Praise is not the same as feedback. (Feedback isn't about feelings.)

Musing for:

Praise is not the same as feedback.

I thought I loved hearing my boss tell me I “knocked it out of the park.”

It felt good, but it didn’t help me make progress.

Praise is easy to give. It makes the recipient feel good, which makes us feel good for giving it.

But praise doesn’t encourage future behavior.

Why? Because it doesn’t talk about behavior at all.

What was it, exactly, that I did to “knock it out of the park?”

Effective feedback has three elements:

1️⃣ A description of observable actions that led to a specific result

2️⃣ A description of a specific result that came directly from those actions

3️⃣ An encouragement to continue or cease the actions that triggered the result

It may look like this:

✅ The way you presented without reading the bullet points made it clear you knew your topic well and kept people focused on what you were saying. I hope all your presentations go that well.

✅ When you read every bullet point off the screen, people lose interest and conclude the topic isn’t important to you. What might you do differently next time?

Sure, it can be hard to articulate the connection between observable actions and results. And it certainly feels awkward the first few (or many) times.

But feedback isn’t about feelings — yours or theirs.

Feedback is about encouraging future behavior.

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