Everybody likes to hear that they've done a good job!
If you're a manager or a team leader, you may think of feedback as a negative term. It's a tool you use when an employee messes up and it helps them to correct things. You pull them aside, have a quick chit-chat, and rectify whatever went wrong. However, that's not its only function. There's true power in recognising and sharing positive feedback with your team.
Telling someone that you've noticed their efforts and that they're on the right track shows that you appreciate them professionally. Let's face it - if someone is killing it every single day, you'd be a fool not to shout about it. So, how can you get started with this approach?
In the following guide, we'll take a look at what positive feedback is, the role it plays in motivating your team, and some handy feedback examples.
What is positive feedback?
Positive feedback is when you let someone know that you've noticed their strengths, achievements, and dedication to the job at hand. Should you find a staff member is on top form or excelling in their role, this is your way of telling them so.
You might have a quick appraisal with them, speak to them at the time, or shoot them an email at the end of the day. Imagine the buzz of glee that person will get when they hear the sharp ping of their email and see your positive words on screen.
Most of the time, it's managers who give feedback to their team members. However, it doesn't matter what position you hold in the workplace. If you notice that someone is doing a stellar job, telling them so is just good practice. For instance, you might tell your coworker that they really helped you out on a project or that they were speedy in replying to you.
Benefits of positive feedback
Before we get into the positive feedback examples, let's take a moment to talk about why it matters. Getting comfortable with complimenting people on their approach to work is a must. However, many of us focus on the negative rather than dishing out positive feedback. It's time to switch things up. Here are four of the core benefits of doing so.
It creates a happy workplace culture
Negativity is contagious - so stop spreading it. While you'll need to share constructive criticism with your team at times, if that's the only type of feedback you give it will create a bad vibe. It doesn't always have to be doom and gloom. Balancing things out by honestly recognising when people have excelled will help to boost morale overall.
It improves employee engagement
Employee engagement means how interested and proactive the team is about their work. According to a survey by Gallup, dishing out some positive feedback could be the key to this goal. Around 30% of employees were engaged when managers focused on their weaknesses, while more than 60% were engaged when they focused on their strengths.
It reinforces positive workplace behaviour
Positive reinforcement is no joke. In the realms of psychology, this is a type of feedback that encourages people - or, indeed, animals - to keep repeating a desirable behaviour.
In the carrot and the stick analogy, it's the carrot. Here's how it works: when someone does something you want them to keep doing, you reward them. They associate that action with the reward, and so do it again. So, positive feedback can be used as a reward. If you give it at the right moment, you may motivate your team members to keep excelling.
It helps people to identify their strengths
What are your top strengths in the workplace? You might be able to reel off some generic attributes, but getting down to the nitty-gritty details can often be hard. Self-reflection can be the most challenging task of all. Luckily, positive reinforcement can help with this too.
Highlighting a person's strengths or abilities to them allows them to clearly see them. If they are naturally self-deprecating, they may not be aware of the talents they possess. Why not make their day by sharing some positive feedback that helps them to see them?
Positive feedback examples
Right, so what are some good feedback examples? If you're scratching your head and don't know where to start, we've got you covered. Generally, you'll find that this type of feedback tends to fall into one of five categories, which we'll delve into now.
1. Meeting or exceeding goals
If you're managing a team, you'll be all too familiar with KPIs and goal-setting. So, how do you deal with the situation when the team member reaches - or exceeds - a mutually agreed-upon goal? Letting their hard work go unnoticed is a mistake. Instead, you need to make a song and dance out of it. Take a look at a couple of positive feedback examples:
“I wanted to congratulate you on reaching your targets this month. I realise that they were higher than they've been before and that it wasn't easy. However, I was impressed at how you kept pushing forward despite this challenge.”
“We're only halfway through this quarter and you've already reached your milestone. I'm really proud of how quickly you've hit the ground running on this one. Thank you for your hard work and determination.”
2. High-quality work
Is a staff member giving you their all? Are other employees singing their praises? If you've heard it through the grapevine, telling them that they are doing well is the way to go. Should you find that a worker is always delivering excellent work, you need to say something. Here are two simple positive feedback examples you might want to use:
“I've been hearing loads of positive reports from other employees about the quality of your work. I just wanted to say thank you for your efforts and ask if there's anything you need from me to help you keep it up.”
“Thank you for your recent assignments - your work has been excellent lately. I have to say I'm really impressed with everything you're doing and pleased to have you aboard.”
3. New skills and talents
Upskilling is of huge value to businesses. If one of your team members has recently learned something new or developed a skill, don't be afraid to tell them about it. This may also be an opportunity to ask them if they're interested in other training routes. To help whet your appetite, here are two good feedback examples you may try:
“Thank you for taking part in the SEO training last week. It's great to see that you're putting your newfound skills to use already. I wonder if there are any other training opportunities that might support your professional growth, does anything spring to mind?”
“I've noticed that you've become a pro when it comes to using the CRM. It looks like you really have a knack for these types of systems. We're lucky to have you on the team!”
Either one of your team members or a coworker helped you to solve a tricky problem. Perhaps they gave you a new perspective that you hadn't considered. Maybe they came to you with a complete plan that you've since put into action. Whatever has happened, it's vital that you tell the person that they've made an impact. Check out these feedback examples:
“Hey, I wanted to thank you for your help with my client last week. I honestly had no idea how to approach them about the rate change but I took your advice and it worked.”
“Thanks for your help with our quarterly plan. You really brought some fresh suggestions to the table and it was great to have your input. We're going to implement your ideas.”
5. New responsibilities or tasks
Has a team member recently taken on some new tasks? As the scope of a staff member's role grows, you need to ensure that you're praising them. Grappling with new responsibilities isn't always easy. Sharing one of the following feedback examples may help them:
“How are you finding your new responsibilities? I'm hearing reports that you're already managing them well. I wanted to thank you for stepping up to the mark on this one.”
“Thanks for taking on the additional tasks we talked about. I can see that you're managing each of them well. Is there anything I can do to support your new workload?”
Sharing positive feedback with your team should be high on your priority list. In this guide, we've talked about the benefits that the entire workplace will experience when you start using this approach. Use our positive feedback examples as inspiration and get moving!
Ready to find your next challenge? If you're feeling positive and hunting for a job, why not send your CV for a free CV review? With constructive feedback, you'll be able to start your job search on a high!