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Power of Positive Feedback, Tips

One of the problems we have with positive feedback is just telling people, “You did a good job.” We’re not specific; we don’t give examples; we rush or delay. All of these things make those who receive our feedback skeptical. Here are some tips that will help reduce such skepticism.


Tips for Giving Positive Feedback

Be specific. Give examples of what was done well, as in: “Thank you for getting the May report to me on time. It helped me prepare for a meeting with my director.”

Separate negative and positive feedback: “Everything before the ‘but’ is forgotten, as in: “You’re doing a fine job with customers but you need to balance your drawer faster at the end of your shift.”

Lavish positive feedback! Give more positive feedback than negative, as in 4:1 positive to negative. (That doesn’t mean you say, Well, I’ve said four nice things to Wanda this month. It’s time for something negative.)

Give positive feedback in a timely way. The sooner the better after you observe the good work, as in: “Jim, I’m glad I caught you before you left this room: The meeting you just led in here was good. Thanks for following the agenda and keep us on time.”

Positive feedback can be given in public or private. Learn which employees prefer, as in: “Shelia, I’m proud of the way you worked with Mr. Aldrich on the phone today. You just won the weekly customer service award! May I give it to you in our department meeting tomorrow?”

Positive feedback can even be given by third persons, as in “The director just shared with me that your report was just what she needed for the trustee meeting. Thank you for providing her with an accurate, complete report.”

Don’t be hesitant to give praise before the fact, as in “I selected you for the assignment because you do your other tasks so well that I know you’ll do this one well too.”

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