September 11, 2010
The Power of Positive Feedback


Most high level executives do not expect a lot of recognition from others. Nor do they give a lot of recognition to others.

Many managers are like the guy who, when his wife complains that he doesn't tell her he loves her any more, responds that he told her he loved her when he married her -- and he would have let her know if anything had changed.

Similarly, most managers act as if the act of hiring an employee is recognition enough -- and they would have let them know if anything changed.

This in spite of the fact that every one of these managers wants to be valued and appreciated by their superiors, and is regularly disappointed by the lack of appreciation coming their way.

There is a great fear that only the most extraordinary achievements warrant recognition and that all "just good" or superior performance is merely what should be expected and does not require any special recognition...

The fear is that "excessive" recognition will dilute the praise, cheapen it, and reduce future motivation for outstanding performance.

The data, of course, indicates otherwise.

Mere acknowledgment of good performance increases the probability of more good performance. And specificity of feedback -- telling the person exactly what you liked about what they did and why you liked it -- dramatically increases the likelihood of that performance occurring again.

Target.jpg Giving people clear targets increases the likelihood that those targets will be hit, even if no incremental reward is associated with success. Hitting a valued target is rewarding in itself.

If we can get to a place where we are more generous and specific in our positive feedback, we will notice a dramatic increase in the quality of performance and overall satisfaction with work.

- Barry Gruenberg


Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at September 11, 2010 08:53 AM


Some managers have a corrupted file up in their brain that subconsciously inhibits the recognition functionality even in the most stable of conditions. The viral infection has hijacked the mind into thinking, "if it has worked for me, then it should for the others". And, there's a name for the file - EGO.

Posted by: Yuvarajah [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 11, 2010 09:28 PM

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