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078 – Giving tough feedback, giving praise & owning up

If you just recently finished employee reviews and struggled to provide feedback, whether it was good or bad behavior, this podcast is for you! In this episode, Adam J. Salgat has on Jules Maloney to discuss using the Feeling, Behavior, and Impact skill through a leadership lens.

Jules breaks down three specific areas we can use this skill, provides examples to bring it into real-life situations, and gives us tips on how to incorporate this skill into our work life consistently.

AI-generated dictation of the podcast audio

Please note that this transcription was completed using AI software.  Occasionally, unanticipated grammatical, syntax, homophones, and other interpretive errors are inadvertently transcribed by the software. Please excuse any errors that have escaped final proofreading.

Introduction 0:07
Welcome to the listen first podcast brought to you by the Chapman foundation for caring communities. Our vision and mission is to strengthen relationships and build stronger communities through listening, leadership, care and service to create a truly human connection. Learn and partner with us as we imagine a society in which people care about each other. And listen first.

Adam Salgat 0:37
Welcome back to the listen first podcast. My name is Adam Salgat. And with me today is Jules Maloney, the director of the Wisconsin regional learning hub. Jules, welcome to the podcast.

Jules Maloney 0:48
Thank you, Adam. I’m excited to be here today and to explore concepts

Adam Salgat 0:52
from a leadership lens. That’s exactly what I was gonna mention leadership lens. So I last two conversations, one focused a little bit more on committed relationships, the other one focused on parenting, our third area of concentration, or our third pillar, is our leadership lens. And so today, our topic are kind of our title for this FBI messages, a back pocket tool for leaders. So let’s talk about that. I know we touched on FBI messages in our committed relationships podcast with Katie about a month ago, this is similar but obviously being turned around and used in a in a work format. So touch on this little bit, set the table for us.

Jules Maloney 1:32
Yeah, Adam, these tools that we cover in our community lessons, and our other programming really can be used in all aspects of our lives. But sometimes it takes effort to remember how to switch the lens, we might be more willing to be more vulnerable in one context, and less willing to be vulnerable in another context, or it just might be harder to pull that same tool out when we’re around people we may not know as well, or what are the very whatever the variables might be. So my goal today is to take a tool that many of our listeners are familiar with, and remind them of how they can use it in the workplace. And when we talk about leaders, we’re talking about the leadership lens, you might be a leader in title, you might be a leader by how you influence folks that you work with and not necessarily have a leadership title, we all have the capacity to influence and lead people around us. And the more we use these tools with that in mind, the more we can have effective work environments. So that’s, that’s really something I want folks to understand. We want everybody to understand that they have a leader capacity within them. And we’re showing you how to use this tool with that lens.

Adam Salgat 2:45
I love both of those reminders. The first one being that, you know, the some people are more open to use this lens, maybe in a committed relationship and not as open to use it in their work relationships. And then also the idea that we’re all leaders in different ways. So when we’re talking about the FBI model, remind us exactly what that is.

Jules Maloney 3:04
Yeah, the FBI model is something that many of us maybe have been exercising a little bit. This time of year, many of us might have just gone through performance reviews, I’m talking to you right now, in the very, very early spring of 2022. And we might be talking about are your goals, now’s the time when we start focusing on how to keep the momentum and the focus on those goals. So from a leadership lens, the FBI tool for feedback is going to support you in being consistent and clear in your messaging, whether you’re giving feedback to folks on their effective work behaviors, or whether you’re giving them feedback on ineffective work behaviors. So to remind you specifically of what the FBI model is, it breaks down into those three ingredients, feelings, behavior, and impact. Now using them in different orders is fine. It doesn’t matter. Think of them as sort of it is a recipe and these the ingredients, you can switch it up, but they all need to be there. In order for this to be an effective tool for you to use.

Adam Salgat 4:11
It’s a great reminder also, because at times I know when you’re leading with feelings with certain people, it might not connect with them right away. But maybe if you lead with the impact, it might grab their attention a little more, and then back it up with the behavior and the feelings that were

Jules Maloney 4:26
going on. Adam Absolutely. Thank you for making that point. It’s so true when we take something like feelings, maybe talking about feelings in our families or committed relationships is something we’re a little more used to and it’s easier, but some people might have a lot of hesitancy and trepidation about talking about their feelings in the workplace. And yet, it is an essential ingredient for this model. So I want to touch on several ways that you can use the FBI model to increase effective communication with your work colleagues. The first one many of our listeners are certainly familiar with and that’s an effect Have confrontation, maybe we need to lean in and confront a colleague on ineffective behaviors that they’ve been demonstrating. The second, many of our listeners are also familiar with and hopefully have been trying them out or have made them a common practice, which is to recognize our colleagues for their effective behaviors. So we might refer to that as a recognition message. Now, the last one’s a little bit of a twist. And we’ll spend a little bit of time talking about how to use this. But this is when you use the model when you’ve messed up. And you need to own that, and repair any harm that you might have created.

Adam Salgat 5:36
I love the idea of all three of those. So why don’t we step into that first one, leading into the most classic reason that we bring up FBI ineffective behavior?

Jules Maloney 5:45
Absolutely. When you need to tell someone that something that they’re doing or not doing is impacting you, we use this tool to lean in, let them know that their behavior might be not in alignment with expectations and might be an effective somehow problematic. This tool helps us move past judgment, and helps us set up a conversation with clarity. And we really want you to take the time to think through the steps before you engage the conversation, the more you practice this, the easier it will be. And that when you are in a hot situation or an in the moment situation, it will be easier for you to pull that tool out of your back pocket, if you spent the time practicing it. So again, when you are moving into letting someone know that their behaviors are not aligned with expectations, confronting them, what are the feelings that have come up for you in this situation? Then we need you to describe very specifically, what are the behaviors that the person has or has not done? That clarity is essential? Then that last element is the why why does it matter? Why are you bringing it up? Clearly, there was some kind of an impact on you, the workplace of work getting done whatever it might be, you need to have that impact piece in

Adam Salgat 6:58
there. Jules, can you give us an example then of how this might sound? Because I love the opportunity when we get the chance to actually put it into words for people and put an example in front of them?

Jules Maloney 7:10
Absolutely, I’ll give you an example. I encourage listeners to practice this at home before they’re face to face with someone write it out, say it out loud, so that you can feel what it feels like to say it and make it your own, make it comfortable. So here’s what it might sound like if I’m talking to a colleague, or maybe someone who reports to me. Hey, Alex, as we move near the end of q1, I was looking at the goals that we had set, I’m seeing that you have a gap of six new leads from your goal. And I’m worried that that gap is going to put extra pressure on q2. And that’s just one we’re going to be starting some new projects. And we’re not going to have the resources available to support developing new leads. Can we explore this and see what might be causing the gap. So as you recall, when we start this conversation, it is just that it is a start, this model allows us to set up the opportunity for conversation to take place, it is not what I like to call a drop in run. Yeah. And then once we start that conversation, we then move into the position of reflectively listening. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to maybe need to deliver another FBI model message within the conversation. But once we do, we need to hear how the person is experiencing our message. And then that dialogue will continue.

Adam Salgat 8:30
We take one small step back and discuss judgment just quickly, because in your statement there, we’re doing our best not to judge why they might be six leads behind, right? And we’re not making accusations per se. We’re talking about feeling behavior impact everything factual that’s in front of us. So touch on that a little bit. I know that could probably be its own podcast, but

Jules Maloney 8:52
it could we can have the whole judging Julian judging Adam podcast, that. So judgment is important to notice and name it. When we don’t have information, we might make up a story about what’s going on for someone else. Or we just might have our own story about the way that person shows up. And so we’re really coming from our own perspective, instead of giving the space for someone to share what’s happening for them. The FBI, a model allows us to move through the steps so that we move away from our own interpretation of someone’s behavior. And we’re naming what the specific behaviors were. Those are facts, and then our feelings and experience of it. And so that’s not something to be judged either. We’re just sharing how we’re experiencing it, and then how we see the impact moving forward. Now if I had all kinds of adjectives in there about this person and the story about Well, Alex is just lazy or Alex, you know, here she goes, again, not delivering her numbers. I’m removing the possibility to find Now what’s going on for Alex, and then that makes it really difficult for us to co create and navigate a potential solution, or opening up space for creativity. Judgment closes doors, when we can remove it, we’re more likely to keep the doors open.

Adam Salgat 10:16
Thank you, thank you so much for that reminder. And I think that’s important, as we, you know, talk about especially the ineffective behavior model that we’re discussing. But let’s move on to the effective behavior model. The one that, honestly, I wish we thought of more often, when we think about talking to our friends and family, when we think about, you know, giving compliments, obviously, it’s great to hear things like, you’re awesome, or thank you so much, or you rock, those are, those are, those are awesome descriptors given to a person that we appreciate, but the same time might not connect with us quite as much as what we can do with an FBI statement. So let’s talk about option number two effective.

Jules Maloney 10:58
Yes, well, what you just said there, Adam, sure, those would be nice to hear, you’re awesome. You’re a rock star, that was great. Those may seem helpful, but I’m gonna challenge you on that one, I’m gonna say those are actually judgments of you were to tell me, Hey, Jules, you’re a rock star, that your judgment of my behavior, instead, I would love for you to tell me what specifically I’m doing, that’s adding value to our work environment, or whatever it is that we’re doing together. Because when I know that, I’m gonna want to do more, I’m gonna want to show up in a more effective way. So let’s talk about what that message can sound like. We’re going to follow the same process take time, when you want to recognize someone to work through the FBI model steps that we can make sure that we’re naming with clarity, what the behaviors are, how we’re experiencing them, and what the impact is. So here’s an example of what a recognition message could sound like using that model. Hey, Sam, we’ve been trying to win over that customer for months now, your presentation today was engaging, it was also highly polished. And the thing that was really great is that you made it relevant to their needs. I’m not only reassured, but now I’m more excited than before that we might be ready to talk contracts with them. So in that example, I touched on the specific behavior, that Sam’s presentation was engaging, it was highly polished, and it was relevant to the customer’s needs, those behaviors that Sam demonstrated, my feelings were that I was reassured and excited. And the impact was moving this customer towards a contract. Now you can make the FBI message in a recognition message a whole lot shorter to it doesn’t need to be complicated. You just want to make sure all the ingredients are there for a meaningful exchange. And in this case, we still want to then move into reflectively, listening to what Sam’s response might be, there may not be much of a response. But we want to have this be a dialogue and exchange and honor the person that we just delivered that recognition message to by listening to their response,

Adam Salgat 13:19
whatever really love about the example that you just gave there. And even the example of the ineffective is the depth of which these are written out. Obviously, you’ve spent some time to think about these examples. But it’s something that I would encourage listeners, if you’re stepping through this, consider taking the time, the effort is going to show in the result when you sit down with this person, and maybe you can back me up in that space. Oh,

Jules Maloney 13:43
Adam, I’ve been working on these tools for years. And I love it when they come in handy when that tool is right there in my pocket, the situation arises, and maybe a colleague answered a question for me, or helped me navigate through a challenge that I was having. And in that moment, I can tell them immediately, what specifically they just did, that supported me and moving forward in my work, and how I’m experiencing it. So those three things can happen very quickly. And I don’t know about you, but I love hearing what I do well. And I also see how it supports really amazing workplace relationships. And these are often relationships that are built on authenticity and trust. It doesn’t mean that it would be BFFs with all of my coworkers. But what I do want to have is respectful, rich relationships where we can be proud of the work that we’re doing together. And these messages help. It helps us understand what we’re doing and what we’re doing well, and what we value in each other. And I’d have some tips on how people can practice in particular the recognition message, because I do believe it’s an easier way to access the FBI model, because we do get juiced on telling people what we like about them and what we appreciate about their skills and their abilities. So everybody needs to find their way to create this behavior change in their world of giving more recognition messages. But I got a couple examples I can give you and you find what works for you. If you’re somebody who really does well with setting reminders in your phone, why not put a reminder during your workdays just once give a recognition message to a colleague or a coworker, it doesn’t need to be complex. If, who maybe walks to go get lunch or coffee, on your way back, can you swing by a colleague’s desk or their workspace and give them a recognition message, I’m really talking like five minutes of your time, not a big time investment. But the reward can be tremendous for your relationship, your skills and abilities and the culture of your workplace. Now, there’s one other one I wanted to share with you because I love this tool. So much. I know somebody who uses what we call a coin method. So in the morning, he starts with five coins in his left pocket. And that’s to remind him to try to give five recognition messages throughout the day. So as he moves through his day, each time that he gives an authentic FBI built recognition message, he moves one coin from his left pocket to his right pocket. So at the end of the day, if he’s been engaging with that skill, he’ll have moved all five points from his left pocket to his right pocket. Now for me, I love the tangible part of that much more rich for me than a reminder in my phone, I’ll see their minor pop out and be like, Yeah, I’ll get to it. And then I forget, but um, know what I have coins in my pocket. And that’ll remind the interest that physical movement. And you can do it anyway, a post it note on your workspace that you move from one side of your desk to the other, whatever that might be. So find the strategies that work for you to practice this model in this method, and it’ll support you in leaning into those confrontation messages as well.

Adam Salgat 16:52
I love that last one to the physical coins in the pocket move over just to help you keep in mind what what it is that you want to accomplish in that day. And then hack, maybe, you know, change those coins into the vending machine at the end to get to reward yourself with a Snickers or something like that. You never know.

Jules Maloney 17:08
Exactly, exactly. I like your thinking there.

Adam Salgat 17:12
So you had one other mention of how we can use this FBI. And the last one you mentioned there was when we’ve messed up and when we need to own up and repair relationships. Aren’t you talk about that?

Jules Maloney 17:24
Absolutely, because we all make mistakes where. And when we run our trainings and our courses that engage leaders specifically, this is a key part of what we talk about, really to be a strong leader, we need to own our mistakes, and it is vulnerable. But it is also very powerful. So when we all met, we mess up and we can step into the space with another person and speak into that it lets our colleagues, the people report to us, the people around us know that we can have do overs, we can share our faults and our vulnerabilities because we will fail we will have those challenges, and still maintain rich relationships. So let me give you an example of how we do this. So let’s say you drop the ball at work, you didn’t do your part, maybe you left a coworker scrambling to fill in the gaps. And then maybe they got the blame from the work not being done or being done well or being done on time. I’ve seen this happen so many times in different forms, different contexts. And I’ve been party to it myself. This is really tough stuff. But it happens. It’s common. We’re humans are messy. So when we own our part, we let the person know that we messed up, and how we’re experiencing the impact of that we can really show a bob chapman, Paul’s truly human leadership, because we are chronically human. And we’re equally capable of momentously. Wonderful. And tragically erroneous behaviors are complicated. And we’re complex. In a situation where we need to lean in and own our stuff. With this little bit of a twist. It’s important to look at our own behaviors first. So when we’re speaking to the behaviors portion of this model, it’s our behaviors. What did we do that we are not proud of list them out, write them down. This is going to add a little more bulk to the message because our owning this is actually a key part of this message. So if I’m preparing a message to you, where I’m kind of leaning into messing up, this is what I need to do. First, I’m gonna identify my feelings that have come up from this situation. That’s obviously pushing me to want to have a conversation with you. So hopefully they’re not too difficult to find. Pull out our feelings we’ll pull out of feelings list. Name what’s coming up for us. I know this is vulnerable, especially in the workplace. We don’t have to start off talking with our feelings but we need to have them in there. Then very specifically, what did I do? Or what didn’t? I do? And then why does this matter? What is the impact? Why am I bringing this up? Now the added piece here is we’re going to revisit the behaviors again. And in this case, we’re going to list what we should have done instead. So let me give you an example. So you can get a sense of what it might sound like. Kelly, last week, I did not allow myself enough time to get the correct data for our team report, I sent you incomplete data, and I totally sent it at the end of the day, knowing that you had already signed off for the work day, I left you scrambling to fill in not only my missing data, but to clean up my errors. I saw the email that came through, and it called you out on my poor work. I’m embarrassed, I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t prepared. And now I’m worried about how this is going to impact our work relationship. Because I respect and I value working with you. What I should have done instead is obviously start earlier on the data. And then if I recognize that I was running behind, I should have let you know sooner so that you would have been aware, I’m really curious how all of this lands for you. And then we move into reflectively listening. So I delivered my message, I stated the behaviors that I did, how I felt the impact on the relationship, and what I could have done differently. And now I’m going to listen to Kelly’s response and let that dialogue continue. Super vulnerable stuff, Adam, but it is powerful. And this is something that you can demonstrate to the people around you, the people who report to you, your colleagues, and show that even when we’re in these sticky situations, we can own it, and then improve from there.

Adam Salgat 21:47
Again, I really love the examples that you put together because I believe it will resonate with people, I believe it’ll make them think about, oh, I have done that exact kind of thing, or I know someone who’s doing that exact kind of thing. And then maybe they can find a way to approach them. Or maybe if they’ve done it. Now we’ve given them the idea of using the FBI be with behaviors coming in as what they could have done differently as an option for them to approach others to apologize or to, I guess even bring up a situation and then decide how to move forward.

Jules Maloney 22:20
Right? Absolutely. I have certainly had my fair share of mistakes. And I know I’m going to have more that’s sort of the growth edge for me, right? When I’m in this place of vulnerably. Looking at where I didn’t perform as well as I could have, or where I know I have the capacity to do. It allows me to say, Well, what happened there? And how did that impact the people around because I’m driven by relationships, and I want people to respect me as much as I want to build respect with them. So if I messed up, I got to step into that growth edge, own it, and then have that conversation. Hearing how it impacted them as well, is important. You know, in this case, Kelly might have might have been like, Ah, it’s not a big deal. You know, I could see you’re struggling and I knew it was gonna happen. Or Kelly might give me very different feedback that maybe I was surprised to hear. But it allows me to grow and lean into becoming the leader that I want to be.

Adam Salgat 23:17
So as we look to wrap up today’s conversation around FBI and using it through the leadership lens. What do you want our listeners to keep in mind? What is today’s key takeaway,

Jules Maloney 23:29
the key takeaway is that this is a tool that you can have handy at any time. Don’t be afraid of it, practice it in low risk situations, practice with the recognition message. The more you get comfortable with it, the easier it’ll be to access it when things are more difficult things or higher risks or your higher level of vulnerability because you might have made a mistake, and you need to own up to it. Practice, practice. And I think you’ll see rich rewards come to you with that practice.

Adam Salgat 23:59
Jules, thank you so much for giving us this reminder for breaking this down and with multiple examples and allowing us the opportunity to grow in this space. Because, as you said, it is a tool that can really help push someone through tough situations or create some really awesome situations where they thank someone through recognition.

Jules Maloney 24:21
Yes, Adam. Absolutely. This is the world I want to live in where people communicate with this level of clarity and skill and invite people towards connection versus disconnection. So thanks for inviting me to share this with you and with our listeners. And I hope that these ripples out from here