I read an article recently talking about one person’s experiment giving positive feedback about employees and how businesses just aren’t geared up to receive it. I can’t say I’m overly surprised as praise and positive feedback still seems to be a bolt-on action in many organisations – and poorly executed at that.
Recently, there’s been a plethora of articles about the neurological responses to praise and positive feedback on the brain but you don’t need a neuro-chemical assay to know that receiving positive feedback feels good!
Praise and appreciation, when it’s genuinely given and proportional to the task at hand, feels good. It’s encouraging, it’s affirming and it motivates you to do more.
As dog lovers, we intuitively know the value of praise. When Rover sits and waits patiently to eat the doggy-treat or brings back that soggy ball, we don’t chastise the dog. We say “Good boy!” or “Good Girl!”. We praise the behaviour that we want to encourage and despite the lack of a degree or a formal education, the dog gets it!
Parents know this as well: When their young child take their first tottering steps across the living room floor. What do parents say? “Keep your grubby hands off the wall!”
I don’t think so.
No. We say, “Good boy!” or “Good girl!” – “Well done!”
The child then responds with a toothy grin and that fires the mirror neurons in your own head, as you break out in your own (possibly toothy) grin, and, for a moment at least, the world is a better place.
Authentic appreciation and positive feedback motivates us. It feels good to give and great to receive.
If we intuitively know these things as dog lovers and parents, why do we leave them at home when we step through the office door on a Monday morning?
Whether at work, at home or out and about in the town, look for opportunities to thank people for their efforts. It doesn’t matter if that’s what they’re paid to do. You still know if it’s done well. If you experience great service or you see something has taken a lot of effort, recognise it and thank them for it.
Of course, it’s important that your feedback is genuine. People tend to know when you’re trying to blow smoke up them, so be alert for the opportunity but be proportionate and keep it real. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to someone’s motivation and engagement.
It might just make you smile more too.