A common question that I get is, ‘how to give feedback to assistants, intake coordinators, other counselors, and people that are working in your business that help you thrive and grow’. But, also, how do you do it in a way that’s not ‘jerky’ and that respects people’s autonomy as a professional. While also recognizing that, when you give something to someone to do, they don’t always do it the way that you want them to.
Idealistic Versus Realistic
Let’s start with the concept of what we wish would happen. That is that you could give someone a task to do and they would just do it perfect the first time. They would ask questions if they get stuck, and follow up with you to ask for feedback. That doesn’t happen.
When you are actually giving someone feedback, you are protecting them from themselves. You’re saying, “Here is the boundary, I’m going to let you go just a little bit further before you really screw things up”. And, you’re also protecting yourself and your business as well. So that they don’t get so far down the line that they’ve screwed something up within your business. For example, if I hire an assistant, I’m going to start with something that I think they can be successful with. I’m going to give them a small, bite-size kind of chew of that and then I’m going to give them more and more and more, over time. Instead of giving them the whole keys to the kingdom from the first day.
Plan, Do, Check, Adjust
So, let’s talk about one model that’s known in the business world. It’s plan, do, check, adjust. This four-part model is used throughout business in a number of different ways. So, first, you’re going to plan a project and give as many details as you can. Then, you’re going to do it, or have that person do it. You’re then going to check back in, and then you’re going to make adjustments. So, if you start with talking to someone, you can talk about how you’re going to plan, do, check, and adjust. You’re going to keep going through that cycle. Then, feedback becomes a natural part of the conversation.
When I hired my Chief Marketing Officer, Sam, back in June – she had been with me part-time for about a year before that – she had slowly been doing more and more and more and then she went full-time. We set up a weekly half hour meeting, that we still do, where I give her feedback on things, she asks me questions on things, and it saves us both a ton of time. We don’t have all these back and forths regarding email and getting things done. Instead, we come to the meeting prepared, knowing what we want to talk about and we can get it done quickly. Rather than having to have a whole bunch of back-and-forth and feedback that’s when you’re between sessions, or when you’re busy, or when it just comes to mind. Instead, it’s planned out.
I use Trello, in particular, to keep track of what my assistants are doing. Trello has an app on the phone and it has these things called ‘Boards’. So I’m going to walk you through what my mine and Sam’s board looks like. Sam and I have a board that we share and there are ‘Lists’ within it. So, for example, we have her ‘To-Do’ list, what she’s ‘Currently Working On’, what’s ‘Ongoing’ (things that aren’t time limited), things that she’s ‘Finished That I Need to Give Feedback’, ‘Ideas’ that I have, ‘Completed’, and ‘Resources and Tools’.
What’s nice about Trello is that there are ‘Cards’ within each of these lists. So I put cards in the lists and can include a due date, checklist, or someone else from my team on them. This keeps us all organized, so that we know exactly where we’re at any different stage of the projects that we’re working on. It saves so much time, it helps you understand exactly where things are at, and then you’re giving feedback in a way that you know is a little more clear. Also, Trello is totally free to use! Here’s a video to a Trello walkthrough:
Joe Sanok is the owner of Mental Wellness Counseling and the host of the top podcast, Practice of the Practice. The podcast was recently named one of Huffington Post’s top 100 podcasts. For more on personal and business growth go to www.PracticeofthePractice.com