Performance feedback: Not all praise is equal

Performance feedback: Not all praise is equal in business and parenting

Beware not all praise, or development feedback conversations are created equal…!

In work or parenting situation be aware – sometimes praise of an individual can set them back.

Research done on performance feedback by Carol Dweck Ph.D and Claudi Mueller Ph.D, of Columbia University, in the late 1990’s found some startling results. In six studies of over 400 fifth-graders they discovered that praise of children’s intelligence after good performance often backfired by making them highly performance-oriented, afraid to try difficult tasks and vulnerable to setbacks. Children who were praised for their intelligence after their successes later blamed poor performances on their own lack of intelligence.

Children, however, praised for their efforts concentrated better and tried harder. The children praised for their effort and hard work, when they did perform poorly, blamed their poor effort for their lack of success. They also demonstrated clear determination to try harder and discover new strategies that would help them in future performances.

They observed that children who were praised for their intelligence performance feedback conversations, when successful, learned to believe that intelligence is an inherent trait that cannot be developed or improved. Those praised for their effort understood this was something they could control and tended to try harder.

When praising children or adults – praising their looks or intelligence can lead to insecurity and failure, as these are areas they have little control over. Praising effort and attention to detail can have great rewards as this is an area they can control. Whether dealing with adults or children, none of want to be told what to do. We all want a choice and to involved in the process.

difficult conversations at work Performance feedback

Create One Clear Message in your performance feedback to ensure engagement and increased performance.

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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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