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Motivating people with positive feedback

Deliver positive feedback in a way that will motivate your team members, using PRAISE.

Watch the video lesson here


It’s surprisingly easy to get positive feedback wrong. Even more surprising to learn: motivational feedback is far more complex than “Good job, Lucy.” Did you know that excessive positive feedback is just as bad as no feedback at all?


Even worse, in team environments, undeserved positive feedback is demoralising to other team members. If that’s made you want to run for the hills and never say a kind word again, here’s what to do instead.


The praise approach

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You may also want to consider whether to deliver the feedback in public or in private. Public praise is powerful, but if you’re praising everyone in public all the time, it just isn’t as effective.


So, how do you decide? Behaviours that align with your organisational culture should be recognised publicly to help set the example. Other positive behaviours are good candidates for private recognition.


Let's consider an example. Lucy is a new member of the customer success team and has noticed that the team creates a new onboarding document every time they get a new customer. Each member of the team has their own flavour and style of onboarding, and they spend a few hours creating the content for each new customer.


One day Lucy approached her team lead, Craig, and showed him a template document she created that could be shared and easily re-used by the whole team. She’d reviewed what each team member was doing, and incorporated content from each team member’s document into the template.


Here’s how Craig could use the acronym PRAISE to deliver feedback that is more motivating than “Good job, Lucy”.

P - Positive

Highlight the positive contribution someone has made. Praise is a powerful motivator, so use it to build a healthy relationship.


“Lucy, what you have done here is wonderful.”


R - Relevant

Helping someone to see how their work impacts others positively is another strong motivator. Sharing thanks, and relating good work back to end-users or customers is ideal.


“This will save our customer success team a lot of time and effort, and ensure our customer messaging is consistent.”


A - Appreciative

Be thankful. It’s that simple.


“I appreciate the thought you put into this and the way you combined something from everyone into the document. Thank you!”


I - Immediate

The longer the gap between the positive behaviour and your reaction, the less motivating it is, and the less likely it is to result in learning. Immediate praise is the most effective. Even if you’re super busy, try to respond on the same day.


S - Strategic

Focus on praising the behaviours and traits you want to grow. This also feeds a person’s need for competence by nudging them in the right direction.


“Doing things that make other people’s lives easier is really valuable. Especially if it saves us from duplicating effort on activities we need to perform all the time.”


E - Effort focused

Always praise a specific effort; compliment a behaviour and not the person. The more generic the compliment the less we take it to heart, so specific praise is more meaningful.


“The template you created for onboarding new customers is really useful.”


We hope you find the PRAISE approach to motivating people with positive feedback useful!