Have you ever felt like you showed up looking your absolute best only to have someone point out an imperfection? Maybe a pimple you missed or lipstick on your teeth? It doesn’t feel great. Unfortunately, as women, we sometimes do that to each other in the workplace, too. We critique each other’s ideas, presentations, or written work by pointing out typos or other small mistakes. How can we empower each other while avoiding the trap of perfectionism and judgment?
My Launch Experience
A few years ago, I experienced this firsthand when I launched a new mini-course. I had worked for months perfecting every detail of the course and promo materials. I was so excited yet also terrified to put my work out into the world. The night before, imposter syndrome started creeping in. Was I really ready for this?
I pushed the launch button and immediately made myself vulnerable to feedback. While much of it was positive, some stung. A few women messaged me pointing out a misspelling here or an incorrectly used word there. Logically I know materials created by humans will never be 100% perfect. But as a recovering perfectionist, this type of feedback hurt. It made me question if I was actually producing quality work.
Then I remembered the quote, “Real queens fix each other’s crowns.” The full quote goes on to say, “And they don’t tell the world it was crooked.” As women, we need to lift each other up. But how do we do it without exposing flaws to the world?
Privately pointing out an issue to another woman can still make her question herself. Timing matters too. If I’m already celebrating a big launch, hearing about a typo isn’t super helpful at the moment. And if it’s a mistake that can’t be changed, drawing attention to it just leads to embarrassment.
Check Your Intentions Before Giving Feedback
This experience taught me to be more mindful about how I give feedback. I now pause first and check my intentions:
- Is the feedback absolutely necessary? If the issue is very minor and doesn’t really impact the overall work, it may be best to let it go.
- Is it actionable? Can the person actually change or improve what I’m pointing out? If not, I try to give grace and remember we all make mistakes.
- Is my timing appropriate? I don’t want to dampen an exciting celebration or add more stress to an already stressful situation.
- Is my delivery empathetic? Even when feedback is warranted, how I communicate matters hugely. I focus on encouragement rather than criticism.
Checking myself first prevents me from jumping in too quickly to critique another woman.
My Teenager Taught Me About Giving Grace
Like many moms, I’m constantly learning from my kids. I have a son in high school who used to really struggle in school. His third-grade teacher would often remind him, “Christian, your best will do just fine. We don’t expect perfection from you, just your best effort.” What a gift to give a child!
As adult women, we also need permission to be imperfect. A typo here or there does not erase all the incredible talents we bring to the table. Can you imagine if we gave each other this same grace? If instead of pointing out flaws, we focused on encouraging each other’s growth.
Take the Lead in Empowering Other Women
My challenge for all my leading ladies is to be intentional about how you empower other women. Here are some tips:
- Praise publicly, critique privately. If you have feedback for a woman leader, pull her aside one-to-one rather than calling out issues publicly.
- Give grace. We all make mistakes. Unless it’s a critical error, move on.
- Check your intentions. Make sure you’re coming from a place of support rather than judgment.
- Consider timing. Major celebrations may not be the best moment for constructive criticism.
- Watch delivery. Even necessary feedback can be communicated in an empowering way.
The next time you feel the need to point out another woman’s mistake, pause and put these principles into practice first. Together, we can lift each other up and help one another grow into the incredible leaders we were born to be!
What are your thoughts on how women can empower each other? I welcome any feedback or stories on this in the Leading Ladies Facebook groupd!
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