The post itself is Reddit gold—surprising and empathetic with moments of pure joy—but I also read it through the lens of someone who coaches a lot of managers as they need to respond to surprising and sensitive feedback at work.
After sharing the post with many friends and family members (the story and subsequent update are genuinely delightful!!) I got to thinking about how it’s a great example of receiving important feedback when tensions are high.
I’m excited to walk through what this manager did, because I think it could be a model for so many of us when we need to give or receive tough feedback:
Though I recommend you go and read the full post and update, here’s the gist: in a workplace that provides services to clients at very sad and stressful points in their lives, there live two cats named Jean and Jorts. Jean is a clever tortoiseshell cat, while Jorts gets himself into a multitude of predicaments (falling in trash cans, getting himself stuck in closets, etc.) and happens to be orange (this is important later!). Jean often helps Jorts out of his predicaments.
One human teammate, Pam, tried to help Jorts develop new skills by making life a bit harder for Jorts—putting margarine on his body so he might learn to clean himself better, removing failsafe exits from a room so he’d figure out how to open a door, assigning tasks to other teammates that would teach Jorts something—all in an effort for to get Jorts to learn.