Study: Businesses Benefit When Managers Give Positive Feedback To Employees

June 26, 2015By
Web Developer Traits

What kind of feedback do you give your employees?

When I started Ghost Blog Writers it was just me writing for a few clients on the side of my full-time job.

I remember that the clients were great, but when I would get feedback it was usually negative feedback.

It wasn’t that the clients were trying to be negative, but when you think about how we interact in business it often involves one party delivering something and the other party simply naming what they want changed or revised.

So in the case of blogging I would get feedback on what would need to be changed or I was told what the client didn’t like about the post.

Simple enough.

When something is wrong you certainly want to point it out and get it revised.

But over time I noticed that I started feeling like:

Man, is there anything they actually like about these posts?

I think it’s natural for us to not mention the good things that people do and that’s important for business owners and managers to understand.

The Power Of Positive Feedback

I think everybody falls on a different scale when it comes to how we respond to different feedback.

I always played sports growing up and for me it was difficult when a coach got in my face and started yelling at me. I just never responded to that type of coaching. I would actually get defensive and do worse when that occurred.

Other kids seemed to respond to that type of feedback better than I did. I would respond better to positive feedback on what I was doing well. That made it easier to hear the feedback on where I could improve.

I think it’s the same with blogging for me.

And over the last few years I’ve recognized that providing positive feedback is important for us at GBW. We have a great team of writers and I like to provide constructive positive feedback. I think people learn just as much or more when you tell them what they’re doing well.

When you tell someone what they do well and why it’s good you’re letting them know that you want more of that thing.

So with blogging I like to point out the good things in a post as much or more than pointing out what needs to be changed.

It seems to foster a culture where writers feel appreciated and wanted. I think the writers are happy and I feel that over time they grow and learn new things about blogging and that they want to improve both for themselves and for GBW.

And that’s great.

The Harvard Study On Positivity

So with that background I was very interested in a recent article on the Harvard Business Review about positive feedback.

The basic finding in the article or study was that when the boss thinks an employee is awesome, that employee typically becomes awesome.

Obviously there are some outliers, but that was the basic finding and it was pretty apparent that being positive with employees was much better for all parties involved versus the all-to-common negative path that some managers take.

And I know it can be hard to not be hard on employees. You want them to know that you demand the best. You want them to push themselves to be the best they can be for their sake and yours.

But business doesn’t have to only be about negative feedback. You have to focus on providing positive feedback and to tell people that you believe in what they are and what they can become. You can push people to be the best by using positive feedback.

I can’t remember where I read it, but it was an article about parenting and how successful parents with successful kids often told their kids that they were awesome, but with one important way of doing so – they would tell the child that they were awesome for accomplishing something and then told the child that the child’s hard work obviously paid off. And then they could encourage the child to push beyond the boundaries and apparent limits.

We all want to be treated well and told that we can do great things. And it seems the best way to do that is to encourage people to do their best and to improve by providing positive feedback along with feedback on how to improve.