How Much Positive Feedback Counterbalances Criticism?

Sandra Mashihi

Sandra Mashihi

Does 360-degree feedback do more harm than good”?
Envisia’s Kenneth Nowack and Sandra Mashihi provided “evidence-based answers” to 15 questions about applying 360-degree feedback.

Kenneth Nowack

Kenneth Nowack

Sometimes this feedback is more detrimental than helpful:  “Poorly-designed 360-degree feedback assessments and interventions can increase disengagement and contribute to poor individual and team performance,” they found.

Specifically, individuals can “experience strong discouragement and frustration” when feedback is not as affirming as anticipated.
In addition, negatively-perceived information may be discounted and disregarded.

John Gottman

John Gottman

The ratio of positive to negative feedback may determine whether it is incorporated and used.
University of Washington’s John Gottman and Pepper Schwartz found that well-functioning marriages have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback.

A positive-negative ratio of 3:1 in 360-feedback sessions encouraged enhanced individual and team performance, individual workplace engagement, effectiveness, and emotional “flourishing,” according to University of North Carolina’s Barbara Frederickson and Marcial Losada of University of Michigan.

Barbara Fredrickson

Barbara Fredrickson

Proportions of negative feedback and interactions that exceed these ratios can interfere with insight and motivation and diminish willingness to engage in work-related practice and performance effectiveness.
Fredrickson suggested that this 3:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback is a “tipping point.”

Naomi Eisenberger

Naomi Eisenberger

In fact, when people are overloaded with negative feedback, the same same neurophysiologic pathways associated with physical pain are triggered, reported UCLA’s Naomi Eisenberger and Matthew Lieberman collaborated with Kipling Williams of Macquarie University.

Zhansheng Chen

Zhansheng Chen

Under these circumstances, volunteers reported higher levels of physical pain and demonstrated diminished performance on a cognitively-demanding task, according to University of Hong Kong’s Zhansheng Chen, Williams and Julie Fitness of Macquarie University, and University of New South Wales’s Nicola C. Newton.

Anyone providing evaluations or 360-degree feedback may consider “titrating” negative (“constructive”) feedback to remain within ratios that allow recipients to assimilate and execute recommendations.

-*What ratios of positive to negative feedback do you apply in helping others improve performance?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

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