How often do you give others positive feedback?
What opportunities do you have to give positive feedback? – We often think that feedback is something that only happens in performance reviews or during feedback surveys that large organisations send us. However, there are so many situations that we face each day where we could give feedback. Here are some of the kinds of situations where you might have opportunities to give positive feedback:
Someone at work (or in your family) has been particularly helpful, gone the extra mile, been proactive, etc.
A supplier has consistently given you great service
A call centre operator has been particularly helpful (yes, it does happen!)
A friend or family member has created a great meal.
For me, when I am running training courses in hotels and conference centres, I always go out of my way to thank people and give specific positive feedback where it is due which is often met with some surprise as so often people only give feedback when something is wrong.
When did you last give someone positive feedback? Are there other people you can feed back to?
How do people react to positive feedback? – People are often surprised or even embarrassed by getting positive feedback because they are not used to it. Also, if a person has a strong inner critic, they may well dismiss the feedback either out loud by saying things like, ‘Oh it was nothing’ or they dismiss it inside themselves with, ‘Yes, but they don’t know all the things that went wrong’ or ‘I don’t really deserve the feedback’. I think that just because others might not be used to receiving positive feedback, it is not an excuse to avoid giving it. If more of us gave it, the more people would get used to it.
Having mastered my inner critic, I am now in the position to listen to, acknowledge and take on board positive feedback. And even feel pleased with myself when I get it – without slipping into complacency!! And this is the point, many people fear that if they acknowledge and even enjoy the positive feedback that they get that they will fall foul of all those expressions that we were told as children: ‘You’ll get too big for your boots’, ‘Pride comes before a fall’. We therefore think we can’t enjoy our successes or any positive feedback that we receive. I’ve learnt to just say ‘thank you’, which is all you really need to say, and enjoy what there is to enjoy!
If you find that your inner critic stops you from listening to, acknowledging and taking on board positive feedback then take a look at my book, have some coaching with me or book on one of my public workshops, click here for more information.
What is your reaction to positive feedback? How do other people normally react?
‘I can live for two months on a good compliment’
Feedback is different from praise or saying thank you – When I am training managers in performance management and we look at giving people feedback, I explain that feedback, unlike pure praise or criticism, needs to provide useful information. For example, when Simon gave me positive feedback about Inspire, he said (I paraphrase), ‘It is great as when it arrives it is time to sit down with a cup of coffee and read it. The way it is written in chunks helps you to scan through it easily. It provides a different perspective on topics that I might think I already know about. And there is always something useful in the right hand column’. Honestly, I did not pay him or even ask him for any feedback! But, I can tell you now, it was really useful, especially with my concerns about whether anyone ever looks at the right hand column!!
Good feedback whether it is positive and aiming to reinforce behaviour, or whether it is change feedback, needs to provide information about what the person needs to keep on doing, or what they need to do to change. Without specific information you don’t know what you are doing well or what you need to change. So if Simon had just said, ‘I really like your newsletter’ or even, ‘I find it very useful’ it would not have given me as much information to go on as his fuller comments. And I would just like to thank all those people who every month email back and thank me for a particular edition of Inspire. It goes to show that each month there is always something that strikes a chord with someone.
When you give people feedback do you give enough information?
Are you skewed in the feedback you give? Working with clients I often find that people usually lean towards only giving positive feedback or only giving change feedback or criticising people. If you are aware of this then you might want to ask yourself, do you give….
Too much positive feedback? – Are you concerned about upsetting others or not being liked? Are you afraid of their reaction? Or perhaps you are just a very positive person who just sees the good in what others do – and there is nothing wrong with that – unless others around you end up getting away with murder!
Too much change feedback or criticism? – Are you a glass half empty person, perhaps overly critical of yourself, as well as others? Do you think that people don’t need positive feedback as they are ‘just doing their job/what they are paid to do’ or that they are ‘just pulling their weight in the family so why should I thank them for it’.
If you find that you give too much positive or change feedback then you might want to practice giving more balanced feedback.
‘Most human beings have an absolute and infinite capacity for taking things for granted.’ Aldous Huxley
Do you need training or coaching in feedback skills? Perhaps your job involves performance or project management or you deal with lots of suppliers or freelancers, where keeping people’s performance and motivation on track is important, then give me a call on 01865 377334 or email by clicking here to discuss this further. For more information about Grovelands visit our website by clicking here.