How to give positive feedback when it doesn’t feel natural

Delivering feedback is a cornerstone of the way you assist your groups develop. Nevertheless, many leaders focus solely on constructive feedback and neglect to give their groups positive feedback. Leaders typically inform me that offering positive feedback feels inauthentic. They don’t understand how to share the enter with out it seeming contrived, or they produce other psychological blocks that may hold them from delivering a “job effectively accomplished.” 

If this sounds such as you, listed here are 4 tips about how to give genuine, positive feedback to help your crew’s development:

Acknowledge the significance of positive feedback

Many leaders inform me they simply need their groups to get the work accomplished. They consider that no feedback is important if the groups are doing the work, as a result of “It’s their job to do good work. ” Whereas this can be true at some stage, there’s a excessive price for leaders who fail to share positive feedback: with out it, your finest folks will go away.

One chief I labored with all the time did wonderful work, however obtained no positive feedback from her managers. She informed me that in ten years, she had by no means heard any positive feedback as a result of “it’s simply not a part of our tradition.” The shopper by no means knew how she was doing; she began to create tales about her perceived progress or lack thereof. The rumination created loads of wasted time and power for her. My shopper began to lose concentrate on the work at hand; relatively, earlier than essential shows she would fear that her work wasn’t ok.

Leaders within the group began to go away as a result of they’d no metric to gauge whether or not they have been on monitor of their careers. In exit interviews, they talked concerning the lack of feedback, particularly positive discussions. With out positive feedback, folks will feel much less motivated and ultimately burn out—particularly when working in a digital setting. The lesson: Your groups want to know what goes proper to allow them to broaden on it and proceed to develop. Everybody desires and desires recognition.

Take into account your historical past of receiving feedback

For those who haven’t obtained positive feedback, it could be arduous to perceive what the expertise includes. Return and take into consideration your profession from a high-level perspective. Acknowledge your wonderful work. Present appreciation to your self; you then’ll have a better time sharing appreciation together with your crew.

One former shopper determined he would create a retrospective of the superb work he had completed and any tidbits of positive feedback he’d obtained. This work helped him in two methods. First, he felt the positive “halo impact” of appreciating his very good work. Second, he was ready to acknowledge that positive feedback is vital to sustaining motivation and transferring ahead.

After you’ve acknowledged your personal good work, observe giving positive feedback to others till the method feels natural. You possibly can implement this observe within the final 5 to ten minutes of crew members’ standing conferences.

One former shopper had by no means obtained a lot positive feedback due to the character of his office tradition. When he started delivering positive feedback on the finish of his standing conferences, my shopper discovered loads of pleasure and deepened relationships together with his groups.

Study totally different feedback fashions

Many leaders have by no means been proven how to ship positive feedback, or have by no means obtained it prior to now. If that is you, it’s time to recalibrate. There are numerous sources to provide help to find out how to share positive feedback; or, you’ll be able to ask a colleague to share their methods.

One chief I labored with determined to observe how she delivered positive feedback with a trusted colleague. This observe allowed her to acquire a natural feel for delivering positive feedback earlier than she started the method along with her groups. After you’ve investigated and checked out strategies to ship positive feedback, take a look at a number of the ways and see what feels genuine to you.

I labored with one shopper who felt “faux” giving positive feedback. Collectively, we created a mannequin the place she might genuinely share positive feedback. After hitting on the appropriate technique, my shopper felt motivated to share. For her, quick and candy was finest. She discovered small, constant methods to increase her groups, akin to: “Nice job on the mannequin—your estimate on the undertaking was spot on with what the corporate wants for making the following quarter profitable.”

 If essential, rethink your crew’s organizational construction

You’ll have a psychological block towards delivering positive feedback since you consider your groups don’t deserve it: They aren’t undertaking their objectives. If that is so, first see in case you want to reorganize your groups so the appropriate individuals are engaged on the appropriate duties. When the appropriate individuals are doing the appropriate jobs, you’ll be able to exponentially enhance your groups’ output.

Second, be sure to’ve set expectations for what you require of every crew member. You possibly can’t ship any feedback—particularly positive feedback—if there isn’t a plan for every crew member.

As well as to position expectations, you as a frontrunner should give your groups a framework to allow them to progress of their profession paths. Then, take into consideration how to information the crew ahead. I like to recommend giving a small dose of positive feedback after the organizational reset. What’s one small factor that’s going proper? Make an observation of it and have a good time; this may construct your crew’s confidence. These small wins will snowball, and your acknowledgment of your crew members will create a positive work local weather.

Whereas you will have by no means obtained or delivered positive feedback, you could acknowledge the place your crew is doing effectively in order for you them to keep motivated. Making a positive local weather will catapult your crew’s output and end in a happier office.


Anne Sugar is an govt coach and keynote speaker who has suggested prime leaders in verticals akin to biotech, know-how, and finance. Anne serves as an govt coach for Harvard Enterprise College Govt Training and has visitor lectured at MIT.