As leaders, we need to rally, empower and motivate our teams to perform and accomplish the goals we set. We also must monitor, inspect and provide feedback.
Most leaders want to help their team achieve more. But how do you do this?
When providing feedback, it’s often a default to point out what is wrong. It’s easier. It’s to the point. But is it as effective?
The answer to that is – it depends.
Positive vs. Negative Feedback
First, let’s talk about positive feedback. What is it? Positive feedback is encouraging the right behavior. It focuses on getting employees to do more of the right things.
Negative reinforcement is more focused on correcting the errors.
Depending on the environment and goals, one may be better than the other. If you need a quick fix and you don’t need the employee or team member to make decisions, pointing out all the areas that need to be remedied quickly is often a better solution. If you are looking to help employees gain the confidence to take risks and make decisions (and be more self-sufficient), positive feedback is often better.
What are the Benefits of Positive and NegativeFeedback?
Why should we care about positive feedback? Positive feedback and positive reinforcement increases employee’s confidence and increases team morale. When you are in a changing environment and need to rely on your team to take risks and make decisions, positive feedback is crucial. The reason is simple: if all you do is point out the mistakes, your team will stop making them. And often that just means they stop doing any real work. They won’t take the risks you need them to. They won’t make decisions on their own. You will create an environment that requires you to ‘touch’ everything because they don’t want to make a mistake.
The benefits of negative feedback are that it’s to the point and usually results in faster compliance. If you are in an environment that is more like an assembly line, you may not need them to make decisions.
Team morale is also an important benefit of positive reinforcement. Focusing on all the right things and trying to get team members to do more of that is a much better motivator than negative reinforcement. A great example of positive content and how it can boost positivity at work:
We’ve all had those managers that pointed out everything that went wrong. But on the flip side, we’ve had those managers that were not able to have the crucial conversations. Without constructive criticism, we are less likely to improve our performance.