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Teaming · Connection · Performance: The Power of Team Feedback - Ep 5

[00:00:00] Emily: Hi, I'm Emily Fries Kemney, host of Let's Talk People, where leaders come to bridge humanity and profitability. Informed by a couple decades of work as a head of talent and leadership development, I'm here to amplify leaders so they can exalt everyone and everything they touch. Are you ready?

Cause it's about to get real. Let's talk people.

I know feedback is hard, especially at work and probably equally so in our personal lives. It evokes a lot of fear because even though we know we're not perfect, we don't want anything to be wrong with us either. Add on top of that, feedback is often tied at work to compensation, promotions, and even whether you'll have a job in the future.

However, we need to learn how to build giving feedback into our cultures because it improves performance of the individual, the team, and the overall organization's results.  In this episode, what we're going to do is we're going to role model how to do it. It's a technique that we've designed that's called the Amplifier Effect.

The structure of the Amplifier Effect feedback conversation has four parts. Step one is you Shine the Light on someone by sharing what you appreciate about them and the ways in which they're having impact. Two, you Share Feedback that will help them to further improve their performance and have an even greater effect on the team and on the strength of the work. Third is about strength and Strengthening Collaboration. So that would be about how that individual can make some adjustments to make it easier for you to work together. And then fourth, it's about Supporting Growth. That's where then the individual who has been in the center of the focus gets to talk about the ways they want to grow so that their teammates can support them.

We've written all of it out as an exercise for you to use with your team. You'll see the link to it in the show notes. For the sake of time for this episode, though, we're just going to do the first two parts. This alone could be enough for your team, or you could choose to do the entire four part conversation.

Last, but not least, this is not an exercise for teams that are low in trust. This would not be a good place to start. If your team is struggling with that, which is really common and completely okay, all teams go through their stages of growth, feel free to reach out, and we’ll be happy to share some other suggestions with you.

To begin, please meet the amazing women who helped me run AROSE Group.

Meno Crompton is our head of business operations and client experience. And Maria Verrigni and I go way back, and she's come on board to help in all dimensions, from working with our clients, to helping us run and build the business. Meno and Maria, thank you so much for being willing to illustrate the beginning part of the amplifier effect.

Okay, should we do it?

[00:03:23] Maria: Let's go.

[00:03:24] Meno: Let's go.

[00:03:25] Emily: All right, so I'm gonna be the what we call object of attention. Meno and Maria are gonna give me feedback. And we'll just very explicitly walk through how we do this and kind of make little call outs as we go so that it's clear. But basically where we start from is always a place of appreciation and what we call Shining the Light on the person who's in the center of the circle, and trying to describe things like the person's strengths, what you appreciate about them, what their power skills are, meaning like what are they amazing at.

[00:03:58] Maria: Maria, do you want to start? We can kind of go back and forth, Meno..

[00:04:00] Meno: Right.

[00:04:01] Maria: So. I'll share an item or two, and then I'll toss that over to you. Where you shine for me is your ability to communicate and your willingness to do it frequently and with great depth. So in that, our North Star is always the big picture.

We always have the big picture, which I think is important. We are always discussing what's current. So we have a current snapshot of what's going on. We've got the big picture as the North Star. We have a current snapshot of what's going on, and we can get really tactical when we need to as well. So it's really for me, the combination of you communicate frequently and effectively in all those layers, which I think really helps us perform most optimally.

So while some of the tasks that we may have at hand may not be affecting something very specific tactically, but you seem to just make sure, like if we have that kind of information, we are going to be much more effective. So we may not be working on something that's strategic right now that has to do with the business and the growth of the business, but you'll share something that you're thinking about. And then lo and behold, a couple of weeks later or a month later, I might be working on something, and I'm now knitting back to some of the information that you shared from a strategic perspective.

I maybe didn't need to know that at the time, but you shared it. And because you share frequently and openly about strategy and tactical, it makes it very easy for me.

You've given me a North Star to perform against, and I always have this additional insight. I'm not working in a vacuum, which I think really helps me perform better.

[00:05:50] Emily: Thank you. It gave me an aha too, both for us as a team and for our work with our clients, which is - this idea of part of the frequency of communication is the strategy, so reminding people like where we're going, what it levels up to, but also the tactics that having both ends of the spectrum and being able to hold both in conversation, is what allows people to navigate their own work, or as you said, even if it's not in that exact moment, they can piece things together. And that's the most valuable, because where things go wrong is like everybody's off doing their little piece of the puzzle, and then it doesn't always make the puzzle pieces fit together so seamlessly. So I think that's really a good kind of aha for me.

[00:06:34] Meno: Yeah. And to build on that exact point, a lot of work and hours is not an exception, especially trying to build a business, a successful one, and build teams to support the work.

It's so execution heavy. There are things that need to be done. It's very tactical. And so I think one of the downfalls of that is people get in the weeds, and they kind of go heads down. And I think you recognize that about both our style, our individual propensities to just like get stuff done and execute, but also you bring us back to, "Okay, what's our overall goal?" And you remind us constantly.

And then when things pivot or we get information that shifts, maybe what our priorities ought to be, you're so great at communicating that in such a clear way. And it's a rare trait, I believe.  Because I think sometimes leaders, they can be very theoretical or, you know, busy doing their own thing that they forget to communicate back to the team any shifts that are happening, or what the priorities truly are in any given time.

[00:07:38] Emily: I know this is supposed to be about me, but it does spark one thing that I think is a reflection on why we work well as a team, which is, as you know, we joke that we call me Squirrel because I have like a thousand ideas always.  But I think that when we get into these very detailed conversations about both strategy and tactics, I think we do a really good job as a team, and you both helped me tremendously at prioritization.

And otherwise, I think this is one of the biggest risks I see with the senior executives that we work with, which is the disconnect between what they think is feasible for their teams to do, and how their teams feel about it or how clear they think they are, and how unclear or frustrated their teams feel.

And I think that that's one of the parts of both this feedback process that is helpful, but also just how, you know, to take this back into how you work as a team is that level to kind of calibrate of the strategy and what needs to be executed, and where adjustments are needed, so that it's feasible to get the work done effectively.

[00:08:40] Meno: Exactly. Yeah, that is the truth. So I'm going to keep building on what makes you so wonderful to work with. I'm just going to rattle off a bunch of stuff because this is top of mind stuff that I see on a consistent basis when I observe you in action or have interacted with you. You just go for it. There is a fearlessness, and it's not reckless, fearless.  It's operating from a place of knowing and being so convinced in how we ought to serve our clients, and sometimes it's not clear what the outcome is going to be, and you just, you're like, let's just go for it.

There's the courage and experimentation that you are very open to, that I really, really appreciate. You're also just perennially hopeful. There are times where things have come our way. In circumstances in the business, or there have been times where things just seem a little ambiguous or uncertain as to like where we're going or the state of what the next quarter is going to yield, and you are just so hopeful you just don't let any circumstance knock you down.

And it's very inspiring for me to see, especially in a leader. There's also this innocence about you that I find really endearing where you just have this childlike energy that really lightens and brightens any room all the time. And I also appreciate just your trust in... me. I've seen your trust in Maria to just carry the torch and say, "You're great at this, go experiment."

And you don't micromanage, which is also really empowering. And it allows me the freedom and allows me the trust in myself. Emily says, "I got it.". So I got it. And she just lets me go and do it. And that's awesome. And that's allowed me to grow into just contributing and trusting my own instincts. And you're constantly just drawing thoughts out of me because I come from personally this orientation of probably like second guessing sometimes some of my thoughts or some of my judgment.

And you're like, no, no, no, no, no, let's hear it. And I've seen such a huge shift in myself in the past year since I've joined. And that's because of you and Maria. So I thank you for that. And lastly, before I pause, as I mentioned it earlier, but you have this superpower to really listen when you're in a room, you really listen to what people are saying.

It's like your ears have this x-ray vision where you can kind of see in between things. And you pick up on nuances and thoughts and needs, both from a team perspective.  And also I've seen you in client rooms where you pick up on their needs when they don't have the language to express it, but you'll zero in on it and lift it up and bring it out for it to shine.

And I think that's a huge superpower of yours.

[00:11:54] Emily: Thank you.

[00:11:56] Maria: The one thing that really has struck me is that you often take a different approach, and this is something, right, that we talk to our leaders about, which is you have to be a seeker. You have to ask everyone their point of views, look for different information, look for data points that might not necessarily align to where you're excited to go with something in particular or what your point of view is, what your opinion is or where you're leaning to on a decision.

You seek out the input and the feedback and the points of view routinely. And you know, that also takes a lot of time. Sometimes it's much easier to think, Hey, I got this. I feel this in my gut. I've got this. I've got enough little fact finding. I'm done. Like this is the decision.

You go the extra mile. Repeatedly. And it takes longer. And a lot of people may not want to do that sometimes, but I think it has benefited you tremendously. As I watch you take the additional time, ask people their points of view, what they're thinking, why they're thinking, and as a result of that, I just think the decisions you make are much more balanced and they're probably much smarter, right?

Because you seek out the input.

[00:13:11] Meno: You sparked something for me, Maria, when I think about what I've observed over time with Emily, which is because you're a seeker of people's opinions and because you're open to feedback and different diverse thought processes, and it's not easy sometimes, oftentimes, to hear something that's going against what you initially believed or thought or wanted to do, you remain open to that.

And I think one of the detriments of being in high leadership positions is sometimes you're kind of in your own echo chamber. And because of your openness  true, genuine openness  to wanting to hear people's thoughts,  experiences and perspectives, I don't feel like we run the risk of that. And I don't think we run the risk of groupthink, which is another detriment of small teams sometimes, um, or large teams for that matter.

But because you're constantly seeking outside voices, our voices, our perspectives, and you don't always agree with it, which is really cool to see too, but when you go through this process of seeking, seeking, seeking. And then the other beautiful thing is like, you will swiftly make a decision based on everything that you're hearing.

Sometimes it's not in line with what we're saying or sharing. And sometimes it is.  You don't let your ego get in the way.

[00:14:32] Emily: Thank you.

So just for purposes of like a process call out, one of the best practices that we use in this stage of it is to do a check in with the person who's receiving and just to understand, like, how is it landing with them.

How are they feeling? What are they taking in? How much does it resonate? What to them sounds like them? And it's like, yep, this really resonates. Or maybe what's surprising or different, just to understand how it's being received.

I think whenever we do feedback, you have to calibrate. Because you don't really know how the person always sees themself if you're newer in a relationship.  I think over time you get a sense of what makes each other tick and old stories and ways of being in the world.

So, first of all, thank you. I really appreciate all of this. It's extremely helpful. I think I'm like a mix of an introvert, extrovert, but the extrovert side of me is very communicative.

I think out loud. It really helps me. So, and maybe that's an advantage because talking things through, like, reminding myself of this is where we're going and here's what we got to get done. That's my probably natural way of being. So that makes sense. And I can see that about myself. But sometimes you don't realize how your style is helpful to others.

I think it's helpful to hear it back in terms of, that my maybe chattiness, which can be a lot, is helpful because at least you know what's happening and where we're going and why and what needs to get done. I definitely am like this. I do have this childlike energy and happiness, which I don't know if people who knew me professionally, when I was on the inside working in corporations, would have described me that way.

I think people who know me really well would describe me that way because I am a really happy person, but I also think that there's a way that you have to kind of like act the part when you're in like an executive position and that would be interesting. I'd be curious if people in other settings would have described me that way.

I know for - this is so random - but I know like when I was going through the yoga teacher training, that's how my yoga teacher would describe me as a yoga teacher. So again, when I'm in a forum where I have full freedom, I'm like a really happy, joyful person. So that was interesting to hear. And I appreciate that.

And it does feel like me. And I love that I can be vulnerable enough in this setting that that happy, silly, optimistic side of me can show up, and I don't have to even think twice about it. Like it's never even crossed my mind that that would be problematic to be seen that way, which I appreciate.

Because as you said, I think you said it, Meno, like, I'm also very fearless and fierce as well. Like, I have a really feisty, get her done type side, too. Like we all do. We have multiple sides to us. And I appreciate the seeking feedback part because it's funny. It's like I was reflecting on it as I was listening that, like, you could have seeking feedback, which comes from a place of not wanting to make a decision and not wanting to be held accountable.

And that's the watch out, of course, for being a seeker. I'm more of like a diverge, go out and gather a lot before I converge. I think the reason it's so important for my style is I do get very excited and I do have a strong point of view. So I think it's more me having learned as a leader to check myself because I can get like 10 steps ahead, and I think that both of you and others who I've worked with who have been very helpful to me.

It's like, "Oh, okay, wait, wait, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's start from the beginning. Do we have to take it to step 10? Can we just do step one?" Because I lean in the direction of being highly excitable, decisive. And so it's something I've probably had to build in. And when you have people around you who you know are really good thinkers and are also going to be comfortable reining you in, it's really important for my big picture, lots of thoughts type style.

Alright, let's keep going. So the next one is about looking at how I show up in my performance in the context of our team and what it does to our team dynamic. The question we usually ask or the prompt we use is, what is it that you would need from me to make it even better for us to be able to work together. So in what ways could I adjust my style? What could I do to be supportive that would impact your experience of getting your work done? Are you being able to fully show up or kind of the health and strength of our team? So any ways that I can adjust that would be helpful to you given your style.

[00:19:01] Meno: I'll dive in. The one word that keeps popping up for me is simplicity, simplifying. And I see that on the spectrum of having so many inspirations and thoughts on like you are... endless. I've never seen it like boundless when it comes to ideas, how we serve our clients, the team we want to build all of it.

And that's a marker of a visionary and a leader who's an entrepreneur and building a business. And. In the spirit of creating more balance, I see it on the spectrum of how can we and how can you think about ways in which we can simplify, and this is my own perspective, right? How can we simplify and inject more simplicity into our operating systems, our offerings, so that's a little more clear.

That's the word that keeps jumping up for me. And then how do we even define what simplicity is as a team in the spirit of creating a little more balance? Because I think we have the tendency and you have the tendency to have endless ideas and they just keep coming.

[00:20:16] Emily: It's so funny. Even when I worked in my corporate jobs, I felt like I was the generator of work.

It'd be a team that had like three things that they would do. And I'd be like, And now we do 10.

[00:20:28] Maria: Yes, she would.

[00:20:29] Emily: Because it comes from a place of seeing so much need, I generate a lot of work. And the downside, which I'm sure you'll all get to, but I can kind of foreshadow, is it can be exhausting. Like I exhaust myself.

I get overwhelmed with my volume of work that I want to take on because I just see so much opportunity and so much need. And it was interesting. I had this conversation with my tennis coach, who, as you both know, is just like this super wise man. And we talk about all sorts of things when we play tennis together.

I was saying there was times where the volume of abundance and activity and need is so high that I feel like we're going to go tilt at moments and that I'm like, Oh gosh, slow down, slow down universe. He was saying, don't say slow down. He said, I'm put it in boxes, form it into smaller piece parts, versus it feeling like this big C.

And so it just kind of resonated with what you were saying about simplicity because I've been thinking about what he said a lot, which is there's always a way that you can structure things to get them done. And I was like, huh, okay. So I mean, I haven't unpacked fully what that would look like yet, but it really sparked me and it... it's a little bit of a variation on a theme of the simplicity idea is like how do you break things down and then put them into these packing cubes that go in your suitcase? Like almost like imagine like how do we then be like, okay, we now have five suitcases worth of stuff. How do we fit them into the packing cubes?

[00:21:56] Meno: That's a great metaphor.

[00:21:57] Maria: Yeah. What came to mind, and Meno, you touched on this a little bit and I talked about like, you have like this voracious appetite. What happens if you, let's say we have the voracious appetite, and you've talked about it a little bit also in the sense that we can get to a point where there's just too much going on and we're leaning toward tilt, right?

You have a voracious appetite. We're taking it all in. We're going to do this for this, this, this, this, this, this. Meno talked about simplicity, I think being important. for that. I also feel when we get to that point, what helps me is when you slow down. It's the old go slow to go fast.

[00:22:37] Emily: Yep.

[00:22:37] Maria: Just slow down.

[00:22:38] Emily: Yep

[00:22:39] Maria: Let's just breathe.

[00:22:40] Emily: Yep

[00:22:41] Meno: Yeah.

Go slow. Okay. We'll talk about these, whatever they are, whether it's the 10 things or whether it's doing five things within this project or that project. And sometimes, you just got to slow down. Let's slow down so we can talk it and make sure we have clarity. And then we can question some of the things because if you don't go slow to go fast, what happens is I start feeling energetically my body is tensing, going, Oh God, Oh God, this is too much, right? We are going tilt.

[00:23:11] Emily: Right.

[00:23:12] Maria: And then I'm rushing to and I don't get the clarity that I need. And then I'm hopping off and I'm like, okay, no, no, no. Now this is going to be maybe what she was looking for. So I think this whole notion of especially when we are, that's when we have to apply it is when we're at our height and things are getting a little crazy.

It's just like, okay, breath, pause, reset, go slow to go fast. That's what would help me in helping you.

[00:23:35] Emily: Thank you. Thank you both. Anything else either of you wanted to say in closing or any other reflections before we call it a wrap?

[00:23:43] Meno: No, nothing for me. Yeah, you've reshifted the feedback brand for me as far as I'm concerned.

So thank you.

[00:23:52] Emily: Thank you for playing and going through it with me.

There we have it. A very kind, probably overly kind version of how you as a team can Shine the Light on each other and share feedback to help one another have an even stronger impact. You can find the link to the Amplifier Effect Team Feedback Exercise in the description in the show description. And of course, reach out if there's questions or if you need any guidance on how to start.

Thanks for joining today's episode of Let's Talk People. For more info and insights, visit and find me, Emily Fries-Kemeny on LinkedIn and Instagram. If you're enjoying the show, please follow, share on social, and leave a rating or review in your podcast app. It helps other listeners to discover us.

Well, that's a wrap, friends. Until next time, when we come together to talk people.

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