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“How To Give Honest Feedback without Being Hurtful” With Tammi Pickle

Thoughtfully plan out what you will say and figure out the nicest way to share this helpful, but sensitive information. Usually a phone call or virtual call is easier to get and give feedback while being able to sense the other person’s voice and reactions. Body language is especially important as to not overly offend […]

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Thoughtfully plan out what you will say and figure out the nicest way to share this helpful, but sensitive information. Usually a phone call or virtual call is easier to get and give feedback while being able to sense the other person’s voice and reactions. Body language is especially important as to not overly offend or upset someone. I had a matchmaker that upset a client. I relayed this to her by letting her know something similar had also happened to me. I let her know how I handled the situation and relayed how I thought she should rectify the problem between them.

As a part of our series about “How To Give Honest Feedback without Being Hurtful”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tammi Pickle.

Tammi Pickle VP/ Partner of Elite Connections, family owned and operated matchmaking agency for the last 26 years. She has her degree in Psychology and prides herself in coaching and matching her clients. Passionate about giving back to her community through her nonprofit Party with a Purpose which raised money for needy and homeless youth in Venice, CA.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I am passionate about helping people. I love meeting and getting to know my clients. One of my clients I matched on his first introduction. I knew it would be a great match, but he called me after the first date and he knew too. They have been together ever since and started a family. It’s beyond rewarding to help someone find “The One.”

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I accidentally sent a woman the feedback from the date she just went on and it wasn’t positive. I learned to take my time because emails cannot be unsent.

What advice would you give to other CEOs and business leaders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?

Give them incentives, bonuses, and exciting things to look forward to. We have many bonuses and incentives that are fun, exciting and spark competition between our matchmakers. We have monthly meetings where we have a nice lunch and discuss concerns, and this creates a fun, out of the ordinary office bonding. We also have events we put together, like wine tastings, boating, dinners out, etc., where we can all enjoy each other’s company and let loose a little bit. We have developed a strong family-like office bond doing these things to create a fun atmosphere in and out of the office.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

Leadership is to have strong communication, awareness, honesty and create strong relationships with everyone you work with. Everyone on my team can come to me about anything and I will be there to listen and help them through any and all problems.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

Do not go into a meeting or a conversation with high stress or anxious. Make sure you take a few minutes to compose yourself and have food or water. Try deep breathing in a quiet area. Those things help me feel better and become more focused and relaxed so I can go into a meeting more stress free.

Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers about your experience with managing a team and giving feedback?

Giving critical feedback needs to be done thoughtfully and must be carefully planned out. Imagine someone came to you with this information. How would you want them to politely tell you something?

Ideally, you would want someone to be understanding, use empathy and kind, thoughtful words, while coming from a genuine, friendly, and helpful place. Using a kind tone of voice can go a long way. If you come off angry and aggressive it will be very off putting to the person you are trying to relay feedback to. If you are feeling angry or frustrated, take a moment and compose yourself before speaking with the person directly about the problem at hand. Let them know how to fix the problem and relay similar feedback that you have come across yourself in the past with a similar situation. Relating with and communicating is key in all relationships.

Always let them know when a good job is being done as well, not just when something is wrong or needing to be fixed. Positivity goes along way with people feeling appreciated and knowing their work isn’t being over looked.

This might seem intuitive but it will be constructive to spell it out. Can you share with us a few reasons why giving honest and direct feedback is essential to being an effective leader?

Your employees may not realize what they are doing is incorrect and it is critical that it be brought to their attention. Without relaying this crucial feedback, they cannot be the best they can be.

Be empathetic, use thoughtful words but also be specific about what has happened and the changes you think need to be made. Any serious feedback should also be brought up privately as to not embarrass someone in front of others.

One of the trickiest parts of managing a team is giving honest feedback, in a way that doesn’t come across as too harsh. Can you please share suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee? Kindly share a story or example for each.

Thoughtfully plan out what you will say and figure out the nicest way to share this helpful, but sensitive information. Usually a phone call or virtual call is easier to get and give feedback while being able to sense the other person’s voice and reactions. Body language is especially important as to not overly offend or upset someone. I had a matchmaker that upset a client. I relayed this to her by letting her know something similar had also happened to me. I let her know how I handled the situation and relayed how I thought she should rectify the problem between them.

Can you address how to give constructive feedback over email? If someone is in front of you much of the nuance can be picked up in facial expressions and body language. But not when someone is remote.

How do you prevent the email from sounding too critical or harsh?

I personally have had many emails come to me that probably were not meant to come off as harsh or aggressive, but they were. When writing anything in an email it is very important to be even more sensitive and careful in your writing. Put yourself on the other end of that email and think of how you would perceive it coming across. Being direct is important but also is being respectful and thoughtful with the feedback is critical. If putting it in an email may come across wrong, then make a phone call to handle the situation.

In your experience, is there a best time to give feedback or critique? Should it be immediately after an incident? Should it be at a different time? Should it be at set intervals? Can you explain what you mean?

Feedback needs to be given immediately after being brought to your attention. Everyone deserves to know what is the best and correct way to come across; just as I would like to be told if there was something I was doing incorrectly. We all need to be informed in order to become the best we can be at our careers.

How would you define what it is to “be a great boss”? Can you share a story?

Being there to support and help everyone around you, as a mentor, guide, boss and a friend. I am quite close with all my employees; they feel they can come to me and talk to me about anything and everything. We have created a great, solid foundation and they are confident in our communication. We have created a strong working relationship. I trust them and they trust me. I believe we have created this over time with trust, respect and bonding. We often blow off steam as a team by enjoying time together and bonding outside of the office. That may be one difference in creating a trusting, family-type business bond.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Giving back and doing something for someone else. Be selfless and generous as it will fill your heart. We have a non-profit called Party with a Purpose and we have multiple events where we raise money and give back to help less fortunate/homeless children and youth through Safe Place for Youth in Venice, CA. For more details, you can visit our website www.eliteconnections.com/events

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Rise up, take courage, and do it. Ezra 10:4

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Our website is www.eliteconnections.com IG @TammiPickle @EliteConnections_ [email protected] 800–923–4200

Thank you for these great insights! We really appreciate the time you spent with this.

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