Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tips for improving positive feedback

Delivering positive feedback is a critical technique for helping people perform at their best.  Everyone likes to receive a pat on the back once in a while but not everyone knows the best way to communicate it.  Positive feedback is a skill. 

The following advice for making positive feedback more effective is directed at business managers but you may also find it helpful in your capacity as a teacher or employer.  From the Harvard Business Review:

  1. Make a personal connection early on. Your associates can tell when you are being direct, sincere and authentic. When you are, you establish trust. When you aren't, you don't. I have developed a practice that helps get things out in the open the moment a new hire meets me — I declare myself. I tell the person I'm meeting about my background, my values, my leadership philosophy, my expectations and even my favorite quotes. I then ask him or her to share something with me. My goal is to take the mystery out of our relationship as quickly as possible. This has proved to be a very powerful tool for relationship-building.
  2. Look for opportunities to celebrate. My executive assistants and I spend a good 30 to 60 minutes a day scanning my mail and our internal website looking for news of people who have made a difference at Campbell's. For example, as of this writing I just learned about a woman named Patti who just got promoted in our customer service area, so I made a note to congratulate her.
  3. Get out your pen. Believe it or not, I have sent roughly 30,000 handwritten notes to employees like Patti over the last decade, from maintenance people to senior executives. I let them know that I am personally paying attention and celebrating their accomplishments. (I send handwritten notes too because well over half of our associates don't use a computer). I also jump on any opportunities to write to people who partner with our company any time I meet with them. It's the least you can do for people who do things to help your company and industry. On the face of it, writing handwritten notes may seem like a waste of time. But in my experience, they build goodwill and lead to higher productivity.

Enjoy reading the rest here.


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