Good performance is good for the organization; it promises quality results in the future. It’s about more than only the outcome: how the result was attained in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and collaboration is equally important. Performance feedback entails it all: information on how and how well a task has been executed. In this post I deal with how to let coworkers know their effort is meaningful, good, or excellent.
When you order a sandwich, is it about the two slices of bread or what’s on the sandwich? The sandwich technique for feedback is a way to package something unpleasant: First start with something positive, then the criticism and round off with something positive. The negative stuff is sandwiched between the good stuff. Sounds good, so why do I say: Never, ever use this technique.
One of the most powerful theories on how to motivate people on the work-floor is Deci and Ryan’s Self-Determination Theory. In my post ‘Effective Communication Is About Understanding Emotion’ I dealt with the idea of Observational Listening and how that way of listening focuses on emotions people are currently experiencing. These two concepts together make a powerful combination in which motivation takes current emotions into account.
An important task you have as a leader is giving feedback. Not only in terms of task performance (so that the other knows how he or she is doing), but also in terms of social behavior. This article is about just that: giving feedback on someone’s behavior with the intention that the other actually does something with that feedback. In other words, you give feedback because you would like to see different behavior. In a previous post, we looked at the difference between compliments, criticism and feedback. We now deal with the rules you should follow in order to increase the chance that your feedback will lead to desired results.
An important task you have as a leader is to give compliments and know how to deal with criticism. Compliments motivate; criticism has a negative effect on relationships. And good relationships already facilitate an environment in which the other is more willing to do things differently. In this article we therefore focus on what the effects of compliments and criticism are. In a future article, we will concentrate on a related skill: Giving feedback.