BusinessBrief.com » Getting results by praising — and criticizing

Getting results by praising — and criticizing

March 4, 2013 by Jim Giuliano
Posted in: communication, Human Resources, In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views


Traditional thinking says managers should praise the veteran employee’s work and focus on correcting the new hire’s mistakes. But studies show that approach doesn’t quite hit the mark.

According to new research:

• Positive feedback — praise — helps motivate newcomers to stick to a difficult task, and

• Criticism helps people who are already established in their field improve by motivating them to focus on areas where they could be doing better.

In fact, participants in the study who were experts preferred to get negative feedback. Hearing “You’re doing great” over and over didn’t offer them any info on how they could do their jobs better.

Balance is key

Obviously you’re not going to tell an employee who’s making mistakes that everything is OK. And there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging a long-time employee’s successes.

But this study shows it’s important to give both good and bad news to every employee.

Remember to:

• Provide context with criticism. Tell the employee how to improve and what positive difference it can make, and

• Give due praise. Keep newer employees motivated by showing them how small victories are leading to better overall skills.

For more on the study, go here.

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