We know it’s important to give positive feedback in response to a job well done. Simple recognition of effort can be a fantastic reward that provides continued motivation for future tasks. But sometimes it seems to get tedious to keep saying “great job” over and over, especially if you work with a large team.
Excellent work must always be recognized and differentiated as such. High performers are intrinsically motivated by doing excellent work and producing something that impresses others. When that credit is not given, over time they will redirect their effort and contributions towards work that does meet that need for high achievement.
It is true that this is an expectation that comes with the job—to get work done without error and within deadline. This work still deserves appreciation and recognition, albeit at a more moderate level. You don’t want to overstate the contribution, but you do want to acknowledge that the effort it took to complete the assignment is not being taken for granted.
Last but certainly not least—and in fact, most work will fall in this category—is work that delivers more than the minimum but is not quite out of this world. The goal here is to recognize that it is good work but you don’t want to muddle the feedback to sound like it could be one of the other two categories.
However you choose to say it, don’t skip it. Positive feedback makes us feel recognized and appreciated, it identifies what we have done right (and thus gives us a clue to what we should do more of), and it makes negative feedback and constructive criticism easier to accept and integrate.
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