The Power Of Positive Feedback

Welcome to this special blog series for Learning at Work week 2023.

Learning at Work Week is an initiative from Campaign for Learning which aims to promote the benefits of lifelong learning. It is an annual event and each year follows a particular theme. This year the theme is Creating the Future and the theme is split into three strands:

  • Think Future
  • Future Fit
  • Future Skills

As a learning and development consultant, my focus is on ensuring that people have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their careers. Learning at Work Week provides a great opportunity for businesses to start thinking about what skills they need their workforce to have, understanding what the training needs of the workforce are, and creating a plan to meet both business and workforce needs.

For Learning at Work Week, I have created a series of three blogs focusing on the strand Future Skills; in particular developing the skills of future and existing line managers. The previous blog focused on developmental conversations and how to make them less difficult. The focus of this blog is on the power of positive feedback.

From 'meh' to 'marvellous'

Let me tell you a story.

A story about how my Friday went from ‘meh’ to ‘marvellous’ in four words.

This morning, I went to my regular circuit class at the gym. I wasn’t really feeling it as I had not slept well the previous night. I was feeling groggy and demotivated.

I turned up and paired-up with another gym goer who I have completed the class with before. At the end of the first circuit, as we got our breath back and gulped down some water, she turned to me and said;

“You’re doing really well. I trained with you a few months ago and you are doing great. I can see the progress you have made.”

Well, that was IT!

With a smile on my face and a boost to my mood, I hit the next two circuits hard, increasing the weights, and moving a bit faster. By the end of the class I felt great!

The impact

Yes, I know that exercise has a positive effect on mood. However, there have been times where I have been to the gym and not felt as good as I did after today’s class. The boost in mood I felt was down to the feedback I received.

Compliments and positive feedback are more than just nice. They hit at an emotional and neurological level.

The feedback hit the reward centre of my brain. It felt good and motivated me to repeat the behaviour that prompted the compliment.

The feedback also acknowledged the progress I had made. As I see myself every day, I don’t always notice the progress or gains I have made. Having someone from the outside provide that feedback made me feel good and proved to me that my efforts were paying off.

What this means for managers

What does this mean for people development?

Managers and team leaders spend a lot of time thinking about how to deal with difficult conversations. How often do you take the time to provide feedback on the things that your team is doing WELL? Not just throw-away comments like ‘great job’ or ‘well done’ but actual, SPECIFIC feedback on the things that have gone well? For example:

❌ Great report.

✅ Great report. I really liked the executive summary. It was concise but you didn’t lose the key message.

❌ Well done dealing with that difficult customer.

✅ Well done dealing with that difficult customer. You remained calm and stated your position firmly and fairly in a respectful way.

Can you see the difference? Telling someone SPECIFICALLY what they have done well will trigger all those reward responses which means that they will be more likely to repeat the behaviour or action again!

As we come to the end of Learning at Work Week, take a moment to give someone in your team, or a colleague, some good, specific feedback. You will send them into the weekend with a smile on their face and a motivational boost for next week!

Do you remember to give positive feedback?

Is this something you could do more often?

Further support

Meliora Learning and Development can help new and existing managers in your business to improve their skills. We can support your business in the following ways:

  • Manager training modules covering key competencies including:
    • Being a manager and your management style
    • Goal setting
    • Coaching
    • Developmental Conversations
    • Influencing Others
    • Communication
  • DISC Behavioural Profiling to provide managers with insight into their own behaviour and communication preferences, the impact it has on team members, and how they can flex their style.
  • Bespoke training and development solutions.

To book a free intro call, click here.

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