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Part II: How to Give Constructive Feedba... > The Dangers of Giving Positive Feedb...

Chapter 20. The Dangers of Giving Positive Feedback in Public

What about positive feedback in public? There is evidence to indicate that recognition programs—a form of public praise—can be ineffective. Why? No matter how well the program is designed, many employees consider it a form of a popularity contest. Praising employees in a staff meeting or in some other public way gets similar disdain. There will always be one or two people in attendance who sit back and think, “Well, I did that same thing a month ago and no one noticed and gave me public recognition.”

What you intend to be a morale booster in effect may have the opposite result. The same thing holds true for praising groups versus individuals. You might be hoping that the few poor performers in the group will somehow feel guilty when you give the entire group positive feedback on a group project, but it rarely happens. They usually just sit back and think, “Well, I guess I got away with that one.” And the team members who pulled an extra load to make up the work think, “I can’t believe that the entire group is getting credit when I did most of the work.”


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