You’ve Been Doing a Fantastic Job. Just One Thing …

The New York Times:

MOST of us think we know how to give feedback. Positive comments are better — and more useful — than negative ones. And if you do have to point out something wrong, start with a compliment, move on to the problem, then end on a high note.

It turns out that it’s not that simple. Those who have studied the issue have found that negative feedback isn’t always bad and positive feedback isn’t always good. Too often, they say, we forget the purpose of feedback — it’s not to make people feel better, it’s to help them do better.

Research bears that out. In a class she teaches, Ayelet Fishbach, a professor of behavioral science and marketing at the University of Chicago and co-author of the paper “Tell Me What I Did Wrong,” conducts a simulation where half the class gives one-on-one feedback to the other half. Although the feedback givers were supposed to indicate that performance was unsatisfactory, that improvement was needed and to offer ways to do better, in surveys filled out later, the half getting the feedback “thinks they’re doing great,” she said.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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