The delicate art of giving feedback
To be an effective manager, you need to be skilled at giving out both praise and criticism. While it is easy to praise, it is far more challenging and unpleasant to criticise your employees. Yet the practice of management requires you to occasionally show employees where they need to improve. Thus, it is vital for managers to learn how and when to give negative feedback.
The first thing to realise is that people generally respond more strongly to negative events than they do to positive ones. In other words, we are usually more upset about losing R1 000 than we are happy about winning R1 000. In fact, in his inf luential book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, Dr John Gottman suggested that positive interactions must outnumber negative interactions by at least 5 to 1 in order for a marriage to succeed.
This observation is also true in the workplace, as Professor Andrew Miner and his colleagues discovered in a study pub- lished in 2005 in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. They recorded employees’ moods several times a day, asking each time if any events (such as a positive interaction with a co-worker) had occurred within the past few hours.
Their results showed that employees reacted to a negative interaction with their boss six times more strongly than they reacted to a positive interaction with their boss. This suggests that negative feedback can have significant adverse effects on an