Build High Performance Teams with Recognition, Not Feedback

Mar 24 • Management and Leadership, Morry Morgan Blog • 5061 Views • No Comments on Build High Performance Teams with Recognition, Not Feedback

Source: Michael W Murphy @ Flickr

BUILDING A HIGH PERFORMANCE TEAM may not be as hard as you think. All it takes is a little positivity. Five-point-six bits of positivity, to be precise.

This was the conclusion drawn from academics Emily Heaphy and consultant Marcial Losada, who examined the effectiveness of 60 strategic-business-unit leadership teams at a large information-processing company. Each of the teams were measured by financial performance, customer satisfaction ratings, and a 360 degree feedback report from the team members themselves. What was deemed the most important factor to the effectiveness of the teams was the ratio of positive to negative comments – 5.6 to 1, for high performance teams.

Those teams that scored in the mid range had a positive to negative ratio of 1.9 to 1, and those teams that performed the worst only heard positive comments 0.36 to 1. Or in other words, their boss gave negative feedback three times more often than positive in the workplace. Clearly a horrible boss.

But perhaps part of the problem can be placed on the word ‘feedback’ itself. Just as the words ‘problem’ and ‘challenge’ are synonyms, but hold negative and positive connotations, respectively, so too do the words ‘feedback’ and ‘recognition’. One manager, working in a manufacturing plant in southern China was shocked and confused when her best performing employee quit. A lack of feedback, said the employee, was the reason he had decided to leave, which further confused his boss. “Why would I give him feedback?” she complained. “He never did anything wrong!” Feedback, to many, is a dirty word.

And if this is the case, that ‘feedback sessions’ inspire more dread than delight, then we should learn from social media. The abundance of ‘like’, ‘share’, and ‘retweet’ buttons, to recognise one another and show our support, should not be limited to the online world alone. Praise, in offline format, should be encouraged, and this could start with the rewording of your company’s HR manual. Find and replace the word ‘feedback’ with ‘recognition’ today.

Learn more about ClarkMorgan’s ‘Recognition and Feedback Programs’, by giving us a call.


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