At some point, do you quit commenting on something you've already given multiple positive feedbacks on - even if it's really great?

I have a direct report that is an outstanding communicator. The detail in the her own contents, timeliness, wording in response to other's document or emails in tough situations, etc. is all better than any I've ever seen - better than me too! :lol: She's in documentation and it's critical to her job. She wants to stay doing what she's doing. I've given specific comments on things in specific situations. I've given her feedback on that it's something I see she does outstanding all of the time.

But she may respond to 3 to 4 things a week some weeks. I've been her manager for 4 months and really focused on feedback the last month. It feels funny to stop. On the other hand, does the repetition with nothing new to day seem odd to continue? I even thought about only picking one a month but that seemed arbitrary. The idea of saying nothing seems to be taking it for granted when it really is exceptional.

jhack's picture

You can give feedback on her reliability, her continued high performance, and how much you appreciate her professionalism.

Few people grow tired of hearing that they are doing things well.

Makes me wonder...Is there nothing new for her to strive for? Is she truly content where she is?


HMac's picture

Hey MsSunshine - maybe you're in a positive feedback rut! :lol: Challenge yourself to look for new things to praise.

MsSunshine's picture

You mean I have to work at this again! :lol:

Seriously, working harder at finding something new is probably the answer. What complicates it is her goals. She actually stepped back a few years from a higher level management position. She said she wanted to be an individual contributor and do technical work. She does step up and volunteer to help any time I ask for assistance but baulks at anything that would be more on-going. I'm working at how to delegate things to her. She is very busy just doing her technical work most of the time. She's interested in being involved in things but has baulked twice at driving something. She did do one cross-organization documentation initiative very well - which was a challenge since some other managers were against it and she had to win them over. But she said that was directly related to technical work she needed to get done. I tried to get her to figure out what we should do around usability which she had a great perspective on and makes many comments in the developers specs about. But she says she doesn't want to do something that big or away from her area.

So, I keep trying and giving her openings to take something on.

HMac's picture

She sounds like a great resource - good for you for developing her!

Here's a crazy idea - since she's technically oriented (and likely has good rapport with other technical people) - is your company doing enough sharing of information using online boards, social media, etc?

This could be an incredibly valuable project for somebody who's technically inclined, and it would be a way for her to contribute without being a traditional "leader."

Maybe she puts together a group using LinkedIn..maybe she organizes or reorganizes a posting system you already have...maybe she "leads" a focused discussion forum on that posting system...

There are so many new opportunities to increase productivity by harnessing the web...and you can "lead" the efforts in a very collaborative way, not the old command and control model...-Hugh

mgingras's picture

[quote="MsSunshine"]...At some point, do you quit commenting on something you've already given multiple positive feedbacks on - even if it's really great...[/quote]

Feedback and praise are different. It sounds like you can (very) safely shift from giving feedback to giving praise.

AManagerTool's picture

My advice is to raise the bar. I have read that we should only work on our strengths. Her strength is communications. Make her work on it. Find assignments where her communications skills are actually challenged so that you are not congratulating her on a job well done that she thought was a cake walk.

I think that you BOTH need to appreciate a job well done for positive feedback to mean anything. I am amazed when my boss thinks that I did something great when all I did was something that was easy.

thaGUma's picture

If she's good and you are fed up telling her - give her a title. Senior or Expert or Advanced. No money but recognition of her attributes. It will set her apart from her piers and let everyone know that she is exceeding expectations.

The title means that her expertise becomes a given.