Positive feedback is one of the easiest and most effective management tools available to all of us. But, it’s also one of the most overlooked because it’s hard to measure the effects and perhaps is not the natural style of many leaders.
It’s so easy to get caught up in KPIs and the busyness of running a practice that we can forget that “whatever we focus on grows”, and if you want a positive, productive workplace, you need to put effort into focusing on the good and making people feel good about themselves.
Luckily, practice makes perfect.
Giving positive feedback can be as simple as giving people credit for what they do well, or even just telling them you appreciate how they helped you today – anything that makes them feel good about themselves.
However, if you are serious about transforming your practice, there are four main aspects to consider when looking at why (and how) positive feedback should be your secret weapon.
What is the Impact of Positive Feedback?
Positive feedback makes people feel good about themselves, and in turn, they are able to perform better at tasks and are more likely to persevere when faced with a challenge. This can trigger a positive cycle where increased confidence leads to increased motivation and ongoing raised productivity.
Studies have shown that the higher a person’s confidence, the more likely they are to perform well in their role. As a manager, you want your employees to perform at an optimal level, and positive feedback is one of those things that can help make it happen, so why not give it some focus?
Here’s how positive feedback can improve your practice:
It Promotes Growth
Contrary to what you might think, positive feedback is the best way to help someone get better (it’s much more effective than criticism). So, the more positive feedback you give, the faster and better your team members will grow.
It Builds a Culture of Trust
Positive feedback delivered correctly builds a culture of trust where everyone is invested in helping each other improve.
It Improves Productivity
It’s not just about making others feel better; there are also productivity and performance gains to consider. High performers in a business offer more positive feedback to their peers, and high-performing teams offer close to six times more positive feedback than teams that perform averagely.
It Changes Perspectives
Sustained positivity that’s both practical and useful can help people shift into a “can do” mentality, where they are motivated to keep getting better and encourage others to get better too.
It Provides Guidance
Praising positive attributes and performance helps employees know what work and effort you appreciate. If you give five people a task to do, they’ll probably all approach it in a different way. Positive feedback provides guidance as it lets your team know what you value most about a specific approach.
It Encourages High Standards
By creating an environment where giving and receiving feedback is encouraged, each team member is better equipped to maintain the quality of work that is expected.
It Improves Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
By highlighting a staff member’s strengths, you can generate motivation and a sense of accomplishment. Consider that in one study, 67% of employees who received positive feedback were fully engaged, compared to 31% of employees who only received negative feedback.
Engagement is almost three times higher among employees who receive recognition compared to those who do not, they’re happier, and they’re also significantly less likely to resign.
It is Cost-effective
There are many direct benefits of positive feedback, and they all add up to significant cost savings because:
- Positive feedback is free; no expensive training or incentives needed.
- It increases productivity, which translates to a healthier bottom line.
- It reduces employee attrition, saving you the time and expense of hiring and onboarding new employees.
How Should You Give Positive Feedback?
There is no template for giving positive feedback, and it’s best to be spontaneous and genuine in your delivery. However, there are a few tips that will help ensure that your feedback is well-received:
Make It Timely
Feedback should always be delivered while the memory of the event is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Don’t save it for their annual performance review.
Your team member needs to know exactly what they got right. It’s not enough to simply say ‘good job’. A better approach is the ‘what/why approach’ as it allows you to give direct, to-the-point feedback. Describe the situation, what they did specifically that impressed you (it could be an action or a behaviour), and why you appreciated it (how what they did was effective).
This gives your employee the information they need from a third-party perspective because they can’t necessarily see it for themselves.
Link to Results
If their actions have had a measurable result, tie that into the feedback.
Consider the Setting
In general, it is appropriate to give positive feedback in front of others. This has the added benefit of communicating to others how you like a certain task to be done. But, consider the individual and whether they would appreciate a private setting.
How Can You Get Started with Positive Feedback?
If positive feedback hasn’t been your strong suit, here’s how you can make the transition:
- Ease in slowly.
- Save it for meaningful actions or behaviours.
- Make a list of team members’ strengths, so you can acknowledge them when appropriate.
- Consider how you deliver the feedback; it can be more important than the message itself. For instance, make sure your feedback is genuine and avoid using a condescending tone.
- Don’t save it for their performance review, you might forget to give the feedback, and they might have forgotten the event in question.
- Ask for feedback from your team, because there’s always room to improve!
Who Should You Be Giving Positive Feedback to?
Giving your therapy team positive feedback was probably the first thought that popped into your head on the topic of improving productivity and engagement. It’s an excellent place to start as a unified team will offer your clients better service, as well as making for a happier work environment. Discuss client feedback, client outcomes (where appropriate), or even your appreciation on hours they’re covering.
Your admin team is the backbone of your practice and a smooth running practice has a positive knock-on effect for everyone. There are so many opportunities to give feedback to your admin staff, from showing your appreciation for how they welcome clients, to on-time, up-to-date error-free billing, or keeping the waiting area clean and inviting.
Any health care practice, whether yours is small or large, has a number of stakeholders that go beyond the healthcare practitioners and admin team that you employ.
Think about the people and businesses that support your practice, from your bookkeeper to the cleaning team and suppliers that you rely on because receiving positive feedback is motivating, whoever you are.
With so many powerful impacts of sharing positive feedback, it’s the one productivity-boosting strategy that you can’t afford to ignore. Positive feedback goes way beyond the individual, and leads to improvements throughout the practice as team members feel valued and connected.
It’s one of the best ways to motivate your employees and partners, and once you start putting it into practice, you’ll reap rewards in all areas of your practice.