High performing teams give two kinds of feedback:
Both kinds are important, but the research has consistently found that on high performing teams, positive feedback outweighs constructive feedback.
An analysis of business teams found that the ratio of positive to negative feedback was strongly correlated with team performance. A separate study on the success rate of marriages found similar ratios for couples were the leading factor in success.
|Group||Positive:Negative feedback ratio|
|High performance teams||5.60:1|
|Medium performance teams||1.90:1|
|Low performance teams||0.36:1|
|Couples that remain married||5.00:1|
|Couples that divorced||0.77:1|
Negative feedback should be reserved for changes that need to happen right away. A small amount goes a long way. Negative feedback can prevent a popular opinion from squashing diverse ones and reduce complacency. It also helps leaders overcome serious weaknesses. When overused, constructive feedback can have a variety of negative side-effects:
Positive feedback encourages people. It can:
People typical perform well in some areas. Positive feedback encourages them to continue. High performers who don’t have serious weaknesses to overcome are more motivated to improve by Positive feedback.
|The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio||Harvard Business Review|
|The Role of Positivity and Connectivity in the Performance of Business Teams||Marcial Losada & Emily Heaphy|
|What Predicts Divorce?: The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes||John Gottman|