Today's episode is an EPIC conversation with Petra Vega, Liberatory Leadership Coach.
She shares her insights around giving and receiving feedback that feels good. She emphasizes the need for trauma-informed and generative approaches.
We talk extensively about "feedback fuckery", such as commenting on someone's facial expressions or making personal attacks, and highlights the importance of consent and trust in feedback conversations.
We also talked about the power dynamics involved in giving feedback and the need to consider individual preferences and goals.
Key takeaways include:
- Feedback should be trauma-informed and generative, focusing on growth and empowerment.
- Examples of feedback fuckery include commenting on personal attributes and making personal attacks.
- Consent, trust, and individual preferences are crucial in feedback conversations.
- Power dynamics and goals should be considered when giving feedback.
Check out the episode and then let me know, what was the most impactful part of Petra's message?
Resources mentioned in the show
- Feel Good Feedback Guide: Practical tips and strategies for giving feedback in a more effective and empowering manner.
Petra: I think there's a lot of training that's really around like, as the manager how do you communicate to your direct report supervising whatever the language people use authority assertion. How do you get them to do the thing that you know they need to do. How do you know they need to do that thing? How are you so certain?
And for those of us who building that self trust, self assuredness is a growth process. That approach, I imagine, wouldn't work for us, because you're like, oh my god, what if I tell them the wrong thing, right, and so like, then, then the shift has to be that is that it's about the receiver, then we need to do more checking in around like, who is the receiver, and really being able to, this is a piece around this is what inclusion looks like in practice, is that, Yes, every one of the people that you're supervising may, may want to receive feedback differently, and that's inclusion, right?
That it's not, it's not this standardized, like, everyone likes it this way. They might, you might work with that kind of team, but I would invite you, if you were to ask some of the questions that I asked in this guide that it's probably not the case, right?
And that it's really an opportunity for you to really be equitable, right? Providing people the kind of support that they want, In those different feedback situations. And so again, it's really about like, but how does the receiver like it, right? Because the, the intention around feedback is this is more likely to be implemented because it's about the person who's doing the implementation versus you it's just the deliver of this feedback.
Well, Hey there, I'm Liz St. Jean, and this is the Rise in your Nine to Five podcast. Where I help quietly ambitious leaders who want to have meaningful and fulfilling careers, making an impact in the world. It's where strategy meets intuition to become a better leader with more joy, less stress and endless impact.
So let's break free from perfectionism, imposter thoughts. And that inner rule keeper that keeps you in a career comfort zone. It's time to become unapologetically you. And step into the life you were meant to live. We're going to talk presence, productivity, and having it all. Or as my four-year-old would say, we're going to take over the world. So let's get to it.
Liz: Hey, everyone. Just before we jump into this episode, I want to give you a big heads up. That while I mark all of my episodes as explicit this one. Is quite explicit. So if you listen to the podcast with littles around, just be warned, there is a fair amount of spicy language. In this episode, I'm giving you fair warning. Most of it is in the second half of the episode, we get previously spicy with some conversations and I think you'll love it, but I want to give you a heads up because I know a lot of people might have this on the car or in the house, and there might be folks around. Um, that are not as interested in the spicy language. And also if that's you as well, you, you may want to skip past that part. But it is a really, really good conversation with Petra and we get into some really, really important themes around feedback. And i just want to give you a heads up it gets a little bit spicy but you are going to love this episode you're going to love petra just as much as i do i'm sure so with that please enjoy.
Well, hello, everyone. I am so excited for this episode. This one has been in the works for, I want to say, a month, maybe even two months or so. I've been really, really looking forward to it. Um, I have a guest here today. Petra has Um, I'm laughing because I don't know if she's known this, but she has quickly become one of my most favorite people, even though we don't know each other super well yet.
But I am obsessed with everything she does and I'm so excited to introduce you to her. So I'm going to, let me read out of the bio and then we're going to hear about, um, hear directly from her. Petra Vega she/Ella is a queer black Puerto Rican from a tiny town in upstate New York. So not that far from Canada, who after years of being told she should be seen and not heard at home and the world.
She decided to reclaim her voice. And after learning about multilayered systems of oppression that were operating within and outside of her, Petra began doing the inner and outer work of questioning healing. And disrupting as the founder of create more possibilities, Petra helps marginalize nonprofit leaders in transforming the self doubt that's getting in the way of them leading in a way that feels good for them.
And their team as a liberatory leadership coach, emergent strategist, facilitator and radical social worker, Petra weaves and anti oppression lens. Trauma informed and healing centered tools with a playful possibility to support marginalized folks in leading from a place of liberation, not perfection. So welcome Petra, so happy to have you here.
Petra: Thank you so much, Liz. I'm so excited to talk to you.
Liz: So let's kick it off with telling us. What is your story and and who do you work with? Let's go into a little bit more detail on
Petra: that. Yeah, so I'll start in reverse order because you heard a little bit about my story and that's really the kind of person that I work with.
And so if you can imagine for the quietly ambitious folks that are listening to you today, Um, you can think about yourself as in a meeting and you're wanting to say something right maybe it's to the contrary of it's being said maybe have a different perspective. But it really it just won't come out you're like it's at the tip of your tongue or maybe your tummy is doing backflips is you're like oh my god I don't.
How do I even say it can I say it. And you just end up not saying it right and so I really help black and brown queer disabled nonprofit leaders who have those kinds of struggles, finally be able to speak up in those moments really in a way that's authentic, that really is like packed with your power.
And really in a way that isn't just you right so in a way that's also collective right that part of the fear is like oh I'm the only one that feels this way and so the way that I work with people is in thinking about like what kind of relationship you're creating so it's not just you saying the thing whatever that thing may mean that I that's my approach and the people that I want to work with because that's really been my story right that like I was someone Really struggled to speak up because of what I thought it had to sound like because of what I thought leadership met because of my own experiences in my family that I was like, Oh, I just don't get to say things right inside to fight to be able to speak up.
And so that's the kind of work that I do with people who are like, I so desperately want to say something, but I don't there's so many doubts that I have I'm not really sure how it's going to land I don't even know how to say it should I say it and so I help people kind of work through all of that stuff, and to do it in a way that isn't just them doing it by themselves.
Liz: That makes so much sense. And. So Petra and I had talked about some questions ahead of time, but I also warned her I might go off script. So we're going off script right off the bat here because in something you said there, what came up for me was I hear a lot about people. So when they're going for those internal promotions or thinking about it, and the doubts start coming up and one thing I've heard a lot is.
When they, they kind of confess it, they, they, they realize it's there and they say, well, but I don't want to be like, well, what if people don't like me? I'm they, they think of being an, a manager or a leader as giving, you know, giving that feedback that we're going to get into. And I think, well, what if people won't like me?
So I'm curious what you would say to that person who kind of see, they know that that they're having that fear, that self doubt.
Petra: Yeah, well, so one of the one of my favorite strategies for for folks and I wonder given that if if the people listening here really are trying to make impact in the world to try to create change, they probably really care about people that I am curious about what evidence people have this right so I call this like where the receipts exercise that there are ways in which.
That inner critic, the inner goblin. I've named mine, his name is Walter when he comes to talk to me. Um, and I'm like, okay, show me the proof, Walter. Like, why do you think people aren't gonna like me? Right? And I also, in, to kind of combat that, that there may or may not be receipts, but I also create a brag folder that I think we often may think about, like, here are our achievements.
And I'm like, nope. For me, it's literally like any, any deeply nice thing people say about me because I know I have that part of me that'll be like everyone hates me, no one cares, everyone's bothered by me, and I'm like, wait a minute, where are the receipts? Here are the receipts I'm actually collecting, you know, so that's what I would offer to this person is like, it might be you, it might, may or may not be true, but where are the receipts?
Where's the proof? And if you can't find proof, Talk to some people find the evidence and I, I hope that you have people that people have learned I heard your podcast episode about like who are the people that you need to have who your allies and I'm like, I hope you have allies, it'll tell you, it's okay.
There are other reasons to be, um, Thoughtful or considerate or maybe curious about this promotion that isn't like, oh, people won't like me.
Liz: I love that. Yes, we all have that little inner voice. Sometimes I call it the inner mean girl. Yeah. But the other one that I love, I've talked about this every now and then, I don't know Petra if I've shared this with you.
Um, I call, I call it Brian. The reason being because when I text my one of my besties and we talk about our brain telling us mean messages, often it autocorrects to Brian like just by itself. So, my, it's like, Brian, you're not being helpful right now. That's, you know, thank thank you for your contribution.
That was, that was not what I
Petra: needed at the moment. I did not can say and we'll talk about why that's, but I did not, I didn't ask to hear from you, Brian. Yes,
Liz: and I love that having with that frag folder that So I, I, I'm obsessed with OneNote. I use OneNote. I'm also very, very much obsessed with, like, when you're done, your work, at the end of the day, turn off your computer and restart it in the morning.
And I have it set up so that OneNote opens when I, so I restart, it opens as the first thing I see, and the first page is my, uh, to borrow from someone else on a, on the podcast. It's called it the Smile file. That's how I, that that's how I start. And I, I. So just like you said, like, what's the evidence?
What's the receipts? How do we know?
Petra: Right. I love that so much. And it's not to make us untouchable to say that, Oh, we're not above criticism or anything like that, but just like. I imagine that if your people are like the people I help, it is outsized, right? That those of us that actually, um, are probably doing a lot of good stuff in the world have an outsized sense of this Brian.
Like, so how do we balance it with some Maria's and some Shaniqua's? And like, who are some other people that are in our circle who don't think of us as Brian? Yes. Oh, I
Liz: love that so much. So I'm curious to hear from you about your, um, your core message. So, so we're going to go into some detail about specifically into feedback, but generally speaking, if someone walked away from this episode and walked away from a conversation with you, what's the core message you'd want them to walk away
Yeah, so I have so many core messages, Liz. But I think the one that I want to offer, particularly if your listeners are on the margins, like in like black and brown, queer, fat women, like all of these folks that aren't what the status quo looks like, is that if you are experiencing some self that it's imperfectionism that I want to offer that it might be fueled by some internalized oppression, right?
That Probably the folks that you're working with have an understanding of diversity and equity and inclusion and just want to offer that it's not stuff that happens out in the world. It's not only in the systems, it's stuff that gets inside too, right? And so I think about like that, my, my Walter, I'm like, Oh, that's a, that's probably a white guy, right?
There's something about the ways in which he sees the world that I don't see the world that discredits me. And so, of course, it's going to fill me with doubt, right, or it might be someone as a queer person that may be looking at relationships, that may be looking at how I show love in a very hetero way, and that's just not how I show love.
And so, of course, it's going to discredit and make me feel like I don't have any authority, I don't have any agency, I don't have any choice in showing up or even talking about leadership in the way that I am. So I just want to offer that to people, that as people are thinking about, like, why am I like this?
Why am I having this struggle that potentially could be internalized oppression?
Liz: That is so powerful. I don't think I've ever thought about Brian that way. He is totally a white dude. I can see him sitting at the boardroom table looking at me like, you know, and it's kind of a combination of, you know, it's not one specific person, but it is a combination and combination from society and movies and TV shows and stereotypes and all those things.
But when Brian's not being helpful, he's that.
Petra: Yeah. And that even what you're saying, right, that it might not even, you might know Brian, right. And Brian might be a white guy and you're like, I love him. Right. So it's really just like, what is the, the most opposite that we all have this idea of, of who this person is, even if we don't know that person, which is why I'm like.
It's in the ether and then it gets inside us and we're like, well, how did, how did I even learn that this, these things about myself that I'm like, that's what I want to invite us into the curiosity. I'm like, how did you even learn what's okay. What's not okay.
Liz: That's amazing. So let's shift a little bit because I think it links in with what we're going to get into, which is looking at feedback and the linkage that I'm seeing, and let's talk about this for a second.
Is that there's kind of this sort of quote, understood way of giving feedback, what feedback is and how it's so important to give it in certain ways. And you can't y'all can't see me, but I'm doing like robotic kind of movements here. Um, so talk to me about that. Like, what do you see the same connections?
What connections do you see there?
Petra: Yeah, I totally see the same thing around, like, what do we, again, what's the standard, right? And I think the folks that we're trying to work with are probably, um, they're not doing well with this standard, whatever the standard is in their lives, they're like, I don't want to be like that, right?
Which is why they're like, but I still, I have desires, and I have wants, and there's things that I want for my life, but I don't want to do it in that kind of way. That's how I also see feedback, right? There's a very, yeah. Standardized, sanitized kind of way that like it has to be and it's and for me the thing too that I think is like it is unwritten like I don't, I don't know that I've ever attended a thing of meeting about feedback and if I have it's been very bland and it's like, it's not considering all of these other Um, situations or scenarios.
And I think the other piece for me, right, as we think about, like, our between our own internal narrative of what's happening outside of the world, feedback is super essential, which is how I'm coming away with feedback is that we need it. Like, we need people to tell us where the places that like, maybe we missed the mark, or maybe our intentions aren't meeting our impact.
We actually need that from each other. And I just want us to approach that with more consent and generative energy and trauma informed awareness as we can, because it's necessary and Transcribed by https: otter. ai That's another way that we can oppress and keep each other down.
Liz: Okay, so we're going to dig into this.
So for everyone listening, Petra has a resource called the Feel Good Feedback Guide. And we're going to drop a link to that in the show notes. You can get it on from her website, uh, createmorepossibilities. com, right? Yes. Okay, perfect. So we'll make sure to share that a bunch of times because you're going to want this guide.
You are 100 percent going to want it. We're going to walk through some of it right now so you can also get it right in your ears as you're listening to it. Um, I was so compelled by this is actually one of the first things that we had to kind of touched on when you and I first had connected and we were talking about feedback.
What, what's the story behind why you created this
Petra: Yeah. So two part story. So the first part, the really impetus in terms of finally producing this and offering it is something that like, please play with, please make your own. Um, is that I was a victim of some feedback suckery, which I hope that we'll talk about later on around like what are some of those examples, but my particular example was that I, I was in a place that I did communicate how I like to receive feedback.
And all of those things were not honored. And it was, it was a very traumatic situation for me. Right. And I was like, Oh, this cannot, this can't be it. Right. And so, as someone who grew up in social change and activism as a child, oftentimes the things that make me angry is when I produce my best stuff.
Right. They're like, Oh, no, I just can't be the way. And so my response this situation that this traumatic event where I was getting some feedback from my supervisors and part of it was just the power dynamics and really relying on that that one of the things that I offer is like that feedback should be one to one right versus this was a two people on one, and for, like, An hour and a half.
Like, feedback doesn't, it doesn't need to be all of that. This much of an ordeal, and there's lots of things wrong with that situation. But that was really the, the impetus for me offering it.
And then the second thing was that, as someone who, in all of my formal leadership roles that I've had, I've never used punitive measures, such as like, You better fix this thing next time or I'm going to fire you.
I've never done that. And that's not the area in which I want to lead or supervise or manage people. And so it's really been, I've had to think about like, okay, well, if I'm not using this thing that like, quote unquote, in my authority to use, it's like, if you don't get this together. You don't have a job here anymore, which I feel like is usually the go to.
Like, that's how we usually make people do stuff. It's like, there's a serious consequence. Versus my approach is like, well, I really want to help you grow. What might it look like if I really do care about your growth? Which is what we say that feedback is about. But the fuckery piece of it is that it's often not what feedback does in practice.
Liz: And another piece I'm going to ask now, so I don't lose it. I'm going to check in with you about this. I originally a very first seat of our conversation was around. I think I was sharing that I so often see advice around feedback as the managers know best. You know, it's very patriarchal that like father knows best kind of feeling to it.
And I'd love to get your thoughts on that and how, you know, that plays into, you know, the, the why you created the guide, how, how you created it and, um, anything else you want to say about that.
Petra: Totally. So I think this is why I shared earlier, like I have so many core messages, Liz, but I think the core in this one is really that my perspective around feedback is that it's about the receiver and not the giver.
I think there's a lot of training that's really around like, as the manager, how do you communicate to your direct report supervising whatever the language people use authority assertion. How do you get them to do the thing that you know they need to do. How do you know they need to do that thing? How are you so certain?
And again, for those of us who building that self trust, self assuredness is a growth process. That approach, I imagine, wouldn't help, wouldn't work for us, because you're like, oh my god, what if I tell them the wrong thing, right, and so like, then, then the shift has to be that, okay, so it's not about the person delivering, my perspective is that it's about the receiver, then we need to do more checking in around like, who is the receiver, and really being able to, this is a piece around like, um, inclusion, that for me is like, this is what inclusion looks like in practice, is that, Yes, every one of the people that you're supervising may, may want to receive feedback differently, and that's inclusion, right?
That it's not, it's not this standardized, like, everyone likes it this way. They might, you might work with that kind of team, but I would invite you, if you were to ask some of the questions that I asked in this guide and some, offering some kind of ways to set up, like, this exploration of how people like to receive feedback, that it's probably not the case, right?
And that it's really an opportunity for you to really be equitable, right? Providing people the kind of support that they want, In those different feedback situations. And so again, it's really about like, but how does the receiver like it, right? Because the, the intention around feedback is all the same is that we want.
We don't speak just to speak. Some of us do right but it's like oh we want someone to do something with this right and so that's why I need I phrase it the way that like, this is more likely to be implemented because it's about the person who's doing the implementation versus you it's just the deliver of this feedback.
Liz: And I, one of the things that. Blew me away. It was such a simple yet so and so so obvious and yet so overlooked aspect of feedback is you have a section where you talk about method of feedback delivery, but you make the point and it's so clear and so powerful of. Asking people how do they like to receive feedback and it was like that it just blew my mind.
How is this not talked about more often? This is just absolutely critical. I think so. Can you tell me more about that and and maybe even some thoughts about why does that get so overlooked and so missed and why don't we think about it?
Petra: Yeah, I think I think it's just one of those things that, um, and you know, this is someone who is in business.
The thing that people say is like, Oh, people don't prepare people just like people that something has to happen. And then people are like, Oh, I need to do something about it. Versus the thing what I'm offering is that the preparation is really essential. And I offer like, in the best case scenario that Offering feedback is really, there's a before process, which is what you're talking about, right?
That like, don't give feedback until you know, how would people like feedback to be given, right? Is this, is it virtually? Is it in person? Is this publicly? Is this privately? Some people do it publicly, and that is so shameful! It is shame filled, right? Versus like, A private approach. Um, do people want it written?
I'm someone who likes it written down. I like, I am, even as someone who offered this feedback, this guidance to the world, I am still, I'm tender around feedback. We all are, right? And so I, my approach is like, I would love it if you wrote it down so that I can work through my feelings about it and then we can actually have a conversation.
Or, I offer a sentence stance, right, that there's particular words that feel like landmines to us, right, like I remember when I, back in, uh, one of my roles that I would supervise students and I would ask them, like, I want to tell you a hard thing, which is my, the way that I insert hard thing for feedback.
How might I say that, right? It's like, well, please don't tell me, can I, can I give you some feedback? I hate that. I'm like, a lot of people have said it that way and it just like makes my, Just arms tingle and like makes you want to poo poo like it's just I can't I can't handle it right but instead could you say, I want to talk to you about that meeting that we had right and it could be anything I think for me it's also an opportunity for folks to really be able to advocate for themselves, which is like,
For those of us that are marginalized or socialized in particular roles or identities, we may not have, this might not be a, a muscle for us yet.
We don't know how to speak up for ourselves. This is an opportunity to do that for you to do some thinking around like, okay, when someone did tell me a hard thing, what was the best way that they said it? Like it, have I, where could it sound like it's a place for us to experiment. Some other things that I offer is also like timing, right?
This is for, particularly if you are working with folks who may be, um, chronically ill or neurodivergent, that the timing, the cadence, when these things happen are really important. Um, you know, for parents, I'm like, I don't know if your kid's having a tantrum, if that's a good time to tell 'em something right?
So again, these, these are things that I'm like, I feel like we might be able to use these skills, these, these, these discernment things in other places, but feedback, which for me is like, So essential just feels like a place that we don't kind of think about it right and so I'll ask like, it's, I like stuff in the morning like let me let give me in the morning don't give it to me at the end of the day when my, my capacity is very low.
I'm thinking about how I'm going to go in my bed and no I don't want to take that with me right but what do people do, it's a, there are sometimes for the person giving the feedback it's very hard for them they wait to the last minute. Which is about you. It's not actually about the person that's receiving it.
Right. But this person would really like it midday or in the morning. And so really having the conversation to say like, okay, this isn't just a throwaway thing I want to tell you, but it's actually really important for your self development. How do I make sure that all of the conditions I talk a lot about, like, what are the stuff that would need to be necessary for it to be working?
What are the conditions? These are some of those conditions so that we can have the most. optimal conversation that we have, if these are things that we can kind of control for.
Liz: And that makes so much sense. And you're, as you were describing it, you're implicitly touching on some of the elements. So in the guide, uh, Petra lays out some different, um, definitions and just in that last description, Petra, you're implicitly identifying them.
And I'm wondering if we can just explicitly pull those out and thinking, um, consent, especially, but also being trauma aware. And what would you like to tell people about that and how that plays into giving feedback?
Petra: Totally, totally. And so I'll start with the consent piece first. And I think this is a big one.
And I feel like I'm going to start doing labs around this, like little practice lab sessions for people to, who are curious about this approach and want to implement it for this. I know right, I'm so excited. Um, and I know from past experience, it's going to be a sticker for people that some people that my approach really is like, can I give you feedback?
And if that person says no, You really can't give them feedback. And that's really what consent is, right? I think people are like, yeah, I just want to check in. Is it okay? And people are like, yeah, but I'm like, I'm looking for an enthusiastic yes. Now is a good time. I'm not looking for like a half yes, half no.
And so again, kind of speaking to the conditions. If you have a culture of silence or a culture of conflict avoidance, you're going to get a lot of unenthusiastic yeses, right? But really like, yeah. I'm not 100%, but like, I'm 75 percent of the way there, that's pretty good. But there's some of us that are like, we really, we really can't hold what people tell us.
And particularly if it's going to come through this lives that isn't. generative or consent based, right? And so that's the first piece. It's like, I'd like to tell you a hard thing is now a good time, right? And ideally you would have had this conversation to know what the good time is and how to phrase it.
But if that person's like right now, it's not a good time right now, it's not a good time. Then I need you to hold it. You need to hold the feedback and say like, okay, when can we revisit this is the, is the thing that I would offer. And I've just had so many experiences where. I've had really had to tell people that and I'm my background is in social work and so I often train folks who were delivering services to community members and families and parents and clients.
And so often I would have our family members and clients say like, this person really sucks, they would tell me that and I have to find a way to share what that could that constructive criticism is in a way that can be feedback that's aligned to whatever the person I'm training is saying, and if that person is not ready to hear it.
that person's not going to become a better social worker. And if I really care about that person being a better social worker, a better worker, a better trainer, whatever this person's role is, I really need to hold this consent piece around like, well, when can you hear it? So that's the first piece. And then this piece about trauma, where did I make the disclaimer that folks may be hearing lots of things around trauma, um, and that this will not certify you in trauma.
Like this, it's one page. I just have it here. I'm assuming that people have a little bit of a sense. Maybe I've done some work around healing or some education, um, but really I look at trauma in two ways around what are the ways we can use some trauma informed approaches that is, it shares around safety, right?
It kind of goes back to like, what's the culture of the environment? Do people feel safe to say no to say yes? This piece about empowerment and voice. Do, can people, can people disagree with their feedback? Is there a back and forth? Right? That that's one way that we can be trauma aware, that there's collaboration, right?
That often when I think about feedback, it's not like, here's what I have to say, do better. We're going back and forth. Does this make sense? Do you see this this way? So yeah, it may, it may take some time, but again, for me, I'm like, if the goal is that someone does something for this, this is a good use of our time.
So I think that trustworthiness. Really big important piece, right? That I have to trust as someone who is offering me some feedback that you actually do care about me, that you actually care about my development. It's not just, um, I don't want, I don't, this isn't necessarily the language I wanna continue to use.
I have to think about something else. But I think about like, there's lots of drive-by feedback. We're just like, we're just, we just walk off. I'm like, I don't want that. Um, and again, just to clarify right, that the, the, my favorite. Uh, definition around trauma comes from, uh, this leading expert on trauma, Peter Levine, that says we become traumatized when our inability, when our ability to respond to perceived threat is somehow overwhelmed, right?
In short, trauma is about loss of connection to ourselves, to our bodies, to our families. So sometimes we deliver some of this feedback, then we think we're bad. That's a loss of connection. That's traumatizing, right? Or we think that the person that's giving us this feedback thinks badly of us.
Um, someone who's part of this community, if that's the way in which this organization, this group feels, that's a loss of connection, right? And once people are in that space where that triggers can happen, I'm like, you've lost them, right? And so again, whatever you're trying to communicate, You, if you are not thinking about it from this trauma aware lens, you will probably need to communicate it again and again and again, because you're just traumatizing people.
People can't even hear what you're saying because they're stuck in this loss of connection.
Liz: That is so helpful. And so I was on a recent training and they were pointing out like being trauma aware is not the same as. Addressing the trauma with the person and it speaks exactly to what you're talking about, whereas we're, we have an awareness of it doesn't know. So I want to just calm people, calm people's brains because it doesn't mean that you're going to be addressing the trauma, but you're, you're conscious of how trauma impacts and you're conscious of it.
And you mentioned the term generative a couple of times, I'd love to know more about what that means and how does it apply in feedback. Yeah.
Petra: And so, generative is really, it's a practice in a a theme that it comes shows up in my emergent strategy practice around how change actually happens. And I'm big into defining things.
And so my, my favorite definition for generative is that it means a relating to or capable of production or reproduction, right? And so that the, the thing is that, that something else has to grow as a result of this feedback, where I find. So much of the feedback that we offer is actually diminishing, right?
And so I offer a metaphor in the guide around like, if the feedback, quote unquote, I'm giving you, um, does not create a new seed, does not create a new opportunity, does not water, does not feel like water to this person. It's actually not feedback, right? That whatever you're offering is intended to really help this person grow.
Um, and that, that really, depending on your approach to what growth is, right? That growth might be like, I want you to be more. Um, like this other person that you're nothing like like I wouldn't I would I would question that around a girl but really like The growth that I, I don't know that I've mentioned yet, but it is really about like, well, how do you wanna grow?
Right? And that, I wanna help you grow towards that direction. So for me, I'm someone who, like, I really embrace balance that I, I'm always looking for like what's the both and in a situation. And so if I'm telling you that I really wanna be balanced and you see me losing my shit , there's a clear way that you could be like, Petra, I know you really care about balance and you kind of lost your cool there versus it being like, Petra, you're so emotional that.
That's gonna, that is a pesticide. That's a pesticide. That's not a fertilizer. More metaphors. Yes. No,
Liz: I love the metaphors. Um, and past the side, such a good one. The other image that I had was like a boot coming down and stomping on the seedling. If you're stomping a seedling, not feedback. That would be, sounds more like criticism, which is just criticism, not helpful.
So what a fantastic segue into the term that I'm obsessed with. Feedback fuckery. So, and this is in the guide, the whole section about what not to do, because as much as we do want, we want to do certain things. Sometimes it's helpful to at least know so you can compare and contrast, right? What the difference is.
So what are some examples that you've come across with your clients or groups? People don't even know they don't realize are doing feedback
Petra: fuckery. Ah, and so I named a few that I have heard predominantly from, from my own experience. Uh, so I want to lead with that, that I'm like, folks are like, oh, that's me.
Then you're not alone, right? These aren't just like things that I kind of created in the ether, but majority are things that I've experienced that I'm like, there's something wrong about that. And I want to explore why. And so one of the ones particularly. For those of us who may wear our hearts on our sleeves, and I'm someone, unless I'm masked, you know very well when I have like, I'm brooding on something, or I'm angry, like I just, I do not have a poker face.
That's not me, right? And so we might, we might say a throwaway phrase around like, oh, your facial expressions are really adversarial, right? Or you're, you're, you look really angry right now, right? Um, as an accusatory kind of way versus like, oh, it looks like you have some questions like there's just ways that you can say things, but just that like oh I see your face there's something wrong with it let me point that out.
This is just the face. If I wanted to say something I could say something right and so again the issue why that is fuckery is like it's unsolicited. I didn't ask you to comment on my face. If you're a woman, you get lots of comments about shit about you all the time. And so this is what that looks like in the workplace is about your face right that we.
I don't know if people are still saying this, but the resting bitch face? People get called out for that shit all the time in the workplace. Um, It's probably problematic, right? Again, uh, if there's a culture around like, Oh, we're a happy family here. Everyone's so happy and joyous and I'm the one that looks upset.
Probably. I, I am, I am disrupting the status quo in that kind of way. Right. And that you're trying to, you're trying to control my face. Right. Then again, I'm just thinking about like, for in terms of this trauma piece that I, I grew up hearing like, fix your face. But this is my face. Right, or whatever version that might be for you.
It's like, oh, I gave you something to cry about, something like that. Um, and again, this is controlling and it's critical. Again, my face has nothing to do with my engagement, my participation, my work ethic. But you have a problem because of this perception of what you think my face means, right? I'm like, that's fuckery.
Other pieces that I found that I'm like, it's an issue, is that when people are quote unquote sharing feedback, then again, I'm like this, I'm, I'm counting on this commentary. It's like, I don't know yet if it's criticism. Or, um, feedback, but I'm like, is this a comment that you may hear something by a third party, right?
That you're like, oh, well, you know, like, maybe your, your supervisor is a John, but you hear from Jane, you really should be careful about what you say. People are talking about how people are talking about you around the office. You're like one. You're not John. You're not like the one responsible for giving me feedback.
Um, and that particularly that kind of feedback right potentially and that is helpful. There's so many like little things that you're like oh you should really be careful right and so I'm like, this really encourages that fear of open conflicts right that instead of like whoever. Has this perception someone else who knows this maybe the third fourth or fifth person that hold it and is now bringing it to you.
Now we're like we can't engage like there might be, there might be some conflict here there's a disagreement of sorts and we can't handle it. And it also creates this environment of policing you're like oh shoot now I have to watch what I say and like, who exactly is talking about me right and again like.
What are the conditions that we're creating for people? Um, and then I'll share one, one more around this, and I think I named it a little bit earlier around just like anything that connects, that attacks people's character or worthiness, right? That you're like, oh, you can't do anything right. I'm like, why are we saying those things to people?
I was like, that's probably traumatic. Probably that person hasn't heard that before. Um, who knows where that started, but probably there, there's some stuff there. And again, it speaks to this generative piece. What do you want someone to do with, you can't do anything right, or that email has another typo.
I told you about this already. What am I supposed to do with that, besides feel shitty about myself? That's not, I can't, there's nowhere else for me to go. And so this piece around like, that's not generative. I would not count that as feel good feedback. Yeah, I love that.
Liz: I, once this was years and years ago, I still so vividly remember, um, one set of, I made a typo.
I had like two typos in a report. It was like a long document. There were two typos that were caught and I, I missed fixing the second one. Hello, ADHD, like, and, and it's like totally my, like my bad, my bad submitted it. The boss called me into his office and yelled at me about it and made this great statement, I don't know what's wrong with you guys and made it about not just me, but about all the workers.
I could laugh about it now, but I was at the time, I was like, what is happening here? What is happening?
Petra: Yeah. That is even one of the, those kinds of displays of leadership has, is what's invited me to be like. There's got to be other ways, right? That I think that particularly for our audience is like, oh, you probably see people who are extroverted or loud.
And you're like, that's not my kind of way. I still want to lead. I want to be a support. I want to be a service, but I, do I need to yell at people? And I think you and I are like, please don't yell at people.
Liz: Please don't yell at people. You do not have to. Yeah. You do not have to in fact, nor should you. So don't model yourself after what you've seen.
One thing, there's a couple of pieces I wanted to pull the thread on, but one of them in particular, so yeah, resting bitch face. That's still, that is still a thing. Uh, a couple of years, not that many years ago, I was at a conference. It was, um, it was actually a training and development conference, but they had one session on women in leadership.
It was one of the most packed rooms in there. It was so great, right? Like everyone's like, okay, we're so interested to learn about it. Yeah. No word of a lie, the presenter gets up on stage, is also, also, uh, female, or appeared to identify as female, and within two minutes, maybe five, was telling us about how you should just smile.
No word of a lie, I was like, my jaw dropped. Come on, this is like, this is a little bit outdated here, like the resting, resting bitch face is a, that's a whole outdated thing. But what I wanted to pull the thread on, it got me thinking and how you phrased it around, you know, like feedback fuckery is saying you look angry, right?
And I, one of the things I'm picking up on too is that that is also focusing very surface level. The fuckery is also there's focusing on the face and the facial expression and completely bypasses what might actually be real emotion, real thought, real core underneath. So I'm curious about what your perspective on like.
If there was a situation where the supervisor, a manager, has done that pre work, right, has talked to the person, has a trusting relationship, is able to give feedback, does it, all those pieces you talked about earlier, and said maybe just a slight shift, and said something like, it looks like you're feeling angry, you know, how true is that?
And what's going on? What would you like to share about that? Something to that effect. What are your thoughts on that? Is that going too far? Is that like mini fuckery? Or is there something you can work with there?
Petra: Okay. So just to clarify, is this, are we in a, is this a team meeting or are we having a one on one conversation?
This is one, this is
Liz: following exactly what you described in the guide. So you know, the person, you know how they want feedback. It's a time they like it's one on one it's private and you have a trusting relationship, right? You're not two weeks into the new job, supervising someone, for example.
Petra: Yeah. So I think, I think, I think this is really an, um, I don't have any resources or tools around this, but I do think that there's a spectrum of trust to write that I think that I'm like, Oh, we have really, really, really solid trust that we've like been through some stuff I've given you feedback before, that'd be like, you look real mad, you go that I would, I would do that right but I think that Even depending on, and I'm like, Oh, I think we have level one of trust.
If I had to do it into levels and I'm like, Oh, we're, we're building some trust. So we haven't really had any conflict. I haven't had to share a hard thing. You haven't had to share a hard thing with me. We don't really have too much quote unquote skin in the game. I would offer like, Oh, can I want to, how was that meeting for you?
I would just leave it super general that I don't think that. Um, I think for me is that we can, we can just, we can be. We don't need to be as targeted to that. I think that's also part of it, right? Because I think part of the, it can get controlling and that like, oh, you look angry, right? That I'm like, oh, you're angry.
It's not my angry. Like, I think those are the places that we can get, um, really by our own lived experience and, and like, create a problem, right? Because we all have a general, a general consensus that I'm like, oh, people are angry. There's a problem, right? That we should fix it. We should do something about it versus like, Okay.
I just want to check in with you. How was that meeting? Like you have your own intention. You're like, this person was very mad. Like I, and they didn't say anything, but it's like, Oh, how, how did that meeting go for you? Right. Um, and this person might be like, well, I thought that was fricking ridiculous.
Right. They might, or they might be like, Oh, it's totally fine. And I'm like, then, then I might say that I was like, well, I felt like you had, there were some feelings you had, like, I, again, I would like, what's the level deeper? I wouldn't go straight into like, you looked very mad, like, I'd be like, I get it.
Then it creates this, um, cultural policing right there. Like, Oh my God, they were staring at me. Cause again, I don't know how many people are in this meeting. It might've just been a few of you. If you're someone who already feels pretty self conscious about your face again, like these are lots of things that people may not be considering, but I.
I'm inviting us to consider, right? That like, what are, what are some other alternatives? And I'm thinking about like, start general and then go a level deeper. Oh,
Liz: that's so good. Um, the, I have two thoughts. I'm going to hopefully hold on both of them. I'll start with one. So one piece of training that has just honestly never quite sat well with me, and I'm curious to get your perspective is around, it's kind of a similar in the sense of, you know, you get a training on feedback and they say, Oh, don't you don't say that the person looks mad or whatever, you know, but what the instead what the recommendation is, is to describe the behavior that you saw that you didn't like, so to speak, right?
So you wouldn't say, Oh, you looked annoyed. Instead, you would say, you rolled your eyes and slapped the The paper on the, on the table. When you do that, it makes you look like you're angry, blah, blah, blah, and it kind of goes from there. And I'm curious if that does or does not sit well with you as well.
Cause that I, but I could never put it into words. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Petra: I think that kind of reminds me of, um, I think there's also like, I imagine when I start doing this practice labs and get more examples like these, that there'll be more, more texture than what I'm offering here initially.
But I also, I think about like, okay. But if someone. That the old Like that that I've seen of people who are like flipping tables like flipping throwing papers slamming things are people in extreme leadership positions right there like this might be the executive, or this might be someone who holds a lot of power.
I don't know too many people who are frontline. Uh, workers, coordinators, associates who are acting that way. So I think there's another level of power dynamics in terms of like, who, who is able to deliver this feedback and who will this person listen to? And so I'd be for, for the person who is in a place where this person can receive that kind of feedback.
That I'm like, for that person, if they're feeling that hot about it, probably that approach would be helpful, right, because it, I imagine that that, and I'm making lots of assumptions about this kind of person, but it, but I'm like, if you're up, if you're responding in that kind of way, I'm curious about your self awareness.
You know that I'm like, oh, that's a completely and I'm like, but is that one of your goals that I'm like Is your level of self awareness? Um, I think this is just speaks largely even bigger to the well how are we operating that I think that the piece that we can get into control and policing and like watching each other is who we actually don't know what the norms are in this community, right?
So many of us may not even know like, what are the norms of feedback? Who gets to give feedback? Is there a person who are responsible? Can any one of us get feedback? Then I'm like, then y'all need to be having these kinds of conversations with everyone, right? So it's really like, um, I'm someone that I like, I try to practice these things.
So when things like this do happen, there are some ways that I can navigate. But if that's not, if that's not how people are operating, that that's like, like, we need to, this is the, um, what is it? This is the Results of a, of a larger root issue, right? If people are, I would say, allowed to respond in those kinds of ways, um, and not like, I'm like, I'm like, you can do that.
Maybe you're, you're gonna get, you're gonna quit. You're like, I'm making the biggest. But if you're like, no, I'm expect to come into work the next day and not have anyone say anything about me. Yeah, those are just my initial thoughts .
Liz: Yeah, so and there's so many scenarios that we can dive into. I want to remind everyone what Petra said about these labs that she's going to be running. So if you have these kind of thoughts, you're looking, you're trying to like, Figure out some of this stuff for yourself, go check it out, go check out her labs. It's a chance to go and have a kind of a safe space where yeah, and experiment and test it out and just like tinker with your approach.
So leave it there as much as I could go into so many different scenarios. Um, one thing I want to do, okay, it's kind of two things. One, for everyone who's listening, um, I want to give you kind of a call to adventure with us, which is find us on, on Instagram. Most likely I might do this on LinkedIn as well, but Instagram for sure.
Come look for the, the post about this, about Feedback Fuckery and, and share your story. Either I would, I would, I mean, I think we would really love to hear people honestly and kind of maybe laughingly share when you've done feedback buckery so that we can all acknowledge we've all done it. Um, or if you want to share, like when you've, you've seen it or experienced the other side of it, but let's just, sometimes it's, it can be helpful to get it out.
And we want to hear your stories about that. So look for us.
Petra: Even could I could I share something with again to that piece right that it's a for folks who are listening is it just like to for some transparency, since the radical world really is one of my, one of my values that I remember that part of me in developing this and experimenting with it was that I've had to also get feedback fuckery right that there's a A colleague that I had, who is now like one of my closest friends, um, and she had, uh, in the office, and you might have this person, she would just be like, just speeding inside.
She was so fast. She would just like walk, run everywhere. And I'm like, we did not work in an environment, it wasn't the ER, like no one's dying, but she would just be like, at the level of speed, so like wild to me. And I'm someone who's like a proponent of like slow and steady, um, And so I had done one of the feedback, the feedback fuckery things around like commenting on your body or your behavior, you know, um, mostly your body right that I was like, Oh, you don't need to go that fast.
Because we can just slow down right but for her was like, why are you trying to control what I do with my body and I was like, gosh. I fucked up. I messed up. I messed up. I'm so sorry. I had no idea. Right. And again, I'm like, even the things that were like, Oh, well, aren't we all trying to embrace like, well being and wellness and all this other stuff.
But again, it's like, I don't, I didn't know her goals. I had no idea that for her, it was like, it's efficient for me to go this way. Right. Or for those of us who may, um, be neurodivergent or, or, or just like, Like, fidgety things, we just might be moving, we might be fidgeting with some shit, and so for you to comment in that kind of way makes whatever that person's doing naturally a bad thing, right?
That's about control and just like, oh you're, I don't like what you're doing, I need you to stop it. We're like, we're, you know, that person's not bothering you. You know, but depending on how much power we have in those positions. And I was someone who did have a little bit of positional power like that.
That's not cool for me to have said that. And so I, she let me know, it was like, I don't appreciate you trying to control my body. And I was like, well, shoot, I was not, I was, that was not my intention. I'm so sorry. Right. And so later on, we actually like her and I started coaching together. And this particular speediness that she had kind of came up in our coaching meetings around her going too fast and really she wanted to be working on mind to be more mindful, right and more present where I'm like, you can't go real fast and also be present.
That that you can't do those things right and I had reflected to her I'm like, oh, do you remember that experience we had a few years ago and she was like, yeah, you were I you were right but I wasn't ready to hear it like that's not what I needed to hear at that point. And that's not what I was working on and now I'm like now I see the connection, right and so just offering that like.
Again, for me, feedback is not just like, oh, I'm in this role, I'm giving this person feedback, but then it's a relationship. Like, I really do give a shit about this person's growth, and then I am looking at like, what's the trajectory? But like, okay, this might not have been the thing that is helpful, it's not the seed for you to grow now, but it might be a seed later on.
And so really, the timing piece, again, is what I'll name as like, that's really important.
Liz: Yeah, I love that. Just to underscore when y'all are coming to share, like, the more we can share about what we've done, it just makes it more honest and real. So I don't like one of my feedback fuckeries. I know. I think, you know, I learned from it a lot, but I, in hindsight, now I'm looking, I'm like, wow, I did not ask for.
Cause I didn't, there was no consent. I just brought the person to a room and, uh, did not have any sense of how they, how they liked feedback. And I definitely made it about me because so I'm just, I'm naturally conflict avoidant. And this was like, in my mind, I was like, no, I'm going to give feedback. This is me working.
And that's about me. That hasn't, that's all about, that was all about me. Um, and you know, what I want to offer for people too, is that we can, by sharing this, especially sharing it in a way where you can. You're kind of letting go as well and not being judgmental, just saying, okay, what can I learn from this?
And getting to a place where we can observe things without judgment can be so powerful as well.
Petra: Yeah, right. Which again, goes back to the trauma aware piece, right? That it's not, we don't have, like, it might've been traumatic for you to deliver. It might've been traumatic for you to hear. Um, I might have touched on something and while, again, not this approach or these labs that I'm going to do is going to heal the root of that trauma, there is ways that we would do that releasing, right, that we, that that's also part of the healing process to name it, to share it, and to be And for it not to be received with like, oh, now you're demonized.
You were the bad supervisor. You're the bad feedback giver. But I'm like, we're just, the feedback is fuckery. Doesn't mean you're fucked though.
There's hope for all of us.
Liz: Oh, there's hope. We can, we can unfuck. We're going to defuck the system, right? Come on. Come on. Yeah. So, okay, one last question. I'm the spot here and then we'll wrap up. One last question. Should you ever give feedback to your boss? Yeah, I
Petra: did. I created this. Probably the people that are listening to this are not as, um, I'm a little bit egregious.
That's why I'm like, I would offer for people who are trying to, um, work on speaking up to, to work with someone who's done some, a little bit egregious things, right? That maybe you're just trying to speak up in a meeting or in a relationship, but you probably want to work with someone who's done like some.
Some bigger things than that to be able to support you to be like, okay, probably don't go this far, but this is what you can do is that this was my response to the initial feedback that I received was like, this is actually how you get feedback. Right. And that was actually like, well, shit, we fucked up. I got to apologize for one person.
And the other person was more like this person that you're naming who like, Through papers and through stuff and I'm like, that's what I'm like, Oh, feedback is complicated, particularly the higher you go up the channels of command. Um, and this was then shared with the rest of the organization around like, Oh, shit, our feedback sucks.
Like it does. And I've been a victim of your feedback. So I'm like, I'm such a big proponent. And the people that I work with is really like, you might have something to share to say this was my speak up moment that really can shift the way things are operating, right? And we just don't know unless we try, right?
So I had to go through the motions of feeling the victimization of that experience and then being like, wait a minute, I actually have a lot of experience with this. Y'all need help. And so now I get to do that. A little part, a piece of my business is part of that. It's like, well, how do we communicate with each other?
Right? So that speaking up and being collaborative, isn't something that feels so out of reach for us.
Liz: That's so good. And so everyone listening, the, get the guide. You, you absolutely want the guide. If, first of all, we didn't get into all the facts. There's so much more there. And it's like, it's like a worksheet.
You can work through it. If you are in any kind of management roles, either supervisor, even project management, anything you need this, you want this guide for sure. And especially for those of you who are thinking about getting promotions, starting to consider it. Have a look at this ahead of time, be thinking about it, especially with what Petra was saying about, you know, we don't have to follow the model behavior.
If you're in an organization, there's like feedback fuckery all over the place. Like it's just, you know, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuckery everywhere. Like you don't have to do that. I promise you. So go check out this guy because it's going to really help out. Uh, so if you go to her website, uh, create more possibilities.
com it's right there. There's also other resources as well. So like just. Go binge and get all the Petra resources. You'll be like me, you're gonna be totally obsessed with her. But, and also check out, look for us on, on Instagram for that post and share your stories. We would love to see you there and get into some conversations.
And, uh, Petra, how else can people find you, have conversations with you, join your lab, hire you, all the things.
Petra: Yeah. I mostly spend time on Instagram at create more possibilities. I'm also LinkedIn a little bit, but mostly come say hi on Instagram. I do stories and rails and my content's really dope. I would say so myself.
Liz: back that up. Her stuff is really, really good. So thank you so much Petra for being here. I so appreciate it. This has been fantastic and can't wait to see you around Instagram. A little bit of LinkedIn, but mostly
Petra: Instagram. Thank you so much, Liz.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. Now, before you go, make sure you click to follow the show this way you don't have to go looking for the latest episode. I'll come to you. Just click the plus button or the follow, and you'll get the latest episode fresh off the press. Thanks again. And remember that you are amazing. Now, get out there and RISE.