The Power of Positive Feedback
by Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. on March 13th, 2013

Employees who don’t feel recognized tend to burn out, disengage, or leave an organization. Many leaders feel as if recognition is costly and labor intensive, yet simple day-to-day positive feedback, which is easy and free, renders a substantial return on investment.

Managers may withhold positive feedback, until a result is delivered. Thus, the behaviors that deliver results appear to go unnoticed. Whereas some don’t see the value in recognizing people at all. Isn’t their paycheck enough recognition for them? Without reinforcement, even the steadiest performer will lose motivation. Positive feedback not delivered properly often feels like an empty compliment. The typical response to, “GREAT JOB!” is “Oh, it was nothing.” Without specifics, “great job” becomes cliché. Employees are engaged when they know the work they do is important.

Positive feedback, delivered as a specific value message, transfers a sense of pride and accountability. When an employee does something that you wish to have repeated, try these steps to deliver a value message:

1. Say thank you. John, thanks for offering to prepare that presentation.

2. State specific positive behaviors, and the impact of those behaviors. You really helped me to get that proposal out. It’s this type of commitment that helps us to meet our goals.

3. If the response seems like a “brush off”, restate the value of the behavior. Really, Mike, it was nothing. I pounded it out in two hours. Restate: You were able to do it in two hours because of your experience. It would have taken me twice as long. Your statistics were great too; they really helped to make the point.

4. Thank the employee, again, and encourage him/her to continue the behavior.

Remember, when you give your employees compliments, they walk away thinking you’re great. When you give your employees reinforcing feedback, they walk away thinking they’re great!

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