Ten Tips for Giving Positive Feedback

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Positive feedback is about praising, celebrating the good, and giving specific information that can help someone to build on their strengths. Positive feedback is not always received as good news, especially if the receiver has low self-belief or confidence. So, when we give positive feedback, we have to remember the diversity in our organisation and among our tenants.

Here are ten tips to help you when giving positive feedback

1. Choose the right communication method. Some people will not believe positive feedback if it is sent by text or email. Others, more shy or introvert, may prefer it.

2. If meeting face to face, use eye contact. You must be sincere and be seen to be sincere.

3. Make positive feedback evidence based. “You did a really good job in that meeting, for example, in the way you dealt with the concerns of the tenant committee representative….”

4. Contextualise the feedback. “That was an excellent performance from the team. Our tenant feedback scores are twenty percent up on last month and much better overall than last year. As a strategic priority for the organisation everyone is really helping to deliver on our target.”

5. Be as specific as you can. “I’m very pleased with how you’ve fitted into your role. You’re participating in meetings, bringing all the figures we need to the planning meeting, and also you asked a lot of very helpful questions but also weren’t afraid to challenge over the new maintenance booking procedure.”

6. Avoid superlatives and exaggeration. Don’t make everything “brilliant”, “awesome” or “terrible”. Use accurate language.

7. Adjust your language to the different people in your organisation and community. Tune into the way they speak and ensure your communication with them in sensitive and accessible.

8. Avoid jargon and acronyms. Don’t be over-general – positive feedback is only helpful when it affirms and guides specific behaviour. Speak in plain language and check ofr understanding

9. Don’t deliver a “sh*t” sandwich – i.e. giving positive feedback followed by a “But” that then turns the positive into a worse negative. “You did really well on that call, BUT…” If feedback includes constructive criticism, then start with that – separate off the positive completely, and offer it after, not before. When appropriate, suggest ways that positive feedback can be further built on, without resorting to a “but”.

10. Invite dialogue and questions. Create opportunities for the positive feedback to guide further positive behaviour. make positive feedback a “one off” sometimes – just offer it and leave it; at other times, use it as a chance for further personal and professional development.


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About Paul Levy

Paul is a writer, thinker, facilitator, theatre-maker, and conversifier. He is the author of the book, Digital Inferno.

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