A true staff meeting story:
Tyler turned to Tykeshia and said “I never know where I stand with you.”
Tykeshia replied, “Don’t worry. When you screw something up, I’ll tell you. You’re doing just fine.”
Tyler look back to Tykeshia and summoned his courage, and said “I’m sorry. That just doesn’t work for me. I need to know if I’m on track or not.”
Something that leaders sometimes think is “I don’t need to tell people when they’re doing things right. That’s just their job. It’s almost insulting to give compliments about the normal stuff they do.”
There may be some truth to that. This is also true:
1) People need to know how they’re doing. That engages and motivates them.
2) This is also very true: research shows that people thrive more when they receive three bits of positive feedback for every one of corrective feedback. (On balance. Please avoid taking this to mean that you ought to package things in bundles of four.)
If you’ve been reading this blog, or study best practices in leadership, then you know there are times you must provide corrective feedback to others.
If both of these things are true, then this makes sense:
Give people positive feedback when they’re on the right track– even if it’s just affirmation of them doing their job correctly. Then, they’ll stay more engaged because they know they’re on track, and they are more receptive to critical feedback when it occurs.
Both of these improve engagement, and improve relationships.
Once Tykeshia started telling Tyler both the correct things he was doing and the things he needed to improve upon, Tyler’s engagement improved, their relationship improved, and Tykeshia enjoyed working with Tyler more, because open communication builds strong work relationships, and keep people from guessing and stressing.
So go ahead and tell people when they’re doing things right. Bonus: also shows you don’t take them for granted.