Praise is Not Positive Feedback

Some managers are good at praise. They enjoy it and have a good team who earns it. Which is why it sometimes pains me to tell them that praise is not positive feedback, so they need to change.

Saying something like "great job" is praise. It makes the person feel good and valued. Which are admirable things - something more managers should try to do.

However, feedback's primary purpose is to ensure excellent behavior in the future, not simply to praise (the praise is an extra benefit).

Which means the positive feedback has to include the key elements: Behavior, impact and conclusion (praise in this case).

Which do you think helps future performance more and provides praise: A or B?

A. Great job on the board presentation.

B. Your presentation to the board today was persuasive with plenty of relevant data and a solid direction to move forward. The board was impressed and can see how much of a benefit our department can be. Great job.

While A would be nice to hear, the listener doesn't know what was great about it and what to do more of next time. B not only offers the praise, but gives the listener clear specifics of what was done well and its impact.