Don’t Fake It: Here’s How To Be Genuine About Praise and Constructive Feedback
As a team leader, you use a certain leadership style. You may even adapt your style to better mesh with certain individuals and circumstances. No doubt you know that praise and constructive feedback are two effective means of improving team performance. In fact, these two elements alone can make the difference between exceptional team performance and performance that is just pretty good. But do you know how to use these elements?
How You Can Use Constructive Feedback
One way to look at constructive feedback is to call it constructive criticism, but using “feedback” instead of “criticism” automatically frames it in a more positive light. In order for the feedback to be as effective as possible, you must give it consistently, both when things go right and when they go wrong. Constructive feedback does not focus on a person; rather, it focuses on different, better or alternative ways to achieve a goal. You should welcome it from people at all levels, including interns and chief executive officers. Open communication means fewer barriers and more ideas.
When giving constructive feedback, focus on creating a two-way dialogue. For example, relating to a project where things went well, prompt the team with, “Our team did a good job, but how could we have done better?” and allow them to provide you with ideas for growth, learning and stretch goals. Then, use constructive feedback to make sure the team is headed in the right direction on future challenges of the same nature. Even when things go well, your constructive feedback is the difference between just getting the job done and exceeding all expectations.
How You Can Use Praise
Praise is a key internal motivator that ties employees more to your team. It helps them feel like they belong, like they are part of a greater whole. Praise seems like it would be easier to carry out than constructive feedback, but that is often not the case. The line between praise and flattery can be blurry, and so can the line between praise and insincerity. How do you make someone feel like you are praising him or her for a good reason rather than just doing it for decency’s sake? Keep a few elements in mind as you prepare to deliver praise: fairness, appreciation, importance and a personal touch. In addition, as you praise team members, keep cultural differences in mind. It’s a good strategy to praise a person in the way that is most effective for him or her.
Praise is a missed opportunity for many team leaders. For example, only 51 percent of workers are satisfied with the recognition they get, according to Sirota Consulting. Do you want to take your team to new heights? Check out this video on praise and recognition; your praise gears may be flowing soon!