Dr. Rita's Blog
"If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles."
-- Jim Rohn
It’s hard for women to get useful feedback.
Many women hesitate to ask for feedback. Or when they do ask, they get feedback they can’t really use.
Not getting the right feedback holds women back from making their full contribution to their organizations.
And makes it a lot harder for them to get promoted.
Research by both Korn Ferry and Stanford University found that 57% of women got vague-sounding praise on reviews while only 43% of men had vague praise.
Only 40% of women had feedback tied to concrete business outcomes while 60% of men had their feedback directly tied to business outcomes.
Both studies found that men get a much clearer picture of what they are doing well, what they need to improve upon, and what's needed to get to the next level.
Recently, I saw first-hand the devastating impact not getting useful feedback has on women leaders.
I’ve been coaching a bright, talented women leader who has been frustrated in more ways than I can count because no matter how hard she tried she could not get useful feedback from her direct manager.
It was causing her to question her abilities as a leader.
She was losing her confidence and sleep.
She was spending time in the evenings and on the weekends away from her family because she was trying to guess and over compensate for not knowing what her manager truly wanted from her.
One of the things I coached her to do was link everything she was doing to the big picture goals of the organization. Through our coaching work her confidence returned and now she is not only taking her part of the organization to the next level, she is also being tapped by the CEO to bring more of her ideas forward.
She now has renewed energy, her eyes are sparkling, and most of all she has confidence in her ideas, is thinking strategically and making a much bigger impact on her organization, which she is very happy about.
The transformation was remarkable. This woman went from questioning her abilities to using all of her key strengths to lead change and transform her organization.
Without the coaching work, she would have answered the recruiter’s calls, and left the organization. Her organization would have lost one of their star performers.
This is one powerful example of what happens to women when they don’t get useful feedback.
Now that you know this, what can you do?
If you are a woman leader, ask for specific feedback that is linked to the strategy and goals of your organization. If your work isn’t linked to the big picture, you’ll be wasting time doing things that aren’t important long term.
If you are a direct manager to women, be sure you are talking to them about the strategy and big picture goals of the organization. And then help them link their work directly to those goals. Let the women know which projects are priorities and have the biggest impact.
To both women leaders and their managers, if you want help, reach out to me to talk about one on one coaching or enrolling your female direct reports in the next Women Managers Cohort to learn about feedback and other issues important for women to succeed.
Don’t risk losing your star female performers by falling into the trap of giving vague feedback. There are lots of other organizations out there willing to snatch up high potential women.
The next Women Manager’s Cohort kicks off on July 15. For more information or to enroll go to https://www.wiseleader.net/women-managers-cohort.html
Erica, one of the participants, had this to say about why the Cohort was valuable to her: "Having the ability to confirm or reflect on what I am strong at and what I need to work on based on the materials that are being provided. Being able to connect and learn more about the other women from my department that are going through this as well. Also learning more about how to be confident as a Leader."
You can talk to me about coaching or the cohort any time at 612-598-6614.
I used to rush around like a typical Type-A personality.
After all, I was good at getting things done efficiently and fast.
Whenever I really got wound up, my good friend Allan Milham loved to make the comment: "Maybe you need to go slow to go fast."
At the time I trusted his judgement, but I never really "got it".
In time, I began taking more time to think and reflect.
Best-selling author Kevin Cashman calls this "pausing". This was a big change for me with surprising results.
Pausing quieted my inner chatter and helped me reconnect with my deeper thoughts. It allowed me to hear my inner voice.
When I paused, I began to listen more genuinely to others and contribute more generously in conversations and meetings.
If you find you often race around, consider some ways you can bring "pausing" into your work and life.
Do you want to have more well-being, productivity, and creativity?
As counter intuitive as it may seem, stopping is the first step.
Taking 5-10 minutes to stop and sit quietly can help you relax, lower your stress level and gain clarity that will be amazingly useful.
Don’t be surprised if the first couple times you stop to pause and reflect, your mind goes crazy trying to convince you to get up and do something. That is normal for most people. As you continue to practice, your mind will eventually settle down.
You’ll feel less overwhelm and more in control. That will be well worth the 5-10 minute investment of your time!
Learning how to pause and reap the benefits of slowing down for a few minutes is something we work on in one on one coaching, team coaching and the Women Managers Leadership group.
If you are curious about how this technique can make a big difference for you, reply to this email.
"What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other."
-- Roger Bannister
This quote makes me think about how the process of coaching helps make life less difficult.
Here are a few examples:
Coaching helps build confidence. No matter how accomplished we are, any big change such as new leadership or a major new initiative that we've never done before will challenge our confidence.
It gets us out of our own heads. If we are a leader, we are smart and we know how to think. But when our thinking goes into overtime, it creates a hamster wheel in our minds that can tie us up in knots. We become more anxious and less effective than we need to be.
Coaching validates that what we're feeling is normal. When a coach listens in a calm, matter of fact way and says “This is very common” we can relax and climb back up out of our rabbit hole of distress.
It helps us take the time to think. A client I was recently working with said "You asked me questions that made me think, even when I didn't want to. This forced me to get to a point of view that was useful." The fast pace of change puts most of us on auto-pilot, and that prevents us from the thinking required to get to the heart of what matters.
I just love every part of being an executive coach! Being able to help my clients find easier ways to live and work and find more satisfaction in their lives.
To learn more about how one on one coaching or the Women Managers Leadership Development Cohort can help you feel more confident and less stressed reach out to me. I’d love to chat with you.
Or sign up for the next session beginning July 15 at www.WiseLeader.net.
I learned something new about confidence, that I want you to know about.
You know that confidence influences effective leadership.
We have confidence in leaders when we know they have confidence in themselves.
What I learned last week is how vulnerable our confidence can become when we take on stretch assignments in a new role.
When you get promoted due to your talent in your last role, your confidence is very high. In your new role, however, everything changes: you have more projects to manage, more direct reports to lead, and bigger strategic issues to deal with. In your new role, you inevitably run into challenges which put dings in your confidence.
You knew how to do your old role. Now, you start to doubt your abilities, to overuse your strengths to the point where they become weaknesses. The harder you strive, the more frustrated you end up.
Whether you are the person beginning a new role or the direct manager of someone taking on a new role, if your (or their) performance isn't what it used to be, ask yourself "Could this be a confidence issue?" And if it is, how do I get clear on the new definition of success and apply my key strengths and talents in just the right way to be successful.
Here is your first answer: Take the time to think and plan.
When you do, that confidence destroying overwhelm disappears and your confidence returns. Both you and your direct manager will be on your way to the successful outcomes you both envisioned.
Never underestimate the power and impact of your own confidence or the confidence of someone on your team who is struggling with the demands of a new role.
Lastly, having a supportive network you can tap into or a leadership coach you can call on is invaluable when it comes to keeping your confidence high.
How have you adapted to a new role? What have you done to boost your own confidence?
Now let me share some opportunities with you:
If you are a manager, check out the next Women Managers Cohort kicking off on April 15 at https://www.wiseleader.net/women-managers-cohort.html
Are you a woman executive at the VP or Director level? Check out the Executive Womens Change Leadership Roundtable. The 2021 membership year kicks off on April 22. Reach out to me directly for availability and an interview.
And if you a leader who would prefer one on one coaching, reach out to me about a variety of coaching programs that can be customized for your specific outcomes.
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