I am failing miserably at feedback. My shampoo knows the following from our discussions each morning:

    When you are so rich, it makes me smile from all the lather, thank you.
    When you smell like lavender, it helps me relax after a long day and relieves stress, thank you, keep it up!
    When you rinse out fast, I am able to get to work faster and make more money, which allows us to buy your friend conditioner, thank you for building the team.
So why, oh why is that I am determined each day to give it out, yet I hold back. MT Diary, I think we should explore this together and make me the manager I want to be.
Dig down deep...
Is it fear of conflict?
Not at the moment, although I despise conflict. Knowing I am starting with only positive should alleviate this fear.
Do I know the model, starter and full?
Heck my body wash is on systemic already!
Am I too busy?
Oh good excuse! Let's cling to that shall we. My JOB is to provide feedback, I owe it to my directs, they are great and want to do the best job they can.  How dare I deny what influences their addiction to food and shelter.  Still clinging to "too busy"? Time to re-listen to the delegation podcasts.
Maybe it's like quitting smoking, announcing it forces you to uphold your word.  So here goes.
Baby steps, if the starter model is apparently soooo hard to start with, I'll take a baby step back. Identify things for feedback! What opportunities did I miss today?
Write you soon with the findings MT Diary.

Jirrin's picture

Dear MT Diary,

Upon reflection during the commute, here are the opportunities I identified for feedback today.

  1. Coming in early.
  2. Responding to my email so quickly.
  3. Showing enthusiam during the training.
  4. Being engaged in the staff meeting.
  5. Getting out the deliverables without assistance needed.
  6. Responding to issue from Client without engaging me.
  7. Accepting my appology so graciously.
  8. Being at your desk and on task.
  9. Always smiling when I come over to your desk.

They aren't earth shattering, but maybe good for a beginning.

Now to verbalize at least 3 tomorrow. Going to take a suggestion found here and wear a bracelet to remind me, moving to the other arm after each one.

Post the results tomorrow MT Diary, this is now the Feedback Project!

TomW's picture
Training Badge

It's not easy coming up with positives so often. We're all trained so much to look for the bad. It almost feels trite in the beginning. If you can, ask a friend outside work to let you practice. Give them feedback on picking you up, opening the door, taking your coat, offering a drink, or any other normal courteous or kind thing they might do.

Jirrin's picture

Dear MT Diary,

Out of the office today, making it so easy to rationalize how starting tomorrow would be best.
After all, what could I see performance wise? Oh, I don't know maybe the work I am reviewing for them.
But how could I possibly communicate to them if they are not here in person? Email, nah. Guess I have to start tomorrow.
I am filling out their annual reviews today. How can I, in good faith, put down these expectations for next year and not assist them in achieving them.   
How do they know what I want precisely if I don’t tell them? Their guesses from last year did not deliver all the results I was looking for, for shame on them right? After all, I KNEW what I wanted. I did write a fast sentence on their review last year.
Ok, ok... I will make a call.  Tell you the painful results after Diary.

Jirrin's picture


Pick up the phone.
Dial the number.
Enter the extension.
"I was just reviewing your work from yesterday; can I give you some feedback?"
"When your summaries are so clear and concise, it makes it so easy to understand and not waste time reviewing the entire file for answers, makes you look great, and makes it a pleasure to review your work, thank you, keep it up."
"Really, thanks! Was that it?"
"Yes, just wanted to tell you that, while it was on my mind."
"Wow, thanks, I try really hard at that too."
"Thank you, talk to you later."
<Insert warm feeling in chest>

Jirrin's picture

Dear MT Diary,

I did it again! It feels funny and a bit forced, but the reaction was so worth it. I received a call from another DR just after that first feedback call, asking advice on a situation. Within the conversation, a feedback opp lightbulb went on. Once we settled the issue, I went for it!
"Bob, thanks for calling, can I give you some feedback regarding this?"
"Sure, let me get a pen."
"You don’t need a pen really."
"No, you know I like to write down what you tell me."
"When you show such concern dealing with this situation, it shows me how much you care about client satisfaction and helping them get the results they want, thank you for that."
"I like helping them. Thanks."
"Thank you, talk to you later."
2 down Diary, 1 to go.
(Hope I am not abusing the forum with my ramblings.)

Jirrin's picture


Day one success. Third promised feedback delivered.  I was not sure I would make it, was struggling to think of something before the end of the day.
The feedback opp lightbulb luckily clicked on again. My manager contacted me that they just assigned my direct a task. My direct then emailed me regarding it.  "CIick"
Todd, just heard about your new project. Can I give you some feedback on it?
Sure, I could use some suggestions.
When you receive a project from Susan graciously and put immediate action on it, it lets me know you prioritize correctly, makes you look good, and increases the likelihood of making the deadline, thanks.
Thanks, anytime.
Thank you, I look forward to seeing your plan of action.
Day one summary:
Felt weird, but reactions felt great, I could hear them smile from my end of the phone.
Opportunities found me more than I had to chase one.
3 - 60 second calls, not very intrusive to production.
No one bit me, no emotional scarring.
Thanks for listening MT Diary.

stringl's picture


well done for getting started with this, with more than just the shampoo!

Plus, when you share an entertaining, real-time story like this, it inspires me to deliver more positive feedback, too!

Thanks again,


Jirrin's picture

Thanks for the support S.

I think I had created such a huge barrier in my head, fearing the worst about it. 

  • I was positive they would tell me no, they don't want feedback. 
  • I was nervous that I would mess up and ruin the whole trinity somehow.
  • I was scared to death I would sound like an idiot stumbling to find the right words.
  • I was horrified that they might push back, and I not have the perfect come back for it.

But they all said, "Sure."

SMcM's picture
Licensee Badge

What a brilliant post!!!!

Because of you I have given two pieces of positive feedback already today, and it's only 9.20am! I had been hiding from it and was not sure what to give feedback on. Then after your post yesterday I sat down last night and thought about good things that had happened at work. When I got in this morning I refreshed my mind on what I was going to say and did it!

It felt great.!

I have more to give today and am going to keep on going.

Thanks again for your brave (and very entertaining) post!!!



Jirrin's picture

Dear MT Diary,

Day two of the feedback project. A few more pieces given out today. It was easier than yesterday, even though it was in person today.

First thing this morning, an issue arises. Much flailing, panicing and external finger waggling ensues. Research into the issue, TADA, root cause found, fingers waggling in a new direction.

CLICK! (Feedback opp light bulb)


             “Can I give you some feedback on this?”

             “Sure, yea.”

             “When you keep your logs so accurate and timely, it allows us to trace backwards easily, and in this case led to finding the root cause of a client issue, thank you so much.”

            “No problem, anytime.”


Wow, one piece delivered and we just walked in the door. The shampoo usually puts up more resistance. Well, doubt the next one will be this easy. Bet I spend the rest of the morning straining my brain for more. Check the email from another DR.

            "Received a message from Client X, so I pulled their file and read it fast. Going to call them before I start the reports."

Are you kidding? Have these been surrounding me this whole time? It has to just be a quirk, fluke, some amazing coffee juicing up the performance level? Ok, I’ll take the light bulb bait again.


            "Bob, can I give you some feedback regarding the email you sent me this morning?"

            "Sure, why, was it ok?"

            "When you take the time to read the client file before calling, I see that you want to be prepared and you can sound more confident on the phone, thank you, keep it up."

            "Thanks, I always do, you know that."

            "I do, but never said thank you."


Two in under a half hour, if this keeps up, I’ll be giving feedback all day!

Jirrin's picture

Side bar:

Quick note of thanks for the posts of here, it has given me more courage, as we enter Day 3 of the Dear MT Diary, Feedback Project. Posting was just a way to hold myself accountable. To have read I helped someone else gain the strength to start giving out feedback was awesome. 
Shout out to Wendii, who's blogs helped kick start this whole process for me.
Again, this thread is merely the ramblings of a front line supervisor wading through her own insecurities, thank you. 

Jirrin's picture


Dear MT Diary,
Half the morning is over and I had been neglectful. So as not to break the chain, I seized the moment for a sad, somewhat lame piece of feedback to give out.  One of my directs had brought in pastries, they usually do this once a week. Though this might be a fast, bit of practice feedback, although rather mundane.
                Can I give you some feedback from this morning?
                Of course.
                (They are using answers other than “Sure”, but I will not be un-nerved by it)
               Jane, when you bring in pastries, here's what happens; it starts the whole group out with a smile, shows your generous spirit and keeps Bob from getting cranky because he is hungry, thank you for that.
               Aww thanks, you are very welcome.
The WOW reaction comes with this next piece delivered just as I turned around to my other direct, trying to keep my momentum.
                Bob, can I give you some feedback?
                (Whew, back in my comfort zone for replies.)
                When you keep your local work instructions so detailed and accurate, here's what happens, I can utilize them immediately to educate a new member of sales on their client's expectation. It helps not only our own group, but externally as well, thank you, keep it up.
                You're welcome.
Now Jane, who is directly behind me, overheard this feedback to Bob, and says as I am walking away, "Wow Bob, I have to really try harder now, you are raising the bar with that type of thing."
Holy feedback reaction Batman!
Did I just hear a 1% course correction for Jane from Bob's feedback?!

Jirrin's picture

They are starting to chuckle now when I come over to them. 

                Can I give you some feedback?
                (As he chuckles and smiles)
                When you complete a project for my boss prior to the deadline, here’s what happens; it gives him more time to review it and he has more confidence when providing it to our client, makes you look good, and gets you  and your work known further up the chain. Thank you, awesome.
                No problem.
I guess they have no fear of this big hairy feedback monster.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Congratulations on starting your journey through the barriers and towards a more effective managerial future.  I don't think your concerns and hesitation are that diferent from that many other managers, frankly.  So, in addition to documenting your experience, you're helping other managers as well.

My kind of MT member!


TomW's picture
Training Badge


this is really great! You made a huge leap here and are willing to share the experience with others. I'm betting this thread will be extremely helpful to anyone struggling with giving feedback!

mdave's picture


Dear MT Diary  --
Three years ago I would be losing sleep tonight and would have fretted away a nice family Sunday evening in the face of the daunting week that I have ahead. In addition to "the usual" my team is working on two issues which have pretty high political/visibility stakes -- one of which is moving into the limelight pretty quickly for reasons beyond my control. And then I remind myself of all of the managerial advantages in my favor that will allow me to effectively respond to the upcoming challenges of the week (in no particular order).
1. Pre-emptive Koan was juggled last week and my subordinate supervisors is already taking ownership of and responding to some new opportunities -- a couple of which he should have been delegated all along. Coaching is such a great tool!
2. My improved delegation has significantly helped with number 1.
3. While my admin whom I use/pile-on extensively is out this week (bad week for this to happen), I was briefed last Friday on the contents of a manila folder on my desk which contains the agenda for this week's staff meeting (which I no longer facilitate!!), my schedule, conference call instructions and review material, etc.. It should be noted that the quality of my staff meetings has improved. My calendar is managed. I have yet to exhaust my admin – but I am still trying!!!
4. I should have one more subordinate supervisor but one responded to feedback so well that he is no longer a supervisor or in a decision making capacity and has found a new home elsewhere in the organization that is a much better fit for their skills (after shots across the bow and effective performance review). I remind myself that having the position vacant is far better than having the wrong person in the job – and that my worklife is so much easier in this regard.
5. Due to weekly O3s, I am aware of staff concerns, key events in their lives, confident that key work is moving along, and have shared that my next month or so is going to be demanding and that, although my time will be tight, the door is still open but to please be judicious in using it (e.g. no pout fest tomorrow over the Vikings).
6. My weekly update was sent to the boss last week and it articulated the progress of my staff regarding his goals for the department. He has already been briefed on this week's upcoming issues (it was succinct and did not involve power point).
7. A star specialist accepted a plum promotion within the organization at a different location this past Friday. It was a great success for our mantra of hiring great people and providing the experience for them to grow and develop. Already have 1-2 internal people who will be able to fill in.
8. I coached a direct on interpersonal skills recently and they are responding well so I am not anticipating the distraction of any "personality" induced behavior during these next couple weeks. When I have time to listen, the 'arrogant producer'  task will probably be just the ticket. I do love that he produces!
9. DISC – mine and the cheat sheet to help me guess theirs and respond accordingly has been a very helpful tool. My communication style has improved significantly and I no longer spend time wondering why  “they don’t get it”
10. I have several mentors who have been fantastic (in helping me navigate through the challenges of my role (I have been in the job for a year).
11. Now that I think about it, half the reason that I have this job is due to my performance and growth in the last one – which seems to correspond with my realizing that I needed some ‘how to manage’ resources and found MT.
12. Due to the events of the week, I’ll probably have the chance to make a few presentations (attire and content worked out), speak with the media some more (media relations), and write a few more briefs (delegate the drafts actually(smile)).
13. In case this week completely tanks (albeit unlikely) I feel pretty immunized. My network is up and I even own and have successfully used the interviewing series. While I have not actually done it, I know how to close.
14. Speaking of network, I can now shake hands, leave a voicemail, introduce someone, politely join a group, and eat appropriately.
15. I could go on, but I did mention that I was looking forward to sleeping well which means getting there!!!
It would be impossible to be nearly as effective in my role without MT and the insights of the MT community. MT has been thanked for a lot of things but I doubt that sleeping better is one of them (if so, I’m sure John Hack will know exactly when). Good night all!!!

jhack's picture


Thanks for a good chuckle...and good luck this week! 

John Hack

cruss's picture
Licensee Badge

BLUF: Don't wait, and don't be afraid of our reactions, just start giving feedback now and we will LOVE it.

As an individual contributor (I've had Manager in my title but have never supervised a team) I want to tell all the hesitant managers out there that Jirrin's account is exactly how it will go for you as well. Please be emboldened by this wonderful story and start giving feedback, today if possible.

I'm sure you remember how it was to be on the "bottom rung" of the ladder. We assume everyone above us knows things we don't. Whether they do or not, we want their perspectives and input on what we are doing right and wrong. As Mark says, you would want that from your boss, so don't assume your directs wouldn't want it from you.

If my manager walked up to me and said "Can I give you some feedback?" I would both fall on the floor and jump for joy. Even if it was the adjusting feedback on the worst mistake I ever made. Then after saying "Sure!" and receiving the feedback I would have to ask if he started listening to MT, but that's just me.

So let me echo the other commenters and say Thank You to Jirrin for your open and insightful look into the other side of management. I'm sure it will be just as hard for me when I get there, but now that I've read your story it might not be.

Canyon R

scm2423's picture

Thanks Jirrin, your posting helped me move from knowing I should be giving feedback to start doing it.  I put my fears behind me and just started doing it.  Was it perfect, was it natural, was I comfortable?  No but I did it the first time and survived and the second time was even easier.


Now I am wondering why I have this issue with allowing my fears get in my way.  I know there are a couple of things I am not doing because of fear.  Anyone have any good strategies for identifing this as it occurs and getting rid of the fear.  I hate myself when someone leaves my office and I haven't said what I really needed to. 



namillercpa's picture
Training Badge

I have really enjoyed following the feedback diary as I recently committed to implementing it despite that it scares me silly. I really struggle with it and am embarassed at how hard it is for me to notice all the wonderful things my directs do.  I sure do pay attention to the not so wonderful things.  Five minutes ago, I gave positive feedback to a direct and in response, she said to me "Can I thank you?  I have noticed all the positive feedback you have been giving and I really appreciate it"  I am ( no kidding) wiping a tear away right now.  What powerful motivation to continue - along with the fact that the work and the morale is getting better.


Jirrin - thank you especially for the day that you simply paid attention to the good things - that was what broke through my barriers.



Jirrin's picture


Dear MT Diary,
Week 2 of the Dear Diary Feedback project is going so well. Thank you all for your encouragement in this adventure through my insecurities. I know M&M love hearing this, but I never expected it to go over this well! I have folks asking for more responsibilities. Can you say, D E L E G A T I O N.
My roll out of the whole trinity was a bit wonky. My fault, I thought I was super-supervisor about 25 weeks ago. I have learned A LOT since then. I am but a mere mortal, and a much humbler and better person for it.
I had rolled out O3s with everyone 25 weeks ago and they are still going smashing. We were already doing some personal development, and it seemed natural to include these discussions during the O3s. I am happy to report everyone has benefitted from this wonkiness. 
My directs have learned so much more having to be accountable on a weekly basis for their goals. They claim it is easier for them breaking the goals into bite-size weekly pieces. It expanded the range of development from the company standard of paid online courses, to include things identified as areas of improvement, and areas of interest for additional responsibilities. My folks love it. If they miss a goal, we just re-adjust because we have time now to do it. One DR even commented, "It seems like we are pushing harder than we did a year ago, and done so much more even with our workload remaining constant."
Pay attention now upper management folks, it has saved money. More development for less cost! We have utilized books on hand, borrowed books from other groups, free online articles and tutorials and direct-teaching-direct presentations. I cannot wait for our bi-annual meeting to show off our training hours v. costs.
In summary:
One on ones – 25 weeks
Coaching – 25 weeks
Feedback – 2 weeks
Much more to come keep you posted.


Namillercpa, wow, thank you so much for brightening my morning and bringing a tear to my eye as well.

morgan3's picture

Dear Jirrin,

Thank you so much for you wonderful diary entries.

Driving home last night I was thinking that I really don't provide enough consistent feedback and was having difficulty figuring out why. Although I make a point to thank people at work, after listening to so many podcasts, I know that using the feedback model would be a better, more effective way of communicating with my team.

Upon reading your posts, it was so obvious, for some reason I have never set specific numeric goals around providing feedback! Big light bulb moment. Starting Monday I will be providing three positive feedbacks a day.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and thoughts.


morgan3's picture


2 days into the week and I have given positive feedback 7 times. It does get easier each time. And watching the recipients expression change from fear and anxiety to relief and joy when the feedback is positive is worth all my discomfort.




Jirrin's picture

Dear MT Diary,

Just an update on my progress since I last wrote. I cannot seem to make it to negative feedback in the trinity, and I wish all of you the same failure.
I had just gotten over my feedback fear with your help and I was eagerly anticipating some REAL change once I got to the negative feedback. Then this happens...
                Jirrin, we need you to take over this other group. They need some special attention and you have done great with your current group.
                Sure, would love to. (Oh man, but I was just getting good at this positive feedback thing. Now I will never get the chance to say all that negative feedback I have been biting my tongue on. I was looking forward to seeing some REAL change.)
I behaved, reined myself in, and did not rush with the new group. We started with O3s, and just began positive feedback again, when...
                Jirrin, we are reorganizing a bit and would like it if you would take over a couple other groups and accept a promotion.
                Sure, would love to. (But I just was this close to giving that wonderful, life-altering, career changing negative feedback. Now how will I ever make some REAL change around here?)
                Oh, and by the way, you get to promote a couple of your folks. The ones you mentioned that have excelled in their personal growth and taken responsibilities off your plate.
                (Hmmm, can you say, "Rolling down the Trinity")
So unfortunately I am unable to supply you with the first-hand benefits of negative feedback, as I have yet to get that far in the trinity. Guess I will have to work a bit harder to make some REAL changes. (wink)
Thank you so much Mike and Mark, could not have done this without you guys and all the support here.

RichRuh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Great story, Jirrin, and thanks for sharing.  I wish we all had such problems! :-)