Thursday, May 23, 2013

MOTIVATION Part 4: Provide Good Feedback

In Part 3, we made the case for establishing clear expectations as a critical strategy in creating a culture of motivation. Here we stress the importance of providing good feedback.

The best managers realize that their  job includes developing their direct  reports—this includes acting as mentor  and coach and providing timely and appropriate feedback. Here are some  suggestions that managers can use to  provide the level of feedback that will  keep their people not only motivated,  but also growing: 

Coach, don’t criticize. 
When you are  tempted to give feedback, examine your  motives. If feedback will not improve  the organization or the individual, don’t  give it. If it will facilitate performance or  career development, it is coaching and  not just criticism. 

Don’t give answers, ask questions. 
Asking good questions helps people  learn to problem solve and make good  decisions. It gives them the opportunity to discover answers for themselves,  which adds meaning to their work and  helps build skills. 

Praise first, then give suggestions. 
Offer five compliments for every constructive criticism, and don’t mix the  two in one conversation. 

Timing is everything. 
Make sure you  are providing feedback when it can  still be helpful. Feedback given after it  can be implemented is often seen as  criticism. 

Be specific. 
When you do give feedback, talk in specifics, not generalities.  Describe the impact the person’s behavior or decisions is having on the project  or others. Make constructive suggestions and offer help. 

Humanize it. 
When giving feedback,  take 15 minutes to think about the  individual. Consider her strengths and  weaknesses. Determine what two or  three actions the employee could take  to improve the project and contribute  to her own development. 

Be discreet. 

Always communicate  feedback in a private, nonthreatening  manner.

Links to other posts in this Motivation series

Part 1: Creating a Culture of Motivation
Part 2: Get Reacquainted with Staff
Part 3: Establish clear expectations
Part 4: Provide good feedback
Part 5: Reward openly and often, with more than money

For more information on creating a culture of motivation in your organization, please visit our website at or email us at

This is one of the motivation strategies from "Creating a Culture of Motivation" by Chris Musselwhite, originally published in T&D, a publication of The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). 

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