Giving and receiving positive feedback

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. 


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Submitted by vsanchez75 on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 02:32


When you have been working in a company or you have a lot experience, you know what is the focus of the feedback and in my opinion it is not work, I think the companies have to find another ways to give a feedback.





Submitted by hamii on Fri, 23/02/2024 - 07:03


From my perspective, giving motivating feedback is really a hard thing to deal with because I have trouble in express my thoughts and my feelings. Therefore, I just give positive feedback with all of my my sincerity. 

Submitted by tunalee on Fri, 15/12/2023 - 16:25


I would like to ask you how to respond to a positive compliment in a conversation. Could you please help me to choose an appropriate answer with an explanation? Thanks a lot!

Tom: You're a great dancer. I wish I could do half as well as you.
Mary: __________I'm an awful dancer!

A. That's a nice compliment!
B. You've got to be kidding!
C. You're too kind.
D. Oh, thank you very much.

Submitted by jmajo on Tue, 05/12/2023 - 14:22


Well, although it’s important to tell someone when it’s wrong and how could do things better I think It’s really important as well to tell that person when it’s doing the right thing and ecourage to continue enhance the performance of their roll in a team in order to achive the goals.

Thanks for the lesson.
Great site.

Submitted by Vitaliy128 on Wed, 01/11/2023 - 07:47


As for me, giving motivating feedback should depend on the type of person because all people are different, and some like to be appreciated during informal gatherings while others would prefer to get praise in a personal meeting without other employees.

Submitted by betelf on Wed, 25/10/2023 - 18:17


I think sometimes we can be lazy or underestimate the impact of positive feedback, so it's good to empathize and be more expressive about positive things. This will be better for both individuals.

Submitted by chpsueey on Sat, 07/10/2023 - 14:13


In general, when giving positive or negative feedback to another person, try to be honest and serious and speak from your heart. Maybe you remember some situations where you were given feedback and how it felt. When I think of my own memories, it motivated me acknowledging true feedback, meant to help you grow and/or being proud of yourself. If you trust the person who gives you negative feedback and see their genuin intent, it really is your chance to grow. So if your colleagues, friends or family trust you and see your sincere intentions, they will respect you and value your feedback and your opinion; and they may give it back.

Submitted by Artyev on Wed, 24/05/2023 - 12:26


As for me, if person try something new, we should encourage and motivate him in it, because he can open for himself new talents. But we shoudn`t overuse positive feedback, sometimes, it`s necessary to say adequately critic. Person won`t take offence, if he doesn`t behave like kid.

Submitted by Elenahoms22 on Fri, 24/02/2023 - 20:40


I think that a positive and negative feedback it's always good because when is a negative feedback helps you to be better every day and do not make the same mistake 2 or 3 times and when is a positive feedback makes you feel great