HOW do you feel about feedback?

Do you receive it from your manager?

Do you give feedback to your colleagues or friends?

We all feel different about feedback because we are all different.

Some people love it, others are okay with it, and others just hate it.

I am sure you have colleagues or people on your team who always want to know “how they are doing”.

They come and speak to you and show what they are doing. They ask: “Is this okay? Am I doing this right?”

They are constantly looking for reassurance that they are doing the right thing.

Then you have others who never come and speak to you at all, and get most uncomfortable whether you are giving them the good news or the bad.

Feedback is one of the top three factors that motivate people at work.

The majority of employees want to know when they are doing well and when they could be doing better.

There are managers who are happy to receive feedback from their boss and, as a result, are comfortable giving it to others, because they believe everyone feels the same way they do.

And, of course, if you look at it the other way round, managers who are less comfortable receiving feedback tend to believe that their team members feel the same way, and just don’t do it.

The danger about not giving feedback — if you are a senior manager — is that you may be setting a negative example.

Your managers who don’t receive feedback from you may subconsciously feel: “Why should I give feedback to my guys when I don’t get it?”

The bottom line is this: Whether you receive feedback or not; whether you feel uncomfortable giving it or not — you still need to do it for your people.

Just be aware that they are all different individuals and they might react in different ways. 

There are two types of feedback:


The good

This is called “confirming feedback” — telling a team member that you support whatever you have seen him do or heard him say.

It is a compliment or a “thank you” and is about “catching people doing something right”.

Successful managers realise that almost everyone reacts positively to confirming feedback. They feel better about themselves and they feel motivated to repeat the behaviour.

There is a saying that goes: “You get more of what you reward.”

If you tell someone that you like the way he has completed some aspect of his work, then you will find that he will continue to do that work in the same way or probably even better.

Confirming feedback is worth a fortune to you in terms of motivating your team and achieving your goals and targets.


The bad

This is called “productive feedback” on behaviour you are not happy with.

As you spend time with people, you are going to hear and see things that may not ensure your outcomes.

Ask yourself: “Is this something that is going to stop me achieving my outcomes of a happy, motivated and engaged team that achieves its targets?”

If the answer is “yes”, then you have to do something about it.

There are various things you can do:

•   You can ignore the behaviour you are not happy about;

•   You can reprimand the person; or

•   You can coach him.

Coaching is not a soft option. It is about finding out the cause of poor performance or behaviour and discussing with the person how to put it right.

You tell your team member what you are not happy with, listen to what he has to say and agree on a way forward.


The delivery

Whether you want to reinforce behaviour through confirming feedback or change unacceptable behaviour through productive feedback, there are certain steps you need to follow to make it work.

You need to do it as soon as possible and, if it is productive feedback, in private.

Tell your team member how you feel about his behaviour — not how the organisation or anyone else feels.

It is important to focus on one thing at a time and don’t confuse the person with a whole list of behaviours. You need to be specific and get input from him.

And most importantly, don’t leave him feeling low.

If you get all of this right, you will have a highly motivated team that increases customer satisfaction, boosts sales and makes a positive contribution to your business.


Article by Alan Fairweather, “the Motivation Doctor”. He is an international business speaker, successful author and sales growth expert. For details, visit Article source: