When to Give Positive Feedback

Charlie was coaching the operators, I was coaching Charlie. Actually, I was training Charlie. Our first subject was Sonja.

“Good morning, Sonja,” I took the lead. “You completed the training for our real-time data entry screens and then we threw you back on-line with real customers. I don’t know if that is fair, so today, we have you off-line for an hour. We will do the same work, but the customer won’t be real. In fact, I am going to be your customer, so if you need to stop and slow down, all you have to do is smile and we will slow down.

“Since, I am the customer, Charlie will be your coach. Every time Charlie sees something he really likes, he is going to stop you and tell you about the element you did well. Ready?” Sonja smiled.

“You smiled,” I said. “So, let’s take it slow. You have your phone script, let’s start at the top.”

Sonja started through the script. Twenty seconds in, I stopped her.

“Charlie, we just finished the first few seconds of the call. What were the elements that Sonja did well?” Charlie stared at me, intently. Though I had briefed him before we got started, he was still focusing on mistakes. In the first twenty seconds, Sonja had made no mistakes, so Charlie didn’t know what to say.

“Charlie, in the first few seconds, did Sonja stick exactly to the script?” Charlie nodded. “Then, tell Sonja what positive element she accomplished by sticking to the script.”

So, Charlie talked about consistency. And we went on, stopping every few seconds, so Charlie could make a positive comment about Sonja’s performance. The first call took 15 minutes. The second call took 12 minutes. The third took 8 minutes. The fourth took 7. Then 6 minutes. The last two calls hit our target at 4 minutes, and then we had coffee.

2 thoughts on “When to Give Positive Feedback

  1. Michael Cardus

    focusing on what you want and reinforcing the desired results, even when just a little better is tough. While managers and consultants all talk about it, when it comes time for practice, we feel lost.
    Even when the goals are being hit and we use positive statements, we still feel we have to point out the broken bits.
    Thank you Tom for this post.

    1. Tom Foster

      Mike, Good to hear from you again. More than seeing the glass half full or seeing the silver lining, it’s identifying a behavior to create a platform on which to build. Thanks for jumping in to the conversation. -TF

      -Tom Foster tfoster@fosterlearning.org

      *Hiring Talent, Decoding Levels of Work in the Behavioral Interview* Now available in softcoveror download to Kindle .

      Management Journal – http://www.managementblog.org *Foster Learning Corporation* PO Box 5099 Lighthouse Point FL 33074 Phone: 954-605-2776


Leave a Reply to Tom Foster Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.