156: Giving and Receiving Feedback with Karen Weeks

Almost everyone universally dislikes giving and receiving feedback. No matter how experienced you are, feedback can still cause anxiety, defensiveness, frustration, disappointment, guilt and many more unpleasant emotions. Yet, feedback is a critical element to professional growth and cultivating a healthy workplace. Learning how to give, and receive, feedback without the emotional toll can be a game changer for managers.

Today’s guest is Karen Weeks. Karen’s purpose is helping organizations build amazing cultures while guiding individuals to find fulfillment in their careers. Currently, she’s the Senior Vice President of People at Ordergroove. Karen is also a career coach, award-winning people & culture advisor, speaker, published author, and podcast host.

Karen and I talk about all things feedback. How to prepare to give feedback so the conversation goes as smoothly as possible, how to role model and make feedback part of your regular management practice, how to move from feedback to solutions for the future, and so much more.

As a special guest bonus, members of the Modern Manager can get one of five copies of Karen’s book Setting the Stage: A Guide to Preparing for any Feedback Conversation. To be eligible to get this guest bonus, and all the other guest bonuses, become a member by going to themodernmanager.com/join.

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Read the related blog article: How To Create A Culture Of Feedback At Work


Book: Setting the Stage

Website: https://www.karendweeks.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-d-weeks-sphr-ms-5965775/
Twitter: @career_changers
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/337551064291579
Podcast: Getting Off the Hamster Wheel – Finding Joy, Fulfillment & Success in Your Career
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC640S1XJWcb2Ynu9Xk0GcHQ/featured?view_as=subscriber

Key Takeaways:

  • For many managers, giving feedback is hard no matter how advanced you are in your career.
  • Feedback is not always straightforward. It can rely on perceptions or interpretations, and feel very personal.
  • Create a schedule of consistent monthly or weekly times for sharing feedback with your team members. This will help reduce the anxiety about feedback conversations while building a trusting culture of personal development.
  • Gather all the data you can before giving feedback. Reflect on the situation more broadly. Is this a new or pattern of behavior? Have you addressed it before?
  • During the feedback meeting, lead with questions instead of assumptions. How did they feel about their performance? What is their perspective? Get a sense of their own awareness of the situation or problematic behavior.
  • Learn about each person’s individual motivations by asking directly or doing staff personality tests. Tie feedback to whether their performance is helping or hurting those goals.
  • Role-model taking feedback well by staying calm and responding with gratitude for the opportunity to learn. Ask for feedback on your own performance regularly.
  • If things get too heated, it’s okay to take a breather and regroup later that day or the next, after people have had the chance to calm down and reflect more.
  • Feedback conversations should always include at least initial thinking on how to improve going forward. Explore options for training and support to help your teammate overcome a challenge or learn a new skill.
  • Ask if there is anything you can do differently to make the situation better going forward.
  • Let the person know that you are giving them feedback because you care about them and believe feedback is a critical component to growth. Acknowledge that it may be hard to hear, but that you value the person which is why you are sharing it.


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