00:08 Hi, I am Denise Simpson, a master life and leadership coach who helps women step into their authentic and feminine power so they can lead like visionaries, influence with grace, and create a legacy of contribution and service. You'll hear about real leadership clients with real problems navigating their success in life, business and career. If you're ready to become a masterful leader, then this podcast was made for you. So let's get started.00:47 Hey, what's happening everybody? I'm loving our intro music. I think it's so fantastic. It's not very clever, but it does the trick. Good afternoon. I hope you all are fantastic. My name is Dr. Denise Simpson. I'm happy to be with you all today. It is an important conversation we're going to have today about how managers, you, me, directors, leaders, senior level leaders, CEOs that I've helped. We want to learn how to give negative feedback positively, and it starts in our mind. I know everything starts in our mind. Mindset is so important around here, and so we're going to talk a little bit about that. But listen, if you're watching live, you're going to want to comment. You're going to want to say hello. If you're watching the replay, wherever you're watching it, you're also going to want to comment and let us know what insights you are gathering, what questions you may have.01:43 Because even if you're not here live, we're going to come back and answer those questions for you. So I hope everybody is ready for this conversation today on how you can give negative feedback positively. So this is a conversation that was brought to my attention from a client who had to deliver something really negative right before November and having to walk her through some of this is what I'm going to show you today actually. But before that, we are going to talk about a few studies that I found one in particular that showed that 70% of managers are afraid to give negative feedback or even have difficult conversations. 70% of managers are doing a really bad job in delivering negative feedback or having these difficult conversations. 70% of us out here. And so it doesn't surprise me because giving negative feedback is unnatural. It's something that we, at least I, in my little youth, my younger years watching adults argue unfairly, they did more damage than good.03:04 None of their conversing was constructive. It was quite defensive. Sometimes it was quite aggressive. So what I learned in my youth was very interesting. In your case, it may be different, but I never learned how to have constructive conversations that had negative feedback. Not until I got into leadership, not until I became a retail manager at the age of 19 at the Bath and Bodywork store leading this giant team of seasonal employees and we're in the season, my friends at Bath and Bodyworks is going bonkers. And so I had to learn how to give negative feedback. I didn't go to training for it. I didn't have role models for it. Even the toxic leaders that I had gave me an example of what not to do. And so I had to learn how to give negative feedback. So it's no wonder that this study says 70% of managers are afraid.04:10 We're afraid to give negative feedback because no one has shown us how, no one has shown us how to do this constructively. How to do this positively, because here's something that's really important, dear leaders, is that negative feedback is more often given than not in the workplace. Now, listen, I'm all for positive feedback all day every day. But what you're going to get and what you're going to learn how to do is give these negative feedback, whether it's through an employee performance review, whether it's through feedback, because a performance measurement wasn't met during a campaign or during a project, when there's a result has yielded a negative result, and perhaps it's impacting the organization's bottom line in a negative way. So you're going to have to learn to have these conversations no matter what, because listen, having positive conversations, well, that's just swell. It's swell.05:06 I mean, I love giving positive news all day, every day. But the reality is, is that we as leaders and managers, we give more negative information or feedback than not. Now, here's another really interesting study that came out. It was actually a poll that showed that 80% of workers are fearful of having scary conversations at work. Now, this is the workforce. Now we're looking at this overall, 80% of folks are fearful. They would rather avoid. They would rather ignore the fact that they have to have a scary conversation at work. And so how many of you as individual star performers, individual employees, have had to share a feedback or give negative news to your leader, right? Perhaps it's because of a coworker that was inappropriate, or perhaps it was someone not pulling their weight on the team. And so this individual employee has to go and tell their leader, listen, I'm afraid to tell you this.06:13 However, Jimmy over here has been pulling us down, and by the way, he's not even producing what he's saying he's producing in those charts. And so I'm here to tell you something really scary and I'm afraid of retaliation, and I'm afraid that this is going to come back as I'm a whistleblower or I'm the one gossiping, or I'm the one telling on our team. And so 80% of workers are saying, nah, nah, nah, nah, I don't think so. I'm too afraid to give scary news or information at work. So the fear not only in the manager, 70% of managers afraid to give negative feedback, but also in the workforce, 80% of our workers are saying, no, I'd rather just be quiet. I'd rather just quiet quit here. I'd rather just be resentful. I'd rather just be bitter. I'd rather just go on with my business and turn the other cheek.07:13 So that's interesting. So that's both sides of our workforce here, the managers and leaders and our workforce. So all around we're afraid to give negative feedback. We're afraid to give constructive feedback because we don't know how. Right? When we say negative feedback, we immediately think it's, we got to be defensive. You got to be on guard. You have to show evidence as to how you didn't do this and why it doesn't apply to you and why you were wrongfully accused. And so negative feedback is interesting, and I think it's something we need to have a conversation about because, and this is why this is so important, because communication skills as a leader is one of the most important skills that you must develop. Communication skills. That means the positive, the negative, the constructive, all of it, all of it under the umbrella, communication skills must be developed no matter whether you are an individual star performer.08:11 So if you're watching this and you are someone who's aspiring, who's not yet a leader, this is important for you to understand or what if you are an emerging leader, you are in your first leadership or management role, this is critical, dear leader to develop right now, whether you're in the senior level position, what if you're ACEO? Now, I had one CEO reach out to me. He was ACEO of a startup company, and he said, I'm reaching out because I have some really difficult news to deliver. I'm about to have a reduction in force and I'm about to fire about a dozen or so of my team members. He reached out to me because he needed help in delivering this message, this information, ACEO of a startup company. Even CEOs of startup companies are having a very difficult time delivering negative information. He asked me, can you do it?09:16 Can I just hire you to give this announcement? And I said, no, sir. No, no. That's not what we do as leaders. Here's the thing. We leaders, we're required to do the hard work. It's part of our job role. It's part of our duty and obligations. We must give negative information, but it's in how we deliver it. That's what's important. That's what I'm going to show you today. And so what happened with this client who turned into a client? I coached him through the whole process, and he gave that message. He delivered that message not only verbally in person, but also through email and a sequence of emails. And it was just a matter of getting his perspective, right? Because here's what's important. He called them his team members. He didn't call 'em employees. He had a very empathetic view of the situation, and we're going to talk about empathy versus compassion in just a moment.10:12 But here he was very conflicted in giving this very difficult news to his team members, is what he called them. And so he did get through this successfully. I coached him through from beginning all the way to the end, and he was successful in sharing that information with so much compassion. And of course, we're going to talk about empathy versus compassion. Like I said, in just a moment, this is going to be critical for us to understand the difference between the two. And that's what I showed him, the difference between the two. I said, we're going to practice compassion moving forward, and here's how you're going to deliver this information. And I even asked him, does this feel right to you? Does this feel like something you would do? Is this something that you could deliver? Does it feel natural to you? And he said, well, no.11:00 None of this feels natural. I said, well, we're going to get it to feel natural so that you're able to be present while you're giving this very difficult information. And so we walked him through that. And then of course, I went on to work for him with his teams for many years after that. But that's how we were introduced because he was having a very difficult time needing to deliver this information, a reduction in force. And it was right before the holidays, and it was critical. It was critical for him to understand, how do I deliver this? Because I am used to having difficult conversations with my manufacturers and my third party vendors, but I'm not used to giving negative information to my team members that I'm very transparent, I'm very open, but this is big and this matters greatly to me. And so it was a really great opportunity to see someone who really cared deeply about his people and really wanted to make sure that they felt seen and understood, and that it was an unfortunate circumstance.12:08 Things needed to happen, and here was here, here was the problem. And then here are the solutions to that problem. He even got them involved in helping solve for the problem, so they didn't feel like they were completely excluded, that they had nothing to do with the say of this reduction in force. And so it was a very, very interesting project that I had a wonderful time doing with him. Really, it was a learning lesson for me as well. And so I just want for you to understand, we're going to have to have these difficult conversations no matter what. This isn't something we can avoid. And so we need to face the facts. And the facts are that when emotion is high, logic is low, emotion is high. That even includes joy and happiness and excitement. Exhilaration, right? The good and the bad, right? The sorrowful, the dreadful, the hopelessness, right?13:04 The defeat. So when emotion is high, either positive or negative, logic is low. And there's plenty of research that shows what's happening in the brain when that happens, right? It's the flooding of the prefrontal cortex of these neurochemicals, which are your emotions. And so here you are trying to think logically and reasonably through a very difficult conversation, but your emotions have flooded your thinking, your reasoning, your logic brain. And so this is why we as leaders need to prepare ourselves. That's why I said the mindset's important. And yes, we're going to take some action from our mindset, but I want for you to understand that, and that's going to lead us into what I want for you to do first. So I want for you to consider compassion and empathy as someone in the pool drowning. I know it's a little interesting analogy, but hang on, hang with me because this is going to be very clear after I share this analogy with you.14:13 So I always tell my clients, I want for you to leave empathy. Yes, the word empathy, the emotion of empathy for your family and your loved ones. I've always said, empathy has no business in business. Now, what I want for you to consider is practicing compassion instead. Now, I know some of you, Brene brown lovers out here are going to go, what? You're crazy. Some of you emotional intelligence people like the Daniel Goldman tribe out here who swear by empathy, I don't. It's something I completely disagree with. And the reason why is that empathy is responding to others' emotions, right? So is compassion, compassionate empathy. We're responding to somebody else's emotions, okay? Think about this. An empathetic person, however, sees things very differently than the compassionate person. So the empathetic person is looking at the person across the table from them and is attempting to feel the same emotion that that person is feeling.15:22 So if that person across the table from them is feeling despair, is feeling defeated, is feeling grief or whatever, negative emotion, the empathetic leader is wanting to feel the same emotions because they are stepping into their shoes versus the compassionate leader who say, no, I acknowledge you. And it's unfortunate that you're feeling this way. It's unfortunate this has happened to you. I can feel your emotions. I know I can only imagine what you're going through. And actually, I may have gone through that once before, but what I want to do is help you. And I'm not going to swim in the deep end of the pool with you. I'm actually going to stay outside of the pool because I want to help you through action. I want to help you be able to see this through a more neutralized, more objective lens. I don't want to jump in the pool with you and we both drown together.16:23 No, I'm the lifeguard. I'm going to stay at the edge of the pool and I'm going to call 9 1 1 and I'm going to do everything I can. I'm going to swim in there and I'm going to pull you to safety, but I'm going to need to follow what I tell you to do because if not, we're both going to die in the pool. That's what a compassionate leader is versus the empathetic leader. This is why I tell my leaders, again, leave empathy please, for your family and your children. Empathy has no business in business, and that doesn't make me a cold-hearted leader because I would rather practice compassion. And here's what's interesting. There was a study that showed empathetic leaders were very successful in delivering difficult information. They were very successful in having difficult conversations because they're empathetic. They were preparing. They knew that this employee was going to take this information in the wrong way, and they were going to be right there with them.17:23 They were going to feel the same emotion. They're going to be team members. She's going to be able to communicate to that employee that she knows how they're feeling. She knows what you're going to do. She knows this is unfortunate. So there she is saying all the right things because she's feeling the emotion. She's in their shoes. But here's what's interesting. A study that came out after that showed that empathetic leaders were less effective after delivering difficult information, difficult news. They were less effective. Why? Because they were so distressed over that conversation that their leadership was impacted. They couldn't see clearly. They were completely subjective. They were completely in the shoes of the employee that they, and these were self-evaluation surveys they wrote, yeah, I was distraught. I was highly stressed out. I couldn't stop thinking about that conversation. I was restless sleep. I couldn't function.18:28 I know I was less effective as a leader because of that difficult conversation that I had to have with my employee. So isn't that interesting that here at face value, we're seeing highly empathetic leaders as being successful, more successful in delivering the negative information. But in reality, we're seeing the after effect of what's happening with an empathetic leader. They're less effective after that circumstance. So how about we, and this leads me to the first thing that I want for you to do again, is take a compassionate approach to delivering negative information. I want for you to look at this through the lens of an objective leader, where you've neutralized your emotions, where they're not heightened and intense. They would be if you were taking an empathetic approach. No, you're compassionate. I'm cute, and too I feel what you're feeling, but I have to stay in this role of a leader, and I'm going to take the approach of a compassionate leader so that I can help you better so I can be more effective in the moment and then after I deliver this information.19:35 So compassion versus empathy. I know some of you're going, this is what you want me to what I know, but listen, I had to learn the hard way. I had to learn the hard way. Number one, no one ever taught me how to have constructive conversation. I never learned that from seeing adults argue through a difficult situation. I mean, it was quite interesting what I learned as a little girl, we won't go into that, but as a leader in my early twenties at 19 and then being in leadership positions ever since, and then now helping executives and CEOs through consulting and through executive coaching, I've now been able to separate the two, and I can see it clearly. I could see it when a leader comes to me and says, I don't know how to do this because this is negative information and I'm having a really hard time.20:32 And so this is where I bring in the compassion part versus the empathy part. And then they understand better, like, oh, well, I don't want to be in the pool with my employee. I actually want to be on the side here so that I'm better able think clearly, right? Because again, when emotion is high, logic is low. So of course, negative conversations, having to give negative feedback stirs us up internally. We have very interesting emotions and perspective on how to deliver negative information. A lot of us leaders, we care deeply about what our employees think of us. And so having to deliver or having to have a negative conversation is really uncomfortable and that is normal. So we're going to normalize this today. But the first thing I want for you to do is understand the difference between compassion and empathy. This will be very helpful for you wherever you are on the pipeline of leadership.21:28 I want for you to be able to distinguish the difference between these two emotions and perspectives. So number two, if you're taking notes, good. If you're driving, just hang tight. You'll be able to watch this on replay or listen to it on audio here. But number two is I want for you to consider creating a culture of giving and receiving negative feedback. I want you to do this among your team. Now, I'm one of those trainers that I'll pair you up with someone in the group, and then I'll ask you to deliver something negative information. It could be something negative about their performance. It could be something negative about what they're wearing, but you the leader, oh, I need to turn that. You see my light over here going bonkers. There we go. It just started to dance. If you're listening to this on audio, you're going to see, if you watch on the replay, you'll see my light dancing in the back.22:26 It's a very interesting light. But anyway, creating a culture of giving and receiving negative feedback so that we start getting used to receiving information and not taking it personally. I know that's really hard. I know that's really, really hard. But if you start desensitizing this among your employees, we're better able to communicate with each other when it is important to communicate with one another. When there is a negative yield to a result, there's something perhaps impacting our team performance, perhaps AKPI wasn't met because of one team member. This is where we were comfortable with talking to each other about what we did wrong or what we perceived as wrong among our team members. And so it's creating this culture. It's almost like psychological safety. We create this culture of psychological safety where everybody's seen, everybody's heard, everybody has a say. Everybody can use their voice.23:26 This is what you're doing too, creating a culture of giving and receiving. And you don't have to call it negative feedback. You could call it critical feedback or constructive feedback, more like it. Maybe that's what you name it. It's a culture of constructive feedback. And maybe you do this once a week. Maybe you do this every two weeks where you get people to talk about something uncomfortable among the team. And it's all for the purpose of desensitizing this. It's almost like exposure therapy when you don't want to do something, but you want to step your feet into the shallow end of the pool instead of jumping in the deep end of the pool, you take little steps to expose yourself to whatever it is you want to desensitize to. And maybe that's something that you can do and create that as a habit. And maybe it's something you incorporate into your weekly meetings, your daily meetings, or however often you meet with your employees as a group.24:21 You do this as a team. So you're creating, again, a very strong culture of giving and receiving. And then you can set your boundaries for that, right? Call it constructive feedback time, right? We're going to say three things that we really want to applaud our fellow team member for, but we also want to give one constructive piece of feedback. So you could do, for every three positive, you give one negative or whatever guidelines, you want to set your team better than I. And so maybe that's something you can incorporate right away. And so in this way, when you have to give negative feedback, we're all acclimated, we're all ready. We're like, yeah, of course. Yes, it's constructive. Well, thanks boss. You got it. I hear you loud and clear. So they're not taking it personally. They're using this feedback as a way to get better.25:18 And that's part of coaching as a leader. And I love that sandwich theory. Well, it's not a theory, it's a method. When you're about to give negative feedback to someone, you sandwich the meat, the meat, the middle of that sandwich is the negative feedback, but then at the end of that feedback are the two pieces of bread. And who doesn't love carbs? I love bread. And so give me positive at the front end. Give me positive at the back end. But in the meat, in the middle of that sandwich, I know it's going to be constructive and I need a brace myself. And so it could be as simple as, Hey, Jan, I noticed how wonderful you are at answering client emails. You're on top of it. You respond to their phone calls as well. You only take about 12 hours between response time. And I just want you to know I've noticed that and it's very impressive, and our clients and our customers are really, really happy that you're so prompt and so responsive.26:18 So thank you so much for that. Something that I did notice, Jan, is that I'm getting some feedback from our internal clients, our internal customers, and something that came up is that you're not being as responsive to them. And one person said that you took about two and a half days to respond to their request. And so I just want you to know that's it's going to impede on your performance measurement. And I want you to know that. I want to bring that to your attention today because you do so well with our external clients, but our internal clients, I just want for you to spend some attention there. And as prompt as you are with our external folks, I want for you to consider that also with our internal client base. And so I just want to bring that up to your attention. I want to open that dialogue for us to talk about today.27:10 But also I just want to say your feedback from your team members about you being the one that's the most responsive and prompt with our clients is very impressive. They're impressed too. And so I just wanted to share that with you as well. And so I'll leave it open to you. What would you like to talk about or how would you like to talk about this particular improvement that we can make together? That's a sandwich conversation. That's giving the meat in the middle. You closed it out with two positive comments, positive feedback, but it's the meat in the middle of that sandwich. That's really critical. And so she's hearing something positive at the front end. So then she's now open to receiving something that's not as positive, something that she needs to improve on. And instead of she taking it personally, we're talking about how it's going to impact our team, how it's going to impact how she serves our internal clients.28:10 And then I closed it out with another positive piece of information about her performance. So of course, we can't avoid our employees feeling personal about negative feedback, but there are many things that you can do, and that's another little method, the sandwich method. So again, number one, practice compassion over empathy. We talked about that. Number two, I want you to create a culture of giving and receiving feedback. Make this a team habit. And number three, I gave you that sandwich method that we learned. I know I learned that in my early years of management, and I still use it today. It's so effective. And then the last thing that I want for you to consider is before having any difficult conversation, I just want for you to lower the emotional intensity. We talked about how when emotion is high, logic is low. That's the research.29:03 That's what we're showing in neuroscience. And so I want for you to list the facts of the matter. Before you schedule this appointment with your employee or before you have to have this conversation with them. I want for you to list the facts, just the evidence. So if you're going into a court of law, you're going to present to the judge all the facts, the facts that can be proven right, or the facts that are in this case and that we want to investigate further. And so that's it. We're just showing evidence. Here are the facts of the matter. And so this tells your brain to calm down. This tells your nervous system to calm down. Then now we can talk on the facts of the matter.29:49 Our emotions are going to be interjecting. We're not going to have an impediment of logical reasoning here. We're going to lower that part of our brain where all of those emotions are high. We're going to lower that down by just seeing the facts so that we're able to communicate and we're able to share that negative information or have that difficult conversation with our employee. It's like, this is what was reported to me, John, and is something that it's very critical and it's impacting our team's performance measurements. Because of this, we didn't meet our KPIs, and here's what I see as the problem, and I want to talk to you about that so that we can look at the problem and then you and I can discuss solutions to that problem. Factual still with compassion, not jumping to conclusions. I'm giving the facts of the matter to my employee, giving him an opportunity to also calm his nervous system because mirror neurons, if I'm freaking out, he's freaking out.30:52 If I'm calm and I'm in my authority, he's calm and he's also in his authority as an employee. And so this is how we have these difficult conversations with our employees. We practice compassion over empathy. We also create a culture of giving and receiving constructive feedback. We also use the sandwich method as often as we can. We'd start practicing that today. And then the last thing I just shared with you is before any difficult conversation, we lower the emotional intensity and we list the facts of the matter, and we speak from those facts so that we're better able to communicate with our employee. That's what we get to do as leaders. This is unnatural to all of us. I understand that much, but I want to help you understand that this is part of our role. This is something we cannot avoid having difficult conversations like this.31:47 And so those are just four things that I think you can incorporate right away. So this is how managers can give negative feedback positively in a positive way. I hope that you're taking these four tips and applying them today immediately, especially if you're having annual performance evaluations soon. I know we're at the end of the year. I'm not sure what your fiscal year looks like, but if you're having to have a difficult conversation with an employee or if you're an employee that needs to talk to her leader, you're going to want to take note of what I just shared with you. This applies to all of us having to have difficult conversations. So don't be discouraged, my dear leader. This is going to take some time to learn. So if you get frustrated, if it doesn't come out the first time, that's okay. You're going to keep practicing this because this is a tool that you're going to use for the rest of your career.32:44 So I wish you the best because I know how hard it is to have these kind of conversations. Alright? Oh my goodness, that was so fast everybody. My gosh, that went so fast. Thank you so much. My goodness. I've been on for over 30 minutes. Wow, okay. Didn't expect that. Now listen, I want to invite you. I know you're ready for a show. Now, listen, I'm putting on a three day show. It's not a show, it's a live event. I mean, we're going to treat it like a party. I'm calling it the State of Women in Leadership Summit. We're going to talk about the current state of affairs today, but more importantly, how do we prepare for 2024, right? Because proclaiming 2024, the Year of mastery, I'm calling 2024 the year of mastery for us. And so I'm having a three day live event. It's on Zoom only.33:40 You won't see it here. It's not going to be public. It's going to be behind closed doors because the provocative conversations that we women leaders need to have will take place behind closed doors. It will. And so what I'm posting here, and if you're listening to this on audio, I am posting, let me take off that scroll there and then now let me show you. Here we are. Okay? Here is the link for you to register for this three day party. It's going to be a party three day live event. I'm also inviting some incredible women leaders who are excited to talk about their experiences. We're going to talk about the challenges that we're facing, the real, real world in real life data, the real data that's impacting us. I want to show you what's impacting us, especially progressing on the pipeline of leadership. I want for you to know what you're up against, but also we're going to come up with some really great solutions for you so that you can implement them right away.34:47 And then declaring 2024, the year of mastery, you're going to want to go to dr denise simpson.com/state 2024. That's dr denise simpson.com/state 2 0 2 4, and you're obviously, if you're watching this on a replay, you're going to want to go to this link right away. If you're listening to this on audio, you're going to want to go enroll as soon as you can because you're not going to want to miss the details. We're going to have a replay for a short time after our live event, and then we're taking it down, so you're going to want to be there live. So that is the state of Women in leadership. We're calling it a summit to three day event at the end of December. Go to that page and you'll get the dates and you'll be registered, and we'll make sure that we send you all the pertinent information you need to join us live because you want to prepare for an incredible 24. It's going to be an interesting year, and we're going to declare it the year of mastery because status quo is the killer of mastery, and we're going to disrupt some stuff. We are going to disrupt status quo, for sure. Alright, dear leaders, thank you so much for your time. I'm so happy some of you have joined. If you're watching the replay still post comment, let me know that you are watching. Alrighty, I'm wishing you a fantastic rest of your week. Take good care. Bye.36:16 Hey, leader, do you want weekly leadership tips, coaching and training straight to your email inbox? Yeah, I thought so. Head over to dr denise simpson.com/leadership. Again, that's dr denise simpson.com/leadership. Just submit your name and your email address and we'll get started right away. I look forward to serving you inside your email inbox. See you soon.