American president, Thomas Jefferson, once said “the glow of one warm thought is worth more to me than money.” Reinforcing feedback produces a powerful afterglow that raises the positivity ratio, energizes and inspires, and provides the pause that refreshes.
This is the perfect time of year for you and your team to reflect back looking for strengths to reinforce and accomplishments to celebrate. This can be an important part of anchoring your culture in strengths.
Recognition and celebration are among the most inexpensive, easy‑to‑use motivational techniques available to leaders. Yet the degree to which this energizing and engagement tool is underused by leaders is bewildering. In developing our new workshop, Elevating Feedback (also part of The Extraordinary Coach system), Zenger Folkman’s research uncovered these results:
The very sad left side of this picture explains why the positivity ratio in many teams and organizations is way below “the ideal praise to criticism ratio” of 5.6 to one. It might also explain why leaders are so reluctant to give redirecting feedback. It’s hard to make withdrawals from a negative “relationship bank account.”
University of Michigan Business School’s study of team performance correlated to the frequency of praise and criticism found “The best-performing teams used about six times as many positive comments for every negative one. It found that the worst performing teams, on average, used three negative comments for every positive one.”
Since leaders in ZF’s study are very keen to receive redirecting feedback they clearly need to be directed to give more reinforcing feedback! What’s your feedback ratio? Are you creating a warm afterglow or a frosty trail of negativity?