Intentional Leaders Podcast with Cyndi Wentland

Cultivating Candor

October 15, 2023 Cyndi Episode 123
Intentional Leaders Podcast with Cyndi Wentland
Cultivating Candor
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Has it ever crossed your mind that holding back your thoughts could be damaging your personal and professional relationships? Or that your well-intentioned feedback could be doing more harm than good? Join us in our latest podcast episode where we dissect the art of giving feedback, and how it plays a crucial role in our interactions. We venture into the realm of candidness - a quality largely admired and sought after in flourishing individuals and teams. Our discussion highlights the risks of withholding your thoughts and the potentially negative domino effect it can have on our relationships, personal development, and overall growth.

But feedback isn't just about speaking your mind, it's about doing it respectfully. We delve into how to master this fine balance. Delving further, we explore the various reactions people have to feedback, providing a fascinating insight into human dynamics. From playing the victim to avoiding confrontation altogether, we dissect the spectrum of reactions and how understanding these responses can enhance our communication skills. So, are you ready to challenge the traditional paradigms of feedback and candor? It's time to cultivate a culture that encourages growth, respect, and openness.

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Speaker 1:

Well, today we are going to talk about feedback and how to be candid. You know why? Because the last two weeks oh my goodness there has been so much discussion about this topic, not just in classes I've actually taught about how to give feedback but, very dramatically in one-on-one coaching. I had a conversation with my sister and I was prepping for a new leadership series, and the theme a huge theme is can we give each other feedback, can we be candid with one another? And, as a leader, you have to be comfortable being able to say what is on your mind, to say what you think and how you feel, oh my goodness. So I want to talk about that today, because if you Google which, of course, I did how to give feedback, there are 3 trillion 650 billion results, and that was in.35 seconds. I don't think there's an absence of how to give feedback, but I think, for the most part, it's not about not knowing how to give it. It's about our comfort level in giving it, and, for the most part, I think the voices in our head say no. What if we reframe this, though, as being candid, that we associate feedback with the characteristic of being candid, which, according to all of the researchers right now, today and in the recent past, is a wildly successful characteristic. I know you've heard of Google and maybe you've heard of their project Aristotle, but this was one of the biggest characteristics that differentiated effective, highly effective teams and those that did not perform as well was being candid and that meant that there was conflict. So I think today it means the quality of being open and honest in your expression, it means being frank, but I would also add that it needs to be respectful and it does need to be provided with a spirit of trust and caring and good intentions that were mindful of not just what we say but how we say it, and I think that is instrumental. I was in a class a few weeks back and one of the guys said and they work in a factory and he's like but hey, if something looks like shit, I'm going to just tell people like, hey, that looks like shit, why did you do it that way? And I thought, well, yeah, that is being direct and that is being well direct. But what is the effect of that on someone else? Are they going to know how to do it better? Are they going to be inspired to do it better? Are they going to learn from you as a coach when you position things in that way. Because I want to be really clear in this when I'm talking about being candid today, I am. I'm not talking about being direct and just saying whatever it is on your mind in an unfiltered, and unfiltered and offensive manner. It means that you're thoughtfully sharing your perspective and point of view with others. Now, again, I know that there's all kinds of reasons that we don't want to be candid and we don't want to give feedback to other people. Number one that I hear most consistently is I might hurt their feelings. Well, this is probably my favorite one, because nothing says I care about you and your feelings, like withholding something important from someone else. I mean, come on, there is a little bit of irony in that. So I don't want to hurt your feelings, so I'm not going to tell you something, but I'm going to think it and I might actually tell other people, as long as I don't hurt your feelings. And I kind of joke it, but it's true, right? Or sometimes we feel like that's not my place, or there'll be repercussions, or it won't matter, or they'll get mad, or I've told them before. What's challenging about all these reasons that we don't share our candid views and our feedback with other people is, what's important to know is, once we get those voices in our heads, once we notice and observe those things and once we feel like it, it's probably very much affecting our behavior towards that other person, whether we've told them those things or not. So why don't we instead focus on what we could accomplish by speaking our minds, sharing our observation and choosing candor with kindness? Because for me, those represents, because to do that, what that represents to me is that I care and respect that person, that I want that individual to be a part of a team and I want to collaborate with them. So I want to share my perspective to enhance, maybe, their performance, our performance, our team's performance. I want to make them more effective and I think that is super important to recognize that we are not criticizing people. We are sharing our honest point of view with them. So will being candid, will providing feedback, trigger some bad reactions? Of course it will. Might they take it badly? Of course they might, and I mentioned earlier in one of my other podcasts an article by Peter Bregman and it was about 13 ways we justify, rationalize or ignore negative feedback. And because that's what sometimes sharing our observations are right. It's candor, it's feedback and a lot of people will argue with it. So I'm going to go through this list super quick, because I think these are kind of fun. See if you see yourself in any of these reactions. Number one play victim, it's not my fault. Two take pride. Two take pride, it's good. That's what I always tell myself when my family says I'm stubborn, I think yes, I am determined. It's good. They're not saying it a positive way, fyi. Number three I minimize it no big deal. Number four I deny it, no, I don't. Five I avoid it like I don't need to hear any of this. Six I blame other people, I counter. Number seven what about this time? What about all the deadlines I met? You're just focusing on the one I didn't meet. Number eight attack. I did this, but you did that. Negate is number nine. You just don't know about whatever it is. I can choose number 10. Number 10 is deflect. That's not the real issue. 11, invalidate. No one agrees with you. Joke. Number 12, I never knew I was so terrible. Or 13 exaggerate. Oh, I'm such a horrible person. Have you done any of those 13? I know I have. I've probably done all of them, but two definitely exaggerate. You bet I I could actually see myself in all of them. So we are candid, we are giving feedback and that is our goal. Might it be awkward? Yes. Will you possibly be uncomfortable with the reaction when they react in one of those 13 ways? Yes, will it put you in a vulnerable spot to navigate their reaction? Yes, but does that mean you don't care enough to provide your observations to someone else and your insight? I think being in the mindset of growth, I Think being in the mindset of growth helps us to give and receive feedback in the context of becoming becoming a more Becoming, a more effective human being, or an employee or a leader, because sharing your perspective is not about someone else doing something wrong. I am very adamant about the wording constructive criticism, because I think that is a Terrible way to think about feedback and candor. Constructive criticism criticism by denda. Criticism, by definition, is judgmental. It's saying I disapprove. You cannot make criticism constructive. We have to get rid of that mindset. It's also not the feedback sandwich and it's not about hoping and Hinting that the other person will understand where we're coming from. It is about helping other people to see what they're doing and how it affects you or others. It's about wondering and observing if they're doing something that is aligned or not with their goals. It's about being a respected and trusted mirror to other people, helping them to own the reactions or consequences of their actions or interactions, or in actions. It is about expressing yourself and your perspectives in a truthful, forthright manner, and it's about taking ownership of your thoughts and views. This is about caring so much that you don't want to see other people go down a path that's ineffective or destructive or misaligned or offensive. Here are some recent examples that I've heard from people I work with. For someone, it was their boss who is not giving them their undivided attention. Their one-on-ones were very poor quality and this person wanted their boss to know that. To a co-facilitator Maybe someone in. To the co-facilitator of a meeting that's straying too far from the agenda and too Consistently goes off track with their comments. That affects you and I. That is an area that I've recently heard about. To a teammate who's not listening and is closed-minded to your suggestions in a discussion. For the employee who asks for more but then doesn't follow through or to appear who's creating a toxic environment with their negativity and complaint. Complaints. All of those situations are things that I've heard about in the last week. All of those are situations in which we can, candidly and with respect, share our thoughts and provide some insights, because embracing candor means that you care About each of those individuals in, about each of those situations, because this affects you. If it doesn't affect you and you see it, yeah, maybe you want to say hey, should I even get involved? But when it's affecting how you are able to perform or how you are able to contribute and it shapes the outcomes to be better, do you need to be candid and do you need to provide that feedback? I would argue yes, by leaning into candor. It also means that we cannot control the outcome, the person's reaction or the behavior change. So, no matter how well you position your thoughts and perspective, no matter how caring you are about sharing or how accurate you are about your perceptions or observations, the person to which you are providing the feedback may not like it, agree with it or care about it or change. But you know what? From my perspective, if that's the case, it's okay, and it's probably not as okay if they're my direct report and they need to change to meet a goal or to meet my standards or expectation. But in all the other cases, when this is not my direct report, when it's someone who is on my team or is somehow in a relationship with me, it's okay. It's everybody's individual. It's everybody's individual choice to self-actualize, to evolve and to change. But from my philosophy we do candor anyway, because that is about who we are and how we want to show up intentionally.

The Importance of Candid Feedback
Embracing Candor in Providing Feedback