I recently discovered MT (thank god) and I'm going to be starting one-on-ones and feedback next week. I think I'm comfortable with all of it except the last step of the feedback model.

What do you do when the corrective behavior is something really obvious (ex. "When you bring your blackberry to meetings I think you're not engaged with the team.")? The "what can you do differently" is really obvious in this case - don't bring the blackberry to meetings anymore.

I understand and am on board with having the DR committed to the changed behavior rather than me telling them what they should do, but I can't make it come out of my mouth without sounding really condescending. I spoke to my husband about it last night and he agreed, saying that he would be really hurt if his boss spoke to him like that because it sounds like you're talking to a child.

So, do you always do the 4th step? And if so, have you found a way to phrase it that doesn't make your DR feel small? Thanks!

AManagerTool's picture

It's BOTH what you say AND how you say it that really makes the difference.

[quote]Scene: After the meeting, the team is in a good mood and talking as they wander out the door and down the hall.

Bucky - The BlackBerry Guy - High I
Manager - You - High D

Manager: Smiling (IMPORTANT), touches direct on the elbow lightly and moves in closer in a slightly conspiratorial manner and says: "Bucky, can we talk a little bit? I'd like to share an observation with you."

Both the manager and Bucky stop in the hallway as others walk on.

Bucky: *Smiles* "Sure chief what's up? Great meeting right? I love it when we all get together like this, ya know. It really makes me feel like we are coming together as a team. How bout you?"

Manger: *Chuckles then Smiles again* "Bucky, This is exactly what I wanted to give you some feedback about! *touches elbow again to get attention* "May I give you some feedback?" *raises eyebrows and smiles*

Bucky: "Of course!, you know that."

Manager: "I just like to ask first."

Manager: SMILING a little less says, "Look Bucky, when I see you spend most of the meeting in the fetal position typing on your Blackberry when one of the ground rules that we all agreed to was to have all personal electronics turned off during meetings, I tend to draw the conclusion that you don't want to offer your input to the conversation. I also think that you really don't care much about the ground rules that we had established together as a team. I kinda worry that the rest of the team will think that you don't care about them or what they have to say. I think the rest of the team will view you as someone who comes to these meetings because they have to and that people will use that as an excuse to not share their thoughts with you. Something like that could really destroy the whole teams dynamic. I have seen it happen and it ain't pretty."

Bucky: With a look of abject panic says, "Oh no! That's not what I want to portray at all! I was just.... Well, who said something...I'll go talk to them and apologize...I'll....

Manager: SMILES AGAIN!! BIGGER AND BRIGHTER and touches elbow again to interrupt Bucky and ignoring his question about who said what says, "Bucky! Look, believe me, I KNOW that is not the impression you want to give out." Manager chuckles a bit, looks Bucky in the eye, smiles and raises his eyebrows and says, "Weeeell, what do you think you should do to fix it?"

Bucky: "Well DUH, maybe turn off my Blackberry and apologize to the team. I really didn't want anyone to think that I wasn't interested in what they had to say. You know me boss, I'm a people person!", he says chuckling.

Manager: "That sounds exactly right. Lets go get some coffee and we can talk about the details of my poker game on Friday. You are coming right?", He said, smiling and going on as if the whole thing were NO BIG DEAL.[/quote]

Would that be condescending? The model as described is curt and to the point because that's the skeleton outline that you need to follow. If all you did was that model, you would be far better off than saying nothing.

That said, PLEASE feel free to tailor it to the person you are speaking to. Give it STYLE and make it your own. This should sound like it realistically would be something that you would say. Remember to SMILE, BREATHE, IT IS NO BIG DEAL!

Feedback has become one of my favorite things to do now because of the thought involved with trying to carefully craft it to my staff as well as the situation. I am probably as high a D as there is and I can do it without sounding least I hope so. We shall see for sure when I get to practice in front of Mark at the NY conference....LOL

See you all at Monday night's dinner.

MattJBeckwith's picture
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[quote="AManagerTool"]We shall see for sure when I get to practice in front of Mark at the NY conference[/quote]

At the DC conference, once we got to practice feedback I turned to sklosky and gave him feedback as Mike A. kneeled down right in front of us. I used the feedback model before DC but not very well. Let me tell you, delivering it right in front of Mike A. was nerve racking, but exciting as well!

Enjoy NY!

rgbiv99's picture

Thank you for your input. I'm going to start next week and not focus on getting it "perfect" in the beginning. The only way to do it better is to practice, right? :wink:

BJ_Marshall's picture
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I just took a class this week that talked in part about emotional intelligence. One of the things the teacher mentioned was that being empathetic isn't about getting it perfect; it's about trying.

So, I try to be emotionally intelligent to my staff. I know I have a high I, a high C, and a high D on my staff. I think we're going to be hiring an intern soon, and I'm thrilled at the prospect of trying to figure out his DISC profile :lol:. Honestly, it's still a challenge for me to tailor feedback accordingly. But the important thing is that we try.


turlings's picture

It's the tone that makes the music. So how you ask is important. You really don't need an answer as a result of step 4, as long as your direct knows that the message is clear that next time you want the direct to behave differently, your okay. So maybe you can ask "Can you do that differently" than the "What can you do differently". A simple "yes", "sure" or shake of the head will do then as an answer. And.... why not start with positive feedback in the beginning. For me its less naturally to do, but the result is more predictive.


AManagerTool's picture


Thanks for your comments and Welcome to the boards. I have to disagree with you though. Your directs do indeed need to give you an answer. A simple acknowledgment is not enough.

We don't want them to behave differently. We want them to behave effectively. Their idea of what is effective is what has instigated feedback in the first place. We want to make sure they know exactly how to give the behavior that is desired and then we want them to acknowledge verbally how they will change. This forms the commitment to change that is so important to the process.

thaGUma's picture

I would be interested to know if the adjusting feedback is the only thing that came to your notice during the meeting? If so then you have a double whammy: crackberry misuse and lack of impact (I know the latter isn’t a behaviour – you need to work out why no impact was made).

The reason I mention this is that I like to sandwich adjusting feedback between some positive words.


rgbiv99's picture

The crackberry is a fictional example. I only started O3s this week (just did my first one today! A little awkward but overall a success!). I haven't tried the adjusting feedback yet. I think I read somewhere that Mark says to do a minimum of 10 affirming feedbacks before you do an adjusting, so I'm going to do at least that number, but I like to plan ahead and practice.

Also - I know everyone says this - I have a great team so I'm not champing at the bit to correct behavior, just wondering about how to do it beforehand so when it does happen I can sound light and conversational like in AManagerTool's example. Like M&M say, it really is NO BIG DEAL and I truly believe that, but when I practice with my husband it comes out harsher than I mean it to. Still working on it.

thaGUma's picture

[code:1]but when I practice with my husband it comes out harsher than I mean it to[/code:1]
You are in your safe zone where you know you won't get rejected. Spouses are a great sounding board.

Apologies for misreading your original post. I will do better.


bflynn's picture

[quote="rgbiv99"]What do you do when the corrective behavior is something really obvious (ex. "When you bring your blackberry to meetings I think you're not engaged with the team.")? The "what can you do differently" is really obvious in this case - don't bring the blackberry to meetings anymore.[/quote]

Backing up to the original question - I'm slow these days.

Part of the fourth step is to let the direct own the solution. By being the one who says it, they also immediately get ownership of it. You're not telling them what to do, they're telling what they're going to do. Its a subtle difference.

Perhaps what is obvious to you might have more than one solution. Not "don't bring it to a meeting", but maybe "don't use it and put it in silent mode." Or, "turn it off during meetings".

Let the direct own it. They are responsible for their actions.


jhack's picture

Brian's right: if the direct doesn't "own" the solution, they are much less likely to implement it.

Moreover, you don't want to be in the business of solving their problems. Your directs need to be able to think up solutions and implement them on their own. If not, you'll be doing their jobs and, well, that path is not a good one.


svgates's picture

I don't think it matters if sometimes step 4 is a closed question, or even sometimes an implied question. I don't think it matters if sometimes the direct just nods or even sometimes has to agree to a specific changed behavior.

I think it's important that feedback happens all the time.
I think it's important that positive feedback be ten times more frequent than negative feedback.
I think it's important that feedback springs from a sincere desire to serve.