Positive feedback is the framing of feedback in a way that is likely to be perceived as friendly and supportive. It may convey things that need to be changed but it avoids a negative critique of a person's performance. The following are common types of positive feedback.
Designing activities such as work assignments such that feedback will naturally result. For example, a teacher who asks students to design paper airplanes and measure how far they fly as part of a lesson about aerodynamics. The students will get feedback about their performance from how well paper airplanes perform independently of communication or evaluation.
Providing information about the results of a person's work or performance. For example, telling a software developer how a fix they implemented resulted in an uptick in customer satisfaction ratings. Knowledge of performance is information about a person's performance that is independent of results. For example, a coach who points out that a goalie was in the correct position and handled a play well after they let narrowly let in a goal.
Pointing out positive aspects of things that may not be obvious. For example, a sales manager who points out that a salesperson has superior performance in answering customer technical questions after they perform poorly in negotiations and closing. This type of observation can lead to useful strategies such as pairing a good negotiator with a salesperson with a solid technical understanding of products.
Suggesting a different approach without being negative about a person's performance. This can begin in a compliment or simply focus on the facts without exploring the negative. For example, a teacher who tells a student that their paper airplane may not have enough surface area in the wings to provide lift.Nudges are subtle messages designed to influence. This can include non-verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expressions and body language. For example, a slight inquisitive tilt of the head might be used to indicate you don't understand what a person is communicating.
Saving face is the practice of helping someone to avoid embarrassment after a failure. For example, "it's ok, there's plenty of time to fix it."
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