TIPS FOR GIVING POSITIVE FEEDBACK
HOW TO WRITE POSITIVE FEEDBACK
HOW TO FEEDBACK RELATED TOPICS
NEGATIVE FEEDBACK VS POSITIVE FEEDBACK METHODS
FEEDBACK METHODS RELATED TOPICS
BACK TO TOP
a. the process of returning part of the output of a circuit, system, or device to the
input, either to oppose the input (negative feedback) or to aid the input (positive
b. acoustic feedback.
2. the furnishing of data concerning the operation or output of a machine to an automatic
control device or to the machine itself, so that subsequent or ongoing operations of the
machine can be altered or corrected.
3. a reaction or response to a particular process or activity: He got very little feedback
from his speech.
4. evaluative information derived from such a reaction or response: to study the feedback
from an audience survey.
5. Psychology . knowledge of the results of any behavior, considered as influencing or
modifying further performance. Compare biofeedback.
Feedback is a process in which information about the past or the present influences
the same phenomenon in the present or future. As part of a chain of cause-and-effect
that forms a circuit or loop, the event is said to "feed back" into itself.
Ramaprasad (1983) defines feedback generally as "information about the gap between
the actual level and the reference level of a system parameter which is used to
alter the gap in some way", emphasising that the information by itself is not
feedback unless translated into action.
Feedback is also a synonym for:
Feedback signal - the measurement of the actual level of the parameter of interest.
Feedback mechanism - the action or means used to subsequently modify the gap.
Feedback loop - the complete causal path that leads from the initial detection of
the gap to the subsequent modification of the gap.
Types of feedback
Feedback is commonly divided into two types - usually termed positive and negative.
The terms can be applied in two contexts:
1.the context of the gap between reference and actual values of a parameter, based
on whether the gap is widening (positive) or narrowing (negative).
2.the context of the action or effect that alters the gap, based on whether it involves
reward (positive) or non-reward/punishment (negative).
The two contexts may cause confusion, such as when an incentive (reward) is used to boost poor
performance (narrow a gap). Referring to context 1, some authors use alternative terms,
replacing 'positive/negative' with self-reinforcing/self-correcting, reinforcing/balancing,
discrepancy-enhancing/discrepancy-reducing or regenerative/degenerative respectively.
And within context 2, some authors advocate describing the action or effect as positive/negative
reinforcement rather than feedback. Yet even within a single context an example of feedback can
be called either positive or negative, depending on how values are measured or referenced. This
confusion may arise because feedback can be used for either informational or motivational purposes,
and often has both a qualitative and a quantitative component. As Connellan and Zemke (1993) put it:
"Quantitative feedback tells us how much and how many. Qualitative feedback tells us how good, bad
The terms "positive/negative" were first applied to feedback prior to WWII. The idea of positive
feedback was already current in the 1920s with the introduction of the regenerative circuit. Friis
and Jensen (1924) described regeneration in a set of electronic amplifiers as a case where the
"feed-back" action is positive in contrast to negative feed-back action, which they mention only
in passing. Harold Stephen Black's classic 1934 paper first details the use of negative feedback
in electronic amplifiers. According to Black:
"Positive feed-back increases the gain of the amplifier, negative feed-back reduces it."
According to Mindell (2002) confusion in the terms arose shortly after this:
"...Friis and Jensen had made the same distinction Black used between 'positive feed-back' and
'negative feed-back', based not on the sign of the feedback itself but rather on its effect on
the amplifier’s gain. In contrast, Nyquist and Bode, when they built on Black’s work, referred
to negative feedback as that with the sign reversed. Black had trouble convincing others of
the utility of his invention in part because confusion existed over basic matters of definition."
Examples of feedback in government are:
As an organization seeks to improve its performance, feedback helps it to make required
adjustments. Feedback serves as motivation for many people in the work place. When one
receives either negative or positive feedback, they decide how they will apply it to his
or her job. Joseph Folkman says that to find the greatest level of success in an organization,
working with other people, a person should learn how to accept any kind of feedback, analyze
it in the most positive manner possible, and use it to further impact future decision making.
In common parlance the term "feedback" has come to serve as a euphemism for criticizing others,
as in "the boss gave me feedback on my presentation." This use of feedback is not what we mean
in system dynamics. Further, "positive feedback" does not mean "praise" and "negative feedback"
does not mean "criticism". Positive feedback denotes a self-reinforcing process, and negative
feedback denotes a self-correcting one. ... Telling someone your opinion does not constitute
feedback unless they act on your suggestions and thus lead you to revise your view.
Examples of feedback in organizations:
BACK TO TOP
Giving positive feedback is one of the more enjoyable tasks in the workplace. From the
most senior to most junior, regular appropriate praise can enhance job satisfaction and
But just saying 'thanks', 'well done', or 'great job' are throwaway insincerities that
can do more damage than good, so here are 7 tips for doing it well...
1. No Time Like Now
Feedback goes stale when left unsaid too long, so give positive feedback as close to the
event as possible.
2. In Public and In Private.
Praise in public, criticise in private, that’s the rule. But before you go singing a person’s
praises from the roof-tops, think about what they would prefer. Public praise of an extremely
shy person may cause an emotional response that overshadows your good intentions.
Do what’s right for the person.
3. Practice Makes Perfect.
It’s easy to overlook good work or extra effort, so make it a habit to praise regularly. Consider
setting up a formal reward and recognition scheme that everyone understands and can use.
4. Does the Reward Fit?
Keep the balloons and streamers for special occasions. Going over the top with rewards can be
mis-interpreted as “buying” favours. Judge the amount of effort and reward appropriately.
5. No Favourites!
Avoid creating “favourites” by doing quick mental tallies of whom you’ve praised recently.
6. Be Clear and Mean It.
The best positive feedback is sincere and specific. Tell the person exactly why you are praising them;
“Tony, that extra analysis was really appreciated by the project team and allowed them to make a decision
Tony now knows exactly what to do next time to get praise.
7. Catch People Doing Things Right
The more you catch people doing things right, the more right things they will do! Encourage positive actions
by letting people know when they do things well. Start today, and in only three weeks time, giving positive
feedback will be a life-long habit.
7 tips for giving positive feedback
BACK TO TOP
Positive feedback, also known as constructive feedback, is a great way to help your
employees feel appreciated when they do a good job. Also, it will reinforce their
desire to perform well, leading to a better work environment and greater productivity.
If given correctly, positive feedback can be especially useful when writing an employee
review or evaluation. The delivery of positive feedback should be prompt, encouraging
1. Respond promptly to employees when they do a good job. If you notice that they are
doing something well, don't wait more than a day to provide them with positive feedback.
In preparing for an employee review, jot down admirable behavior as you notice it so that
you can incorporate it into the final evaluation document.
2. Create a detailed outline of what you want to write in the evaluation. Include a
description of the difficulty your employee was faced with (if there was one), how he
responded and why his response was admirable. List specific benefits that resulted from
his good work. For example, perhaps he improved office morale, brought more money to the
company or averted a crisis.
3. Begin the document with a statement of appreciation that addresses what you intend to
talk about. In a personal memo you might say, "I can't tell you how much I appreciated all
of your excellent work today." If the document is more formal, you could write, "John's
hard work and dedication are true assets to our company."
4 .Specifically state what the employee did that was positive. For example, "Jane not only
handed in an excellent and detailed report but she met the deadline early." If she overcame
a difficult problem, be sure to include this in the description. For example, "We were
slammed with work, but Jane did an amazing job of keeping the store organized while assisting
customers. We had several customers tell us how helpful she was."
5. Explain how the employee's performance helped the company and why it was appreciated. For
example, "John's excellent idea has saved our department a great deal of time and reduced
stress. As a result, the office is more upbeat and cooperative."
6. Conclude with a statement that will reward the employee, if applicable. In a personal memo
you could write, "I admire your abilities and commitment." In an employee review, an appropriate
concluding statement could be, "I recommend that Jane be given continued employment and
advancement opportunities within our company."
Tips & Warnings
Balance your positive feedback by highlighting areas that need improvement and giving an action
plan to address these.
How to Write Positive Feedback
BACK TO TOP
How to Write Negative Feedback
Effective Ways to Give Performance Feedback
How to Write Job Evaluations for Feedback
How to Write Job Evaluations for Feedback
How to Give Constructive Feedback
How to Write a Critique Letter
How to Teach Peer Review in the Writing Classroom
How to Give Feedback
How to Give Positive Feedback on Employee Performance
BACK TO TOP
An important part of a manager's job is delivering feedback to employees. Feedback helps to
improve performance, ensure standards are met and communicate important business objectives.
Feedback is a form of ongoing training as it helps employees learn what it is they are
supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it. Feedback comes in two primary forms, both
of which can be helpful and productive. These forms are positive feedback and negative
Negative feedback is the process of pointing out what someone is doing poorly and telling him
how to change it. It also can involve telling a person that the attitude he is displaying is
inappropriate or that certain behaviors and habits are causing problems. A manager can deliver
negative feedback whether the employee's actions are intentional or not. A 2009 Gallup poll
found that employees receiving negative feedback were more than 20 times likely to be engaged
than those who received no feedback at all.
Positive feedback works on the premise of building on a person's strengths. It tells an employee
what he is doing well and praises him for good performance. The theory behind positive feedback
is that if you a tell a person what he is doing well, that person will likely repeat the behavior
to secure continued approval. Managers can give positive feedback in both a formal manner, such as
in a performance evaluation, or informally, such as a comment made during the workday that praises
work done. A 2009 Gallup poll found that employees receiving positive feedback were 30 times more
likely to feel engaged than those receiving no feedback at all.
Appropriate Times for Each
Most experts encourage managers to use positive feedback more often than negative feedback. Managers
who make a habit of dispensing positive feedback throughout the work week are likely to have more
motivated employees who perform with confidence and autonomy. However, negative feedback is a highly
effective tool for correcting problems or bad behaviors and attitudes. It is sometimes necessary to
point out when something is being done incorrectly to give the employee the opportunity to fix it.
When possible, give positive feedback in public and negative feedback in private.
The sandwich method of feedback suggests that managers sandwich negative comment between two pieces
of positive feedback. Using this method, a manager would begin a conversation by telling the employee
something that he is doing well or something that the manager appreciates about him. She then delivers
the negative feedback and follows it up with additional positive feedback, such as expressing confidence
in the employee's ability to change the source of the negative feedback. The drawback to habitual use of
the sandwich method is that employees start to treat positive feedback suspiciously because they are
waiting for the negative feedback that follows.
The Differences Between Negative Feedback & Positive Feedback Methods
BACK TO TOP
How to Deal With Negative Feedback at Work
How Can an Employee Respond to Negative Employer Feedback?
How Negative Feedback Affects Employees
The Advantages of Positive Feedback
How to Dispute Negative Feedback on eBay
How Do I Overcome Negative Customer Feedback?
BACK TO TOP
How To Give Positive Feedback
What is negative feedback?
What are positive feedbacks?
What is a "positive feedback" system?
BACK TO TOP