If you don't know if you're really landing the message right and you're really uncomfortable, that might create a little bit of nerves and anxiety that makes the message not land well, and I hate to say it, but when we're uncomfortable and we're feeling awkward, sometimes that really puts a filter on how we communicate a hard message.
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Welcome back to the show. Today, I wanted to talk about how to give difficult feedback. This is probably one of the most common questions I get from managers. Okay, I'm okay giving feedback. I don't love giving feedback, but I'm okay at it. But when it comes to delivering a hard message, and I know the other person is gonna be disappointed, I know that I'm delivering news I don't want to hear I get totally I freeze up, I feel awkward. I'm sweating uncomfortably the whole thing sucks, I don't want to do it makes me maybe think I don't really want to be a manager, should I just quit now do I have to do this all again, stuff comes up, when we don't want it deliver a hard message. Because it sucks, it's hard to have a hard message, right? That's not something that we want to do. And that's okay, that means you have empathy and compassion for your team members, you don't want them to feel bad. Or, you know, maybe you feel really disappointed in the outcome yourself.
And this is where we want to start from and we have to give a hard message is feeling for the other person feeling with them. And understanding how it might be disappointing. And then communicating from that place. Because we have to deliver a hard message. And we say, hey, this didn't work out, this didn't happen, you know, get over it, or it's not a big deal or express really no remorse or anything for the situation, that person is going to feel crushed, they're going to feel sad, and then like this person doesn't care about them, and there's no way forward.
So to get better at delivering hard feedback to deliver a difficult message, the first first thing we have to do is feel for that other person putting ourselves in their headspace. What will it feel like to receive this news, I didn't get that promotion, I didn't get picked for this project, I didn't get the job I was really excited about. And I really, really wanted it. So first, we want to think about an example in a moment in our experience, when we felt that disappointment. And just to either close our eyes or visualize it and go back there and let it sink in. And that's going to help us establish some of that empathy, and that compassion for when we have the conversation. So that's how to get your head in the zone to really think about well, what connection can I make with myself? How can I how can I really feel for this person.
Now the next thing is when we have a conversation with someone sharing that news, making time for the meeting in and of itself, this is a logistical thing. We don't want to deliver hard news and have someone processing and then we're like, Oh, I gotta drop, I gotta go to the next meeting gotta go. We want to give them space. That is how we demonstrate compassion. That's how we demonstrate support, giving enough time. So when you have to have a hard conversation, look at your calendar, put a 15 minute or 30 minute buffer after that meeting, make sure that you can give it proper time so that you can talk through it, or block out time later in the day where you can say, hey, let's come back together, give you a few hours to think about it and regroup later. That's number two making time. So first is is putting yourself in the headspace seconds making time. Third, is the tone you bring to the conversation. A tone is means more than the words that are said. And so when we when we come into the conversation, kind of short, kind of spaced out kind of checked out, or, Hey, this is what happened. Just demonstrating empathy in your tone. I have some news that I know is really hard to share. I know it's disappointing, I know it's frustrating. Think about how I just said that versus, hey, I wanted to share the news, you didn't get promoted. And let's talk about what to do from there. What like the second person doesn't give a shit about my feelings, right? We want to bring the tone, we want to make sure that the way we're communicating the body language, the eye contact, all of that is there, because that's going to help the message land.
Next thing want to take responsibility. We want to say hey, I know that this is disappointing, you didn't get that promotion. And as I was reflecting on here's some of the things that I I wish I had done differently, better manage expectations. Talk to you more about how the process works. Share that okay, it wasn't a shoo in. There were some of these factors that really needed the lineup. Take your responsibility shows that you understand this person didn't just blindly blow the situation. There was other factors at play, and you as their manager, as the person that was there supporting them recognizes, hey, there was something I could have done it differently and there's something I will do next time for you. So that's What's really important about that is when you take responsibility, you show that you are there caring for them, supporting them through helping them get through the situation.
And then that's the last thing, talking about how you will support them and moving forward. Okay, using the same example, I really understand that it's really disappointing, you didn't get that promotion, I know how hard you worked, it was really close, there was a couple things we need to adjust, I take responsibility for not having worked through that more with you and talking through the feedback more. And so here's what I want to do next time, boom. And now spell out the plan. Come back to me, let's talk about what the gaps were, make a plan. And let's talk about how I can support you in in closing those gaps. We want to make sure people see that it's okay to both be disappointed and feel supported by your manager. We want them to see that it's okay to feel frustrated. And I'm still here for you. So this is about holding space for the big feelings and the big emotions and the things that are there. And still being there as a rock as a support to help them work through it. And I have seen managers find the biggest transformations in people, when they use this framework of communicating with empathy, putting yourself in that person's shoes of being compassionate of imagining what the disappointments like of expressing their own, and taking responsibility of talking about how they're going to support closing the gaps.
I have seen people completely turn around in three months, there's some gaps that they needed to fill, they missed that promotion, or they missed that, you know, opportunity they wanted. And they saw their manager was there to support them. And they turned it around. And I've seen people not turn anything around when they don't have that. Because when you don't do this, let's talk about that for a minute. When you don't set the stage for a hard conversation. Or that something's disappointing or that someone has your support. They might feel like well, there's no gaps. It's not my fault. It's everyone else's fault. There's nothing I need to address and I'm just going to be pissed off now. And think this place isn't supporting me, This place isn't for me, I'm in the wrong job. I've been there. When I've given a given feedback. This thing didn't work out for you, you know wasn't time yet. We'll come back to it later, when I've given been given hard feedback with complete dismissiveness of my effort and my feelings and my, you know, all my stuff. I've thought, wow, nope, this is not the job for me. This is not somewhere I can grow. Because this person didn't care. This person doesn't even care how frustrating this is. They don't see how hard I worked. Those are the questions. Those are the feelings that are running through your team members mind when we don't hold that space for them. So if you want to be able to have progress after it's hard conversation after this difficult feedback, which I know you do, because you're tuning into this episode, then you have to create the right conditions for that.
And if you're struggling with how to deliver a hard message, stress, test it with a colleague, ask your own manager, get feedback from a partner or a friend someone talk about, say the message roleplay it, okay? Because if you don't know if you're really landing the message, right, and you're really uncomfortable, that might create a little bit of nerves and anxiety that makes the message not land well. And I hate to say it, but when we're uncomfortable, and we're feeling awkward, sometimes that really puts a filter on how we communicate a hard message. And when we're uncomfortable, we may cut it short or not get the words out well, or if we're seeing if we're experiencing strong emotions, not know how to handle them. And so role playing, it can be really, really helpful to hear yourself saying the words to hear maybe some pushback that someone else has. So ask the person that's role playing with you to really get upset about it. And to just feel good that muscle memory for how do you have hard conversation with your teams? How do you express take responsibility? How are you going to talk about closing the gaps with them, that's going to be really helpful for if you're feeling uncomfortable. And if you're feeling stuck, or you have your managing managers, and this kind of keeps going poorly for them, it's also a great time to get support. So that is a place that I love to dive in with teams, because when we're managing people, and they're not quite getting it, they need to also be doing a lot more work across their own situation. If you're managing managers, this is even more important, because you're going to see that, you know, your culture either is strong, and people show empathy and compassion and have hard conversations together. Or you start to see feedback avoidance.
And this is something that can be really difficult when you're a few steps removed. So you want to really work to establish a culture around we give difficult feedback, we have hard conversations. And we do that on a foundation of trust, empathy, compassion, and beyond. Feedback is one of my favorite, favorite favorite topics to dive into with teams. So if you want to have a conversation around supporting your teams and giving effective feedback and giving difficult feedback, having hard conversations, please reach out. 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 and where everyone can thrive I always love to hear from you so please reach out at Lia garvin.com or message me on LinkedIn See you next time