Thumbs up

Following on from the last post on Why It’s Better, And More Accurate, To Give Positive Feedbackhere’s a format for doing just that.

We’re more used to giving details about what people did wrong. When people do things right, the most they often get is a bit of non-specific praise of the “Well done!” kind. 

This may be useful as behavioural reinforcement (telling them to keep doing more of the same), but it doesn’t highlight the specific part of their performance you liked, or why you liked it. 

This is why Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall, authors of the recent bestseller Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, say that “Good job!” should be the start of a conversation rather than the end of it.

Luckily, on the Clear Leadership course taught by my colleague, the redoutable management consultant Elar Killumets, I learned a clear, easy format for giving ‘positive’ feedback to people you manage.

The crucial question to ask yourself is “What do I want more of for this person?” This could be a behaviour you want to see more of, or a behaviour, quality or skill you want to encourage.

There are three steps in delivering the feedback:

  1. Describe something they did well (keep it to one thing so as to avoid overloading them). 
  2. Describe its impact on you – how you felt about it (this can’t be argued with or discounted!).
  3. Say, “Please do that more often.”

That’s it! Let us know what you think or how you get on with using it in the comments below.

An Easy Format For Giving Positive Feedback

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