The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio
Which is more effective in improving team performance: using positive feedback to let people know when they're doing well, or offering constructive comments to help them when they're off track? New research suggests that this is a trick question. The answer, as one might intuitively expect, is that both are important. But the real question is — in what proportion?
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman
Notes that the study included 60 leadership teams who were closely studied to determine the quantity of positive and negative comments so that researchers could determine "effectiveness." Researchers arrived at this value based on customer satisfaction figures along with financial performance.
Researchers found that 5.6 positive comments to 1 negative comment was the average statistic for the best performing leadership teams. So, the most successful teams had a ratio of about 6:1.
The normal performing team had almost 2:1, meaning two positive comments for every negative. The lowest teams had about 3 negative comments for every positive one.
Apparently, minimal negative feedback and maximal positive feedback produces the best results. A couple of instances when negative feedback might be appropriate are: when a leader needs to really grab an employee's attention or when a manager needs to combat complacency.
The overarching conclusion here is that the best way to motivate, instill loyalty, boost performance, and maximize productivity is through positive feedback and comments.
Darin's note: A recent scientific study reported that negative feedback can produce positive results, but it's important to consider the distinction between that and the current study. Yes, negative feedback can produce positive results in some circumstances, but only positive feedback possesses true power to motivate.
Interested? Click the title or image to read on.
Source is HarvardBusinessReview
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