The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio – Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman – Harvard Business Review

(c) caro wallis

Interesting study cited in this HBR article – the most successful teams have the highest positive to negative comment ratios.    The average for the highest performing teams was a startling (to me) 5.6 to 1 and for the lowest performing teams .36 to 1 (three negative comments for every one).

A worthy reminder that a little negative feedback goes a long way.  As the author reminds us:

“Negative feedback is important when we’re heading over a cliff to warn us that we’d really better stop doing something horrible or start doing something we’re not doing right away. But even the most well-intentioned criticism can rupture relationships and undermine self-confidence and initiative. It can change behavior, certainly, but it doesn’t cause people to put forth their best efforts.

Only positive feedback can motivate people to continue doing what they’re doing well, and do it with more vigor, determination, and creativity.”

They close by noting that, on the personal front, an analysis of couples who are likely to stay together proves almost the same optimal ratio of praise to criticism.

via The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio – Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman – Harvard Business Review.

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