Balancing Performance Feedback with Praise and Recognition

Beth Miller |

I recently had the opportunity to present to the Atlanta SHRM conference on managing the multi-generational workforce. The audience was at capacity and the attendees were actively participating. Overall many great ideas were exchange amongst the participants.

When I checked my twitter account after the session, I found one not so happy attendee who decided to voice his opinions via twitter. The beauty of Twitter and other social media is that you can immediately and quickly interact with others and disengage when ever you want.

After a number of exchanges back and forth the tweets stopped and it got me thinking about whether this individual’s messaging is the same face to face or was it just a persona to gain more attention in the very crowded world of social media. And the question I would have for him is “if his interpersonal interactions mirror his social media interactions then how is that working for him in the real world of business?

I would hope for his sake that he tones down the rhetoric when it comes to relationships at work. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to get feedback from others.  I always look at feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally. Yet when feedback is only negative and continuous, it is only part of being human for one to protect their own ego.

So when you are giving feedback how do you strike the balance between the need to improve skills and behaviors versus praise and recognition? Is the balance between these effective for all those you lead?

A quick way to assess this balance is as follows.  Choose two individuals on your team, one who requires more feedback and one who receives a lot of praise and recognition. Over a two week period of time track the amount of times you interface with each direct report and whether there was feedback, recognition and/or praise, or both. Assign a minus for feedback, a positive for praise/recognition for each encounter, whether in person, by phone, or electronically.

This comparison of an individual who is performing to expectations versus one who may not consistently perform to expectations will provide you with a general idea of the balance you intuitively use as a leader.

The next step would be to determine if you need to make adjustments to either scenario.  Ask yourself these two questions:

▪   How can I push my high performer to greater success and performance?  What feedback can I be giving him or her?

▪   What recognition can I provide the weaker performer that can help to motive them to continue to strive for improvement?

Once you have the answers to these questions, then put them into effect and measure your improvement in this area.  What feedback and praise would you give yourself? And finally, ask those you are leading for their feedback as well.

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Beth Miller

Beth Miller

Beth Armknecht Miller’s passion for learning, and dedication to helping others, are strands woven throughout her distinguished career, which continue to guide her work with Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. As a trusted executive consultant, Vistage Chair, and committed volunteer, Beth holds herself to a rigorous standard of excellence, and she encourages her clients to do the same when pursuing their goals.

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