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Friday Feedback Focus: Positive Feedback That Goes Deep

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Every day is a good day for authentic, helpful feedback.

But if you’ve been holding back on some positive reinforcement or appreciation for a co-worker’s contribution, don’t waste the opportunity to say it on Friday. The weekend ahead is a perfect time for the recipient of your feedback to soak in all of the pleasurable brain chemicals that will swish around when you feed back your positive message.

What kinds of positive feedback work best? The simple answer is believable feedback. Feedback that your colleague can trust does three things.

One, it will resonate with something important to them and/or what they love doing. If you mention great communication with a customer–and describe the details of what you observed–they may smile in recognition because customer service is a topic near and dear to their heart.

Two, the feedback gives you a lot of credibility because you have mentioned something that clicks in as totally true. They’re thinking–“Yes, that is accurate. I did go out of my way to find that customer’s solution.” Any future feedback from you will be trusted just a little bit more.

And three, the feedback teaches them something new: Just how important the “automatic” behavior they were taking for granted is! You have motivated them to do it more in the future. “Hmmm, I was just doing my job in handling the customer really well—but I didn’t realize how important that guy was to our whole business. I’ll keep that in mind with the more difficult customers too.”

Whatever people are good at can become unconscious behavior and the feedback can jump start them into a new level of awareness and positive action.  Without the feedback, it’s less likely they will generalize it–because they think it’s no big deal.

Even if your praise is just positive reinforcement for something the other person has fixed after poor performance in the past, the feedback will help set in place some effective new habits. When you say, “Great interaction with that customer–You really listened and found just the right solution to their unusual need,” your team member is thinking “Hmmm, maybe it was really worth all of that hassle. I hadn’t thought about it like that before but now I see it wasn’t that hard to do for others that I talk to.”

So who on your team can you authentically appreciate today? Not only will you put a smile on their face, but your positive, anti-stress brain chemicals will enhance your own mood just before the weekend.

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