Giving positive feedback

What a glorious day!  Seeing the sun appear (finally) really has lifted the office – girls are wearing dresses with pockets (there is just something fabulous about dresses with pockets, but that’s more for a fashion blog than this one) and a few of the guys are in pink!  People are naturally feeling ‘sunny’.  Why don’t you make someone feel ‘extra sunny’ today by giving some positive feedback!

Feedback done well

Feedback is a real gift, but like any gift it has to be thought through, appropriate and delivered in the right setting.  Done correctly the person receiving the feedback feels valued, encouraged and even inspired.  Done badly and the receiver will be left feeling flat and despondent and you will quickly see them disengage – not great for your culture!

As Managers, one of your most important roles is to deliver regular feedback to your employees, no-one is the finished article, we are all constantly learning and feedback is a wonderful way to enhance that learning experience.  But if it’s so important why do so many people actively avoid it?

Giving constructive or negative feedback

Put simply, giving positive feedback is relatively easy to do, if you spot something great, comment on it! Make it a habit to capture people ‘in the act’ of great achievements or behaviours, you will be surprised how much a simple ‘well done’ or complimentary email will motivate the individual to do more great work.  But giving constructive or negative feedback is actually really difficult to do as if you say, ‘I would like to give you some feedback’ the receiver’s brain instantly goes into the fight or flight mode as we are automatically programmed to consider it a threat and to brace ourselves.  In this case it can often lead to conflict and it is doubtful that the receiver will hear the message at all, as they focus on their negative interpretation of what is being said to them.

Here’s our advice on how to deliver feedback well:

Good quality feedback needs to be specific and factual rather than general and personal:

  1. Describe the specific behaviour without value judgement e.g. I noticed/I heard/When you said.
  2. Explain the impact of the behaviour and take ownership of the impact yourself, if possible e.g. I felt/I thought.
  3. Make a recommendation e.g. ‘Next time you may want to’ or ‘Keep on doing that, it works for you!’

Ideally feedback should be overwhelmingly specific with a balance of positive and developmental pointers.

If you want to understand more, here’s our gift of feedback to you on this gorgeous day – Our new FREE E-Book: ‘Feedback, the game changer for Performance Management’:

Click here to download the E-Book on Feedback