Managers today are bombarded with calls to give feedback—constantly, directly, and critically. But it turns out that telling people what we think of their performance and how they can do better is not the best way to help them excel and, in fact, can hinder development.
Research shows that, first, we aren’t the reliable raters of other people’s performance that we think we are; second, criticism inhibits the brain’s ability to learn; and, third, excellence is idiosyncratic, can’t be defined in advance, and isn’t the opposite of failure. Managers can’t “correct” a person’s way to excellence.
Managers need to help their team members see what’s working, stopping them with a “Yes! That!” and sharing their experience of what the person did well.