us weren't super obvious to our team members, and that creates a huge disconnect. And again, just like it's not something wrong with us, it's not something wrong with our team members either if they don't really know what we expect, how we wanna see something, what success looks like, when to check in, what communication norms that we have in our mind.
If they don't know those things, we can't really course correct until we've set that first. Because that's when it feels unfair.
Welcome to the Managing Made Simple podcast, where I bring a decade of experience working in some of the most influential companies in tech to help you navigate the ins and outs of being a people manager from conflicts to feedback, to delegating and more. We will leave no stone unturned when it comes to what makes us love managing, kind of hate it and everything in between.
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Super excited to be back and I'm most excited because I get to talk again. My favorite topic, feedback. And as I always say, I talk once all the time because it is one of the most challenging topics when it comes to being a manager. Most challenging topics when it comes to the workplace in general. But I think it's one of those things that we wrestle with so much as a manager, no matter how long we've been doing it, no matter how good we feel in one moment, something can always go awry.
And I was also looking at my stats for the podcast since I hit 10,000 downloads. I was super excited about that. Thank you everyone for listening. And as I was looking at, well, what are my top 10 most listened to episodes? Two of those had to do with feedback, meaning I get to make more of this content because I can see it.
Something that you're really looking for. Like I said, we all struggle with feedback from time to time, whether it's at work, whether it's in our own relationships. Man, I know we all struggle with it there sometimes too. And if you wanna get better at feedback, the giving, the receiving, the recognition, the hard conversations, all of it, then we gotta be talking about it.
And I think we have to make it more fun. We have to make it more accessible because that's how we get our teams to a better place in it. That's also why I talk about this show, because we gotta demystify it. We gotta talk about what's hard, why it sucks, and, and just push through it Today. I wanna give you one of my best secrets when it comes to giving feedback, a real quick little hack that will make it so much easier.
For you to ground the conversation in something concrete and set you up for success. You ready? All right. This tip is to remember that you cannot start a feedback conversation if you have not set expectations. Plain and simple feedback has to be grounded in expectations because my friends, without expectations, then what the hell is the feedback about?
Right? Literally, if we're not anchoring to something like expectations, What is the feedback about? That's where we get into bias. That's where we get into personality judgments. That's where we get into subjectives, well, this is the way I would do it, so you should do it that way. It's because we're not anchoring it to clear expectations.
So to overcome anxiety around feedback and what to say, first we have to ask ourselves for the is issue in question. Does my team member know what the expectations even were? And I'm gonna tell you a lot of times, way more than you think, the answer's no. That they don't. And this doesn't mean you're a bad manager, you did something wrong.
It means, Hey, wait a second. Hey, before we talk about what we wanna do differently, let's get on the same page around what we were supposed to do in the first place. A lot of times the things that seem super obvious to us weren't super obvious to our team members, and that creates a huge disconnect. And again, just like it's not something wrong with us, it's not something wrong with our team members either if they don't really know what we expect, how we wanna see something, what success looks like, when to check in, what communication norms that we have in our mind.
If they don't know those things, we can't really course correct until we've set that first, because that's when it feels unfair. If it was something that you wanted or you thought they should know, or thought they should realize or just do, but they didn't, this is where the expectation setting comes in.
Let's take an example. Let's say you run a small business, maybe in a creative agency, and you have team members who interact with clients and you're feeling like they're not being that proactive. When they deliver something new client, they say, here you go, and then they kind of wait for them to send feedback.
But what you feel like is obvious and they should be doing, is sending an email to that client a day or two later and saying, Hey, we wanna make sure everything's good. Do you have any questions? Would you like to run through it? And you are feeling frustrated because there's not that proactivity. Let's say in a similar vein, you are working in a big company and you really want your team members to be more proactive with engaging with cross-functional stakeholders, with people from different teams.
It seems so obvious to you. Of course, you need to be building relationships. Of course, you need to be talking to people that you don't work with every single day. That's how work gets done. But these things that are, of course, in your mind, again, if they're not happening with your team members, it means it's not second nature, and that has to be set as a clear expectation.
And this expectation comes before a feedback conversation saying they did something wrong. So we first want to have a one-on-one or conversation. We say, Hey, I wanna make sure we're on the same page around client interaction or around cross-functional partner and communication interaction. For these projects to be successful, it's really important to follow up with people proactively.
Next time after we have a deliverable or a big meeting, please reach out to this partner a day or two later just to check in. Okay, now you've set that expectation. Then if you don't see it or it's not being met, now you apply a feedback framework to talk about it. And that's where I love that situation.
Behavior impact framework. I know I've shared before, this is my go-to, you know, you share a situation after we delivered that client presentation behavior, we went about a week without checking back with that client and they ended up following up with us saying there was an issue and the impact of that.
So situation behavior impact was they felt like they didn't get that great of client experience or customer service. And they may go with another service in the next time. So this is not a great situation. That's why we wanna share a very specific expectation. So when we give the feedback and we say, Hey, and remember I had said we wanna follow up with those clients 24 hours later just to make sure that's why this is an issue because that didn't happen.
And then I love to add to situation behavior impact, and ask next time, will you, you follow that expectation? Send an email after 24 hours, whatever, call them. And this is where once we have the expectation, it's really clear that we're talking about the behavior, not the personality that we're talking about.
A very specific thing, not the person being bad at their job, but this one behavior wasn't working. If that team member had no idea that they were supposed to follow up with that client, if they thought that was someone else's role or that wasn't the way we do things in this company or whatever, then we cannot give feedback on something they had no idea.
This is where you get defensiveness. This is where you get people that are feeling like you're micromanaging or you just want them to do everything your way. Hear that a lot, right? Oh God, my manager, they just want me to do it Exactly how they would do it. Like why don't they understand There's more ways to do it.
Well, if you have a real reason, like this is one of our values, this is why we do this, I have found in my 10, 20 years of experience that when we follow it, 24 hours later, it results in this thing happening. We wanna share that so that the expectation makes sense to them, and then they can follow it anytime.
Anytime we're giving feedback, we wanna ask ourselves that question. Have I set clear expectations about whatever I'm gonna be sharing feedback on? And hopefully it's yes, and then we anchor the feedback to that. And it makes a really, really helpful opener as well. When we bring that situation behavior impact in, we can start with the expectation and say, Hey, I wanted to share some quick feedback on communication with our stakeholders or our cross-functional partners.
I'm noticing that boom, boom, boom, situation, behavior impact. And because you have that expectation now the person knows you're talking about that thing. Oh, it's about communication. It's about client interactions, it's about meeting agendas, it's about whatever. And then we can make it really specific because we've anchored it to, here's the thing, we're gonna talk about this.
It's not about your personality or everything's not off the rails. This is the expectation. Here's where things went a little bit sideways and here's how we can fix it. And then you make that clear ask next time, will you? This is where I think if you're struggling with feedback, how to say it, how to deliver hard message.
It makes it so much easier because it doesn't feel like it's coming outta left field. You can even get on the same page first. Like were we both clear on the expectations? Is there something I could have done differently to make this more clear? What did you think the expectations were? You can use some of these open-ended questions to get on the same page and really bring the walls down, bring the defenses down, and then we say, yeah, we weren't clear.
Those new expectations. Here's what went a little wrong. Let's do this next time we're all good, let's move forward by setting that expectation. You anchor the feedback to something objective, something not personal, something that you can both have a conversation on. This is why feedback has to, has to, has to be grounded expectations.
And the number one complaint I hear from folks on the receiving end of feedback is that it feels not justified off base or came outta left field. And this is how we avoid that completely because it didn't come outta left field. Cuz you have the expectations in this situation. You could say, well let's go back to that.
Let's see if it feels like you came on Lake Field. What, what expectations did you think we had for this? This gets us on the same page. And before we wrap, same goes for positive feedback. What were the expectations? Hey, I thought you were just gonna, you know, land one sale on this thing and you landed 20 that was freaking amazing.
You exceeded so much more. I'm so proud of you. These are the things that you did that went way above and beyond. You know, you can use the same set expectations, the anchoring around what the baseline was to talk about how much someone crushed it on a project. It's awesome for delivering positive feedback.
These were the expectations. Here's what you did and, and this is why it was so incredible, and I'm so proud of you. I'm so grateful to the work that you did. This shows people how high above the expectations they went, so they can be really excited. They can maintain that level of momentum. They see specifically what they can reproduce for next time.
We always want that when it comes to recognition. It's a great tool for constructive feedback and a great tool for positive feedback. This is why it's my number one tip anchor to expectations, and the feedback conversation will go so much better. It'll be so much more helpful, so much more objective, and it'll be game changing for how you give feedback.
And like I've said, this is my favorite, favorite topic to work with teams on. Feedback getting better and getting more comfortable with it. This will be transformational for your team, so please reach out at [email protected] to share more about your team and let's get you support if this is something you are struggling with.
I've got workshops, I've got trainings, I do group coaching on feedback, all the good stuff. Do not feel like you have to tackle this alone when feedback feels like we got punched in the gut. Okay. This means we're doing something wrong and we can make it something that, yes, as cheesy as it sounds, can be a gift.
Cannot wait to support your team. See you next time. That's all I have for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to the Managing Made Simple Podcast where my goal is to demystify the job of people management so that together we can make the workplace somewhere everyone can thrive. I always love to hear from you, so please reach out at liagarvin.com or message me on LinkedIn.
See you next time.