Newsletter – October 20, 2021

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Build trust through feedback with these 5 tools

Hi friends,

To experience belonging, stay engaged, and do their best work, your team members need to believe:

  • You value them (including and beyond their day-to-day work).
  • You have their back and have created a space safe enough for vulnerability, realness, and mistakes.
  • You are effective at your job: you manage well, you make solid decisions, you prioritize equity in process and outcomes, and the team’s better because you are around.
  • You have integrity: you honor commitments and speak truthfully and directly—no smoke and mirrors.

The challenge is that, as leaders, we often don’t get feedback from the people we manage in these areas—even when we ask. That’s because, all too often, we haven’t built the trust needed to make these conversations safe enough for the people who report to us, or we haven’t created structures to normalize the meaningful two-way dialogue that leads to deeper engagement.

So, let’s work those feedback muscles. When you seek—and respond well to—feedback, you strengthen relationships and contribute to a culture of growth, candor, and rigor. Use these refreshed resources on giving and receiving feedback to help you model openness and create space for real dialogue and trust.

1. Get calm, then curious.

Feedback can activate your social threat response, so start by calming your defenses so you can listen, engage, and learn. In How to Receive Feedback (Part 1), we share our best advice to help you model the culture you’re aiming to build.

2. Look beneath the surface.

Creating space for vulnerability and realness requires honest insight into the ways power and marginalization show up on your team. In How to Receive Feedback (Part 2): Power, Difference, and Inequity, we help leaders look deeper at feedback on diversity, inclusion, equity, belonging, and culture. Learn to spot the icebergs:

A graphic of an iceberg in an ocean that shows five layers. The layer above the surface of the water says "Presenting conflict: what you think it is." The layers below the surface, from top to bottom, say: "Underlying issue: related to the immediate work (often dicey)"; "Relational issue: where trust between you can be built or broken"; "Structural issue: connects to patterns of disparate impact in the org"; and "Systemic issue: mirrors systemic oppression in the world." In the bottom right corner, there's an asterisk that says "focus here first." This note refers to the "underlying issue" and "relational issue" layers of the iceberg. On the left, a curly bracket points to the layers beneath the surface and there is text that says "better to surface more layers of the iceberg."

3. Practice makes… progress.

In Give More (and Better) Feedback, we help you affirm, grow, and guide your team using our updated CSAW framework to think through three common types of feedback—positive, developmental, and corrective.

4. Create opportunities.

Normalize feedback during your regular check-ins by using our 2×2 feedback system.

5. Look for on-ramps.

When it’s time to course-correct, don’t look for the exit. Use these on-ramps to Push Toward Excellence (with Heart), set a high bar, and model the honesty you want in return.


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