The Power of Positive Feedback

Positive feedback - Merit Solutions Australia

Providing positive feedback to employees is one of the simplest and most powerful things you can do to motivate your staff.

Deep down we all need recognition and acknowledgment of a job well done.

The most common complaint I encounter in organizations is the age-old issue, “I only hear from my manager when something goes wrong; I never hear anything when things go right!”

When we don’t receive explicit positive feedback, we try to read between the lines by saying to ourselves, “Well, I would not have been selected for this special project, if my manager didn’t think I could do the job”.   So we give ourselves a “pat-on-the-back” in the absence of one from our manager.

The power of positive feedback comes from a basic need we all have to “know how we are going”.  Importantly, positive feedback builds what psychologists term, “self-efficacy” – an employee’s belief in their capacity to do a specific task to a particular level of competence.

So positive feedback builds self-belief and acts as a “lock-step” process because it locks in the employee’s confidence in their ability to do a specific task.  This, in turn, becomes the foundation for a higher level of performance.

Another powerful outcome from positive feedback (provided effectively) is reinforcement of desired behaviors.  If you reward the behavior you desire, it is more likely to be repeated.

Hence, you are developing a work culture through giving effective positive feedback.  This culture catches on as you model sound practice in giving positive feedback.  You will find that this reward behavior will spread through your work group and a new level of mutual respect and productivity will emerge.

You will have contributed to the development of a productive culture with a very easy-to-do process.

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About Ron Passfield

Ron is currently a Director and an Executive Consultant with Merit Solutions. He also collaborates with Julie Cork and Associates in the delivery of the Practical People Management program to Queensland Government clients. Since 1990, he has consulted as a coach to senior executives in leadership, culture and organisational change. Previously, Ron was a full-time lecturer in human resource management and organisational behaviour at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Griffith University for more than a decade.