Do not complete discussion over text or email, as words do not translate the same as with voice, AND you may not get a reply back! Try your best to schedule a phone a video chat with the remote employee.
As a part of our series about “How to Give Honest Feedback without Being Hurtful”, I had the pleasure of interviewing RiTika Rose. RiTika is the CEO of Life reDefined LLC and the Best-Selling Author of TAGGED UR IT! Become the Leader of Your Own Life. RiTika’s Life Coaching, Leadership Consulting, and Wellness practice focus on the discovery of one’s highest personal and professional self while developing behavioral leadership success skills that help overcome internal and external challenges, change, and uncertainty. The results help to re-define relationships to self, others, and life. RiTika strongly believes feedback is a form of self-awareness and self-awareness is a key concept to embrace for leadership growth and development.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Before opening my Life Coaching and Healing Practice, my career encompassed a high paced, high stress, career in medical management as a Rehabilitation Program Director. I am a double major graduate of Occupational Therapy & Psychology. During my management career, I was leading teams, productivity, financials, day to day strategy and care of 30 direct reports, over 100 patients, 7 inter-disciplinary meetings a day, while meeting company goals and being the company liaison. Finally coming to a place personally and understanding intimately the importance of taking care of oneself, I sought out self-care services through eastern energy philosophy, as well as, in-depth spiritual and life coaching.
I healed my mind and life so drastically, that I was called to learn, train, and educate myself in various healing modalities, so I may provide the same level of healing, life fulfillment, and inner peace to the clients I serve today.
It was the feedback and life mastery skills I learned through my healing process, that I share in my book TAGGED UR IT! Become the Leader of Your Own Life that I now teach, train and educate on.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Working in Silicon Valley, via Los Angeles where the lifestyle moves at a remarkably high pace, I believe my coaching is unique for a few reasons. First, I come from a high stressed, high paced management career myself, so I understand my clients deeply. Second, I learned to overcome the personal and professional challenges that come with this lifestyle through my own healing process and personal development, which I teach and coach my clients today. Third I have worked in medicine for 20 + years treating a variety of physical and emotional illnesses that in my belief, have a root cause based on internal or external conflict. As my intuitive gifts and understanding of human behavior have grown throughout time, I am quick to identify the root cause of an issue and provide strategic, actionable solutions to overcome the challenge.
The best stories come from clients. This testimony from a tech client brings it all together:
“Before I found RiTika, I had years of traditional therapy, but I felt that there was a part of me that I just couldn’t access. I believe RiTika is unique because she brings the scientific, psychological background of therapy and fuses it with a spiritual wisdom. I feel that her approach is holistic and practical, and it has helped me heal on a deep level. She has a unique ability to quickly understand and identify issues which means the healing process has gone a lot more quickly than what I’ve experienced with other therapists. RiTika is someone I highly recommend for this area, in particular, where our lives move at such a rapid pace. She understands the demands and the sometimes-negative ramifications of working in tech.”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Unfortunately, there is much stigma still, in receiving help and the various therapeutic modalities in the healing space. There are many people who do not believe in a therapeutic or coaching process or find themselves or others weak when needing to seek healing. One interesting story I remember is one evening, with friends who I had not seen in a long time, were asking me about my coaching practice and my process. There were many jokes and cynical questions about the holistic approach to my work. I will admit it was a bit uncomfortable, yet I held my own in my unshakeable belief in the profession and my coaching process. A few months later, I receive a new client referral from this same group of friends. So never give up on what you believe to be true. Someone is listening and getting it!
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?
Something I can look back on now and can giggle is when I was practicing out of my apartment in Los Angeles, as I was first starting out. I was still working, mostly full time, in the hospital setting, while building my private practice on the side. I would see my private clients in the evenings or at the weekends. My apartment at the time was actually the perfect layout and atmosphere for the deeper healing work I was doing. The energy of my apartment was very peaceful, calming, vibrated high with positive and healing energy.
Many of my clients would feel so comfortable in the space, that at times it was difficult to get them to leave my home. It would be 9 pm and they would still be on my couch (insert giggle plus shaking my head).
I learned to finally lay the boundaries at the beginning of the session by being clear on the time the session was going to end and that I needed downtime before the next day. Now I am glad to have an office that I infuse with the same vibe.
What advice would you give to other CEOs and business leaders to help their employees to thrive and avoid burnout?
My Purpose Statement is the best advice I can give: “Your Self-Care Is Your Health Care and Through Self-Awareness Comes Self-Healing” — RiTika Rose
During the intensity of my management career, as mentioned above, I was also simultaneously healing emotionally from the separation of 1) a personal relationship and 2) another business partnership. To say the least, I had “a lot going on”.
I credit the patience, emotional balance, and strength to lead my team into surpassing company goals and expectations from the personal coaching support I was receiving and wellness practices I was incorporating and learning daily into my life.
Leaders — do not sell short the importance of taking care of and discovering your best self to aide in higher outcomes for your personal and professional life.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
I love this question because the sub-title of my book “Become the Leader of Your Own Life” spells it out nicely. I believe Self-Responsibility is key. Leadership starts with the self. Leadership starts from the top in both personal and professional life. That begins with 1) mind-set: your emotional and behavioral patterns and 2) consciousness to self and others: interpersonal skills. My philosophy is in order to achieve the results you seek, you must become deeply aware of yourself, how you are perceived, and how you are allowing yourself to navigate life.
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?
Meditation has become an important tool I have incorporated over the last decade. I use meditation to center myself, listen intuitively to what MY higher self is telling me, trust, exhale, and get to it.
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?
I believe what is important to remember with anyone managing a team (and this is why the personal/professional development work is so crucial), is that every person on your team has a different way of learning, listening, and behaving based on their life and cultural experiences. They have distinct personalities. How you speak with one, may not be how you speak to another. A team, as a whole, also has a very distinct personality or energy to it. Recognizing how the best to process feedback is important to be aware of. I always stayed conscious of each team member and how the team interacted with each other when managing. I also did regular check-ins with individuals and the team to receive their feedback on work in general, and on how to best communicate to them, so I would know how to best deliver information.
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?
In general, I believe in authentic living and communication, because anything outside of the truth, disrupts the integrity of the relationship with yourself and others. Without authentic communication, conflicts will continue to be present. When giving honest feedback, you are 1) speaking freely, staying true to yourself, and reducing the risk of internal conflict later. And 2), you are allowing the other person/s to see things in a way they may not have been aware of until then. I have always educated my staff and now my clients, that feedback should always be accepted as a tool for learning and growth. How we deliver feedback and how we decide to listen to feedback is important to be self-aware of. Feedback allows us the opportunity to be accountable in becoming our best selves, both personally and professionally.
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 with us five suggestions about how to best give constructive criticism to a remote employee? Kindly share a story or example for each.
Again here, it would be important to know your employee’s personality/best way of receiving information, as well as how you show up when delivering information.
1) Do not complete discussion over text or email, as words do not translate the same as with voice, AND you may not get a reply back! Try your best to schedule a phone a video chat with the remote employee.
Example: Typing in all caps may be translated as “shouting” when it was just meant to emphasize a point. If the employee does not understand the context of the writing, or in fear of your writing, you are in jeopardy of being “ghosted” or receiving a response that is out of context to the feedback you thought you were trying to give. With phone or video, you can emphasize a point constructively with your voice.
2) Start with positive qualities or sharing understanding about the employee, then give constructive feedback. Employees always want to know they are valued, and it keeps up the morale.
Example: I’ve seen many employees give their all and over-deliver on client care. This is wonderful quality and builds trust with the client, yet it can take away the time in getting other deadlines complete in a timely matter. In these situations, I have acknowledged the employees’ time and care to the client, found specific qualities to value about the employee, and how they have served the client, while helping the employee understand, with specifics, the importance of deadlines to the company than giving the employee actionable solutions. I always ask the employee for any feedback they also have to better the situation, and if need be, work together with them to create effective behavior change for the goals at hand.
3) Remind the employee of his/her job role and expectations, so the feedback aligns with the job and company goal.
Example: Similar to above conversation. This time build trust with your employee by first helping them understand that you do see the value in their current work, and you acknowledge the work they have done by giving them specific examples. Then review and remind them of the job expectations that have not been achieved. Provide specific action steps and details of how this will help their individual performance and the goals of the company overall.
4) Avoid giving constructive feedback to an individual in a group meeting. Make it a 1:1 meeting.
There are many reasons for this. Respect the privacy your employee and give your employee the chance to feel comfortable in speaking freely to you about the situation. Understand that bringing up constructive feedback can also be taken as criticism. There is an automatic insecurity that can arise when someone is in a feedback conversation. Try and avoid anything that can disrupt the team dynamics, by mistakenly bringing up employee issues amongst each other. (unless of course it is an employee to employee matter, then talk to those employees separately and then together). When you are 1:1 with the employee you both have the opportunity to speak more openly with each other.
5) Let the employee know management is there to support them, in the feedback given to them.
Employees want to trust they are not alone in facing challenges and creating behavior changes asked of them in the workplace. They want to know they have a manager/leader in the organization that is approachable when they need support in professional performance struggles and growth.
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?
As mentioned above, I do not believe email is the best way to give constructive feedback. If possible, schedule an in-person, phone, or video chat so the voice can be heard and can add a more personal touch to the conversation.
If in-person, phone, or video is not viable, start the email with value points, positive qualities and thanking them for their work thus far. Then mention this area has been brought to the attention of management and needs to be addressed. It would be nice to state that the email is meant for constructive feedback, to ensure the job is continued to be completed based on the expectations. Remind them, management is always available to support and talk about the situation over, that together we will achieve the best results. (Now when stating this, I do hope every manager, is available to their team for support) It would also be wise to remember, everyone is doing their best to the ability they have at that moment. We do not know, until we ask, if something else is going on with the individual personally or professionally that may be affecting how their work is being carried out. If there is a way to add and receive this information, it will benefit management in supporting the employee.
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?
The sooner you give feedback, after the incident, the better. As a manager, it is best to remember to consider all sides in the matter before deciding on the feedback to give. Does the incident involve one employee vs multiple employees? Is there an investigation that needs to take place? Ask yourself what feedback can be given and what action can be taken immediately by the employee or multiple employees while other information is gathered. It is best to create the behavior change, as soon as possible, for the best outcomes overall.
How would you define what it is to “be a great boss”? Can you share a story?
I believe a good boss is one who is approachable, listens well, objective, interested in understanding the employee, response to situations rather than reacts, shows the employees they are always trying to be the best and provide the best for their staff. A good boss will follow through on what they say, decisions made, and be impartial. I also believe authenticity in leadership is important because it shows your staff you are also learning every day from them and others. An employee should not put the expectation on their boss to be perfect either.
I would always tell my staff, my job as the Director does not make me any different than you. I just have different responsibilities under my job title. With those responsibilities came decisions that only I could make, yet when possible, the feedback from my staff was always considered, because, in the end, we are working together as a unit. This quote comes from an old employee of mine: “You always seemed like a friend more than a boss, but able to handle business when you needed to. It’s always refreshing to know your boss can do things on a higher level yet remain on fairly equal ground in terms of respect and everyone knowing their role. You always seemed to understand my value, and I knew that because you told me”
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. 🙂
Having shifted into Executive Life Coaching, Conscious Leadership Consulting, and Wellness, as a career, I strongly believe that people in leadership roles should not ever feel the stigma of receiving the support they need to overcome personal or professional life challenges. Often, leaders or people of influence, feel the need to be perfect and having it together all the time. That is an enormous amount of pressure to uphold, as a human being that is journeying through life just like others. I want to break that cycle and empower leaders to get support and receive the healing they need. I know this because I did this!
I hope to help more Leaders and upcoming Leaders of today to create a healthier more authentic/wholistic/conscious leadership approach with themselves and others. I wish to generate a personal and professional lifestyle of equal respect, understanding, value, and higher potential for all. I hope my coaching, consulting, and wellness programs can support this behavioral outcome to help people Live Life reDefined!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
This is not a promotion, but genuinely my life lesson quote, which comes from the Chapter on Responsibility in my book TAGGED UR IT! Become the Leader of Your Own Life. “My life and business changed when I stopped making others responsible for my happiness or success” — RiTika Rose.
This was an emotional and behavioral mindset change for me, and the quote is meant to empower others to take self-responsibility in achieving your life goals, instead of being, doing, having what society asks of or judges one into. You can still be effective and in my opinion a more effective leader, by staying authentic to who you are and conscious of others. I believe the more aware and responsible you become of yourself, the more aware you become of others as well.
It is this awareness that will allow you to give and receive honest feedback in the most effective way.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Please visit my website: www.ritikarose.com
Please connect with me via:
LinkedIn: RiTika Rose
Facebook: Life reDefined by RiTika Rose
Instagram: RiTika Rose
Twitter: RiTika Rose
Thank you for these great insights! We really appreciate the time you spent with this.