Courageous Leaders: Loving Criticism

It’s not feedback or criticism we’re afraid of.

It’s judgment and personal attacks.

We often confuse objective, constructive criticism with personal opinions based on how we’re feeling about ourselves.

The result is honesty (yes, it’s how you feel) with cruelty (but it’s not constructive).

Not all feedback is created equal. Not all feedback is constructive. It’s easy to give feedback that’s fueled by a deeper, emotional, personal feeling.

Non-constructive feedback is destructive. It has the power to impact a person’s confidence in their professional growth.

How is that approach going to move your business forward?

Instead …

Always give feedback as a “loving critic” — constructive feedback that is given with the intention to improve someone’s ability; given with good intentions and given with care — you’ll be surprised by the response.

Steer away from personal opinions or emotional feedback.

Instead, give “loving” feedback. Feedback that is honest and has the best interest of the receiver in mind. It will move someone towards growth so they can reach their highest potential.

Company Culture: News or Gossip

There’s company news: Meant to inform. Meant to be objective.

Then there’s company gossip: Unconstrained conversations filled with unchecked facts.

Beware. It’s easy to communicate with good intentions, yet fall victim to gossip.

Next time you communicate something significant, think first and ask yourself:

  • Do I know enough to inform effectively?

  • Do I have all the facts straight?

  • Is this something my team members need to be informed of?

  • How will I present the facts so they are clear?

  • Are there still holes or gaps in what I’m trying to communicate?

Company Culture: Core Values Are a Waste of Time

It’s great to see more companies developing core values with their teams. Core values define what your company and employees commonly believe in. They demonstrate how your company will make decisions, how you’ll hire, and how you’ll grow.

But many times, core values are hung on a wall only to be read and not acted upon. Core values do not work unless they are put into action.

In order for core values to function, they must have an action plan.

Here’s how to put your core values into action:

  • Share core values with candidates during the hire process

  • Implement your core values within your review process; keep people accountable for living up to these values

  • Call employees or team members out if their actions go against the company’s values

  • Choose customers / clients who also share your common values

  • Use them as a guide to make hard people decisions

Don’t write words and phrases like “integrity”, “work-life balance”, ”excellence” on a piece of paper and expect the company culture that you want. Act on them. Live them.

Self-Awareness: A Simple Daily Habit to Become More Creative and Confident

Creating a daily routine to reflect allows you to check in on your emotions before walking into the office. It only takes 5, 10, or 20 minutes to create mental space by asking yourself, “How do I want to show up today?”

Many times, we get caught up in the day-to-day that we don’t allow time to heal from small wounds, like fighting with a significant other, getting mad at the kids, or feeling bummed over a dissatisfied client. Instead, we carry those emotions with us, ignore that they need healing or reflection, and project emotions onto a new day. What a waste of a new day if we don’t take the time to throw the trash out the day before.

Self-awareness is an act—a habit—that helps us think more clearly about ourselves, how we’re feeling, and how we’re showing up. Research has shown that when we practice self-awareness, we become more creative and more confident. So take 20 minutes today. Either in the morning, during lunch time, in the evening. Don’t think too hard about it. Take a walk, sit on the couch, sip on a hot drink, or simply just breathe. Reflect.

Take note of how it impacts your work. Your relationships. Your self.