The Power of Positive Feedback: How to Give and Receive Feedback For Better Performance Management

Team IIBP Anveshan, Business Psychology, Employee Engagement, Employee Health, Employee wellbeing, General Psychology, Issue 36, Occupational Health, Organizational Culture, Organizational Development, Team Effectiveness, Training and Development, Volume 4

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice — constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

Elon Musk, CEO SpaceX, Tesla (2015)

A positive feedback loop is a self-reinforcing pattern of behaviour in which the outcome strengthens the initial act and encourages one to indulge in similar behaviour afterwards. From the meaning itself, one can understand that any organisation’s performance management system must include positive feedback as it gives people insightful information about their areas of strength and growth, allowing them to advance personally and professionally.

However, the manner in which feedback is given can significantly affect how effective it is. Positive feedback substantially impacts employee performance through inspiring, motivating, and enhancing it as it reiterates the good behaviours, actions, and results demonstrated by a person or group. A Gallup survey indicated in contrast to the 31% of employees whose managers focused on their weaknesses, 67% of employees whose managers focused on their strengths were engaged in their work (Porath, 2017). Similarly, a survey conducted on 7,631 managers by the Harvard Business Review found that a leader’s comfort level and willingness to offer encouragement significantly impacted the person’s perceptions of their effectiveness in providing feedback (Zenger & Folkman, 2017).

During performance management leaders can offer positive feedback that motivates development and promotes a climate of ongoing learning. Similarly, those who accept criticism with an open mind and use it to spur personal growth can hasten their professional and personal development.

Giving Feedback

There are various strategies leaders can adapt to increase the impact and effectiveness of giving positive feedback. First would be to try empathising with the person receiving the comments and comprehend any possible emotions they may be experiencing. Feedback’s delivery and tone are frequently more crucial than the message itself (Porath, 2017). Second, to provide specific and focused feedback instantly to enable the recipient to relate it to their current performance. Third, offer concrete advice and resources to aid the recipient in their development while making suggestions for change that may be put into practice.

Receiving Feedback

It is just as vital to get positive feedback as it is to give it. Although in a study by Koskiniemi and Perttula, 2014, it was observed that receiving positive feedback benefits team leaders conditionally. Only if the team leader trusts the feedback provider or if the feedback is perceived to be honestly earned can a positive effect be realised. Furthermore, mental

closeness with both bosses and co-workers increases the perceived reliability of favourable comments received. Thus, strategies to receive feedback effectively would focus on approaching the suggestions with an open mind by being open to other opinions and points of view. It can be attained through active listening to better grasp the feedback, clarify any unclear aspects and ask for particular examples.

To conclude, effective feedback is a critical managerial skill. Positive feedback, when offered and received constructively, has the potential to propel individual and organisational improvement. Organizations may foster a culture of growth, collaboration, and high performance by accepting feedback as a valued tool.


Koskiniemi, A., & Perttula, J. (2014). Team Leaders’experiences With Receiving Positive Feedback. Tiltai, 62(1), 59-74.

Porath, C. (2017, April 21). Give Your Team More-Effective Positive Feedback. Harvard Business Review.

Schwantes, M. (2021, January 5). Elon Musk Shows How to Be a Great Leader With What He Calls His “Single Best Piece of Advice.” schwantes/elon-musk-shows-how-to-be-a-great-leader-with-what-he-calls-his-single-best-piece-of-advice.html

Zenger, J. (2017, July 5). The Vital Role Of Positive Feedback As A Leadership Strength. Forbes.

Zenger, J., Folkman, J (2017, August 30). Why Do So Many Managers Avoid Giving Praise? Harvard Business Review.

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