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Giving and receiving positive feedback

Read a magazine article about giving feedback at work to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.

Reading text

Your manager stops you and says she needs to have a word about your performance in the recent project. You worry about it all weekend, wondering what you might have done wrong. When you step into her office on Monday morning she begins by praising you for the good work you've done on the project, and you wonder if this is the obligatory praise that starts off the typical 'feedback sandwich'. You know how the feedback sandwich goes: say something nice, say what you really want to say, say something nice again.

In an attempt to inject some positivity into their feedback, many managers rely on sandwiching negative feedback between two positive comments. However, when feedback becomes such a routine, employees can start to perceive positive feedback as simply a form of sugarcoating the negatives, thus diminishing its value. Instead, positive feedback should not simply be seen as something to cushion the negative, but should be delivered so as to reinforce and encourage good performance. Below are three tips to help you make positive feedback count.

1. Don't always follow positive feedback with negative feedback

When positive and negative feedback always appear to go hand in hand, the positives can become devalued and ignored. Ensure there are times when positive feedback is given for its own sake and resist the temptation to offer constructive criticism.

2. Cultivate a 'growth mindset'

Psychologist and 'growth mindset' proponent Carol Dweck spoke of the plasticity of the brain and our ability to develop skills and talents that we might not have been good at to start with. Many of us tend to focus our praise on the end result and seemingly innate talents, e.g. 'You really have an eye for details' or 'You have a real talent for organising events'. However, research suggests that by focusing on the process of how things are done – praising effort, experimentation and problem-solving strategies – we can encourage the development of new skills and the continued honing of talents.

3. Create a culture of offering positive feedback

Make giving positive feedback part of your team/department/company culture. Don't just wait for special moments like appraisals to give feedback. Offer informal positive feedback when making small talk or when walking down a corridor. Feedback doesn't have to only come from the higher ranks either. Encourage peer feedback among team members and colleagues and actively ask them for positive comments on each other's performances on tasks. 

It might take time to counter the effects of an environment where there is a cynical view of positive feedback, but in the long run, by embracing positive feedback, you can not only enhance working performance but also enrich the quality of life in the workplace. 



Language level

Advanced: C1


On the whole, giving feedback of any kind may end up being a sorepoint if the message isn't delivered in an assertive manner. Even the most pleasing message might be misread and interpreted as if it had an ulterior motive if we do not draw the line between actual positivism and flattering , as well as a negative feedback may not have the impact that we would want, going from encouraging to the reflection to bring about some ort of stir ultimately aim of retaliation against our persona.
We want to be aware of the scope of the situation. The same way in which there's no harm in being direct and go straight to the point if we want the person to do a real change, a motivating message not always comes along with a positive message, a downer may sometimes be used as a tipping point in order for someone to change in a certain degree In terms of growth and progress both personal and professional.

Feedback is a touchy subject. It will be very stressful and cynical if there is too much negative feedback, but it will be illusive if there is too much positive feedback. Although, there's more positive feedback is obviously better than there's more negative feedback because they "can not only enhance working performance but also enrich the quality of life in the workplace". Who know how to deal with feedback is an artist, especially the feedback senders.
How to give good motivating feedback depends much on the sender's attitude and the way they react with receivers. The attitude should be truthful all the time. Sometimes, without words they just need to do a node or smile with truthful eyes towards the receivers to praise something good, that's a motivating signal. It's going to be a converse effect if the senders give motivating feedback with the wrong attitude that the receivers can think the senders are trolling them. The good motivating feedback is not always be positive feedback because no ones are always right, but the way the senders react when they detect errors from the receivers will decide kind of feedback. Keeping silence, moving to somewhere and doing something to neutralize their angry, they will have a word with ‘sinners' when they are thoughtful. With the truthfulness, they don't need to do anything like sugarcoating the negative feedback to the sinners, but talk straight with clear explanations, a 'how-to-fix' solution/help to, and a warning in case of failing/keep being wrong at last. That's motivational feedback as well. You can not just hear positive feedback all days, and then suddenly you are fired without any reason that is even worse than you have had got the negatives occasionally.
How about the receivers? It's not easy to receive negative feedback which can hurt them, but positive feedback also hurt them if they don't know that is a lie or a truth. Living in an illusive world sugarcoated by many lied positive feedback is also not very good at all. Living in a truthful, practical world is much better than an illusive one.
Anyway, in any case we should not be too cynical because the goods always win the bads. I think we should do as the conclusion in the reading text that is researched and will be good for all at last.

The article is written in an unbelievably pleasurable language. It gives comprehensive advice while supported by down to earth examples. Fantastic! )))