24. February 2023

Failure Friday: Learning & Leading Through Feedback

Seven CX personios standing outside in the grass

Personio's culture of innovation and impact means that our team members are constantly challenging the status quo, moving fast, and seeking to improve. And, sometimes, this means we fail. But it also means that we’re failing fast, learning fast, and growing fast. This was exactly the case for Maria, who joined Personio three years ago as Customer Growth Lead.

“My role as Team Lead is to coach and develop a team of Customer Growth Managers, guiding them through complex decisions and challenges. As a team, we’re responsible for retaining our largest customer base by identifying their individual product needs, demonstrating our product value, and providing recommendations on our product portfolio.”  

Maria’s time in her current role, as in any other, has been a learning experience. “From day one, my focus as a leader has been to support my team and enable them to reach their full potential. And providing regular feedback to them, and requesting it in return, is key to success.”

Group of 9 CX Personios standing outside of a ropes course
Maria (sixth from left) and teammates enjoying a team outing at a ropes course.

For Maria, this feedback provided one of her biggest lessons as a leader. “I was given feedback from a team member who had confided in me with their challenges and struggles. But when they did that, I wasn't being a good active listener. They let me know that I wasn’t taking the time to really listen to them, and therefore I couldn’t and wasn’t providing the support that they needed.”

“In that moment, I felt that I had failed in my core role as a leader by failing to providing the support that my team member needed from me.” After that conversation, Maria took some time to gather more feedback and process what she had learned. “I applied the lens of this feedback to past conversations, remembering how I had handled them and considering what I could have done differently.” 

This self-reflection paid dividends. “I realized that I’d often jumped quickly into solution mode whenever I heard a problem or challenge that this person was facing. I wanted to solve it right then. But what I didn’t understand at the time was that this person hadn’t opened up just to solutionize – they had opened up to me to be heard and acknowledged by a person they trusted.”

Four Personios in a conference room working together
Working together during one of their regular Growth Power Days.

Maria has since invested in her growth as a leader, working to find the right balance between a solutions-oriented mindset and taking the time to listen and acknowledge. She not only took advantage of the resources provided by Personio’s Great Leaders Do program, but also our annual personal development budget and paid day off. 

“Since that day I’ve sought out development opportunities, especially for my active listening and communication skills. I try to take learnings from every book I read and implement them into conversations and the way I interact with my team.” In particular, Maria enjoyed “Words That Change Minds” by Shelle Rose Charvet, “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott, and “Crucial Conversations” by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler.

After that first conversation with her team member, Maria made sure to circle back and share her reflections and learnings. Together, they aligned on next steps and how Maria could best implement the feedback moving forward. 

Maria Gotz with 5 teammates holding holiday gifts
Maria (center) with her team celebrating the holidays.

“Now, I make sure to ask relevant questions to ensure I fully understand a given situation, and dig into the reason it’s been brought up in the first place. In this way, I can make sure I’m giving them the support that they need from me, be that an open ear, a solution, or a nudge in the right direction.”

And at the end of the day, Maria knows she’s not alone. “Of course I failed! Everyone makes mistakes in their career – little ones, big ones. What matters is owning it, making it right, and learning from it so we don’t repeat it again.” 

Interested in hearing from more Personios? Check back for the next installment of our Failure Friday blog series, coming soon, or join the team yourself! Head to the careers page to see our open roles.

Interested in joining Personio? Explore our open roles and find the right job for you!

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