Give mostly positive feedback

🌱March 15, 2021.
evergreen 🌲
1 minute read ⏱

High performing teams give two kinds of feedback:

  1. Feedback on what is going well and should continue
  2. Feedback on what needs to be improved

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

Using negative feedback effectively

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:

  • Reduce self-confidence
  • Lower motivation
  • Harm relationships

Using positive feedback effectively

Positive feedback encourages people. It can:

  • Increase confidence
  • Raise motivation and morale
  • Improve creativity

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.