When one of your reports – or a line manager’s reports – does something good, just give them a hearty “attagirl.” Right?

Not necessarily. If you want people to understand why what they did was so good, and give them every reason to do it again, you need to plan your feedback a little more carefully.

5 steps
Here are five steps for giving the most effective positive feedback:

  • Precisely state the standard or desired behavior you’ll be discussing. Example: “As you know, you’re supposed to complete two major projects per month.”
  • Describe the employee’s actual behavior in relation to the standard. “I noticed that you’ve completed six projects over the last two months.”
  • Explain why this is important behavior and how it affects the team or department goal. “As a result of your going the extra mile, our department has been able to exceed its performance goal for the year. That reflects well on all of us.”
  • Ask the employee to repeat the behavior. “I don’t expect you to complete three projects every month, but please keep working just as hard and smart.”
  • Thank the person for their contribution. “I’m grateful for what you’ve done. Thank you.”


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