A DIFFERENT reason to give positive feedback

The reason most often given for giving positive feedback is that it helps people feel acknowledged, valued and encouraged. If you've ever NOT received positive feedback, you'll know how important that is... not getting positive feedback can lead to feelings of being taken for granted and unappreciated and in turn, undermine trying hard in the first place.

As Ken Blanchard brilliantly spells out in his gem-of-a-book about motivating teams, the two leading ways to acknowledge staff is through the twin blessings of cash and compliments. One without the other doesn't cut it. In other words, "compliments" is important to a person as cold hard cash (Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles).

But there is also another reason, a DIFFERENT reason, and it is as important. It is; so that we can better the manage that thing we’re good at. 

Very often it’s the things we are good at that get us into trouble... it's the strength overplayed, or a strength that you expect others to also have... 

Knowing that you’re good at something (and that others aren’t) greatly supports the self-management of that thing – it helps you not get so frustrated at others (that they don’t do it) and it helps you realise that this thing that at other times has got you bad feedback can also get you good feedback (those "I knew I was doing something valuable!" moments). 

Positive feedback helps us better manage the things we’re good at. 

Disclaimer (!); you may (ie; will) still need to remind them later on that "this is something you do better than others" when they're frustrated with colleagues, but by having given the compliment in the first place you'll have a point of reference to go back to.

We each need to learn that others do not think the way we do. Neither do others work the way we do and this is most clearly seen in our strengths. After all, if everyone else did them we would likely not call them a strength. They are by definition, something that's not common. 

Positive feedback both affirms the behaviour (and the person behind it) but also helps identify it as not common.

So, give positive feedback! Weave it into everyday normal conversation - it doesn't need to wait till an appraisal or some formal meeting...

  • Make it soon (after they do the good thing)
  • Make it specific (generalism's lack punch)
  • Make it meaningful (by telling them how it impacts others/the business)
  • Make it personal (by telling them the impact it has on you that they did it)

And you'll be both building their sense of appreciation but also they're ability to self-manage the thing they're good at.

All the best :)