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In This Issue
The Power of Praise in the Workplace
The Gift of Negative Feedback
SCS e-xpress
May/June 2012

high fiveA Message from Sarah & Chris:

The theme of this issue is "constructive feedback."

Constructive feedback comes in two forms - positive feedback and negative feedback.  Positive feedback, or praise, is given to express appreciation and to encourage a specific behavior to be repeated.  Negative feedback is given when improvement is needed.  


When an employee receives praise, that person is likely to repeat the behavior.  When an employee receives negative feedback, that person is likely to improve his or her efforts.  When an employee receives no feedback, that employee's work will likely decline over time.  Employees want to receive feedback - positive reinforcement as well as guidance as to how they can do their jobs better.  Effective workplaces recognize the importance of constructive feedback


We hope you enjoy our free SCS e-newsletter.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for future issues.  Have a great day!  


 Where We'll Be

 ExpertPlan's Annual Conference

Naples, FL

06/13/12 - 06/15/12


Dimensional Annual Defined Contribution Conference
Chicago, IL



 SPARK National Conference

 Washington DC

06/17/12 - 06/19/12


Wolters Kluwer Retirement & Benefits Compliance Customer Conference

Chicago, IL

08/12/12 - 08/14/12


Matrix Get Connected

Keystone, CO

08/19/12 - 08/22/12

ABC Orlando Meeting
Orlando, FL

National Harbor, MD
10/28/12 - 10/31/12

The ASPPA Cincinnatti Pension Conference
Covington, KY
11/29/12 - 11/30/12


 Today's Tip

The 2012 ERISA Outline Book by Sal Tripodi is now available!  To order the book and/or to learn about the FREE ASPPA webcast, which covers what's new in the book and demonstrates the online version, click here.
Today's Quotes

"Praise is priceless - yet it costs nothing." 

  - Bob Nelson, author and               motivational speaker


Today's Laughs

Tell a man there are 300 billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.


The Power of Praise
in the Workplace



As children, we loved to have our good work recognized with gold stars.  Although we may not admit it or may not even be consciously aware of it, as adults in the workplace we still crave recognition and appreciation.  In fact, there is actually a chemical reaction that takes place in our bodies when we receive praise.  A burst of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is released in our brains - and we experience a "high" stemming from feelings of pride, satisfaction, and general well-being.  Since this feeling is pleasant and we want to feel it again, we are much more likely to repeat a behavior that has been praised.  Even the "best of the best" need positive feedback, as you will learn in this video.


Praise is best when it is timely. As Kennth Blanchard taught us years ago in his book, The One Minute Manager, "Try to catch people doing something right."  And when you do catch them, give the praise ASAP - but avoid the temptation to use quick "drive-by praise" phrases like "Great job!" or "Well done."  When you take the time to be specific and sincere, the praise will be much more memorable.  Let the employee know that you are keenly aware of what they did and how it impacted you and/or the organization.  "You handled that difficult situation very well. I appreciate how you consistently go out of your way to help our customers.  Your efforts help us maintain our high customer satisfaction ratings."  


There are many meaningful ways to praise employees.  Check out this article to learn "The 5 Best Ways to Praise Employees." 



The Gift of
Negative Feedback


Many of us find it difficult to give "negative" feedback.  First of all - "negative" in this case doesn't have to mean that something terrible happened.  It simply means that a specific behavior needs improvement.  Although the content of the feedback might be negative, the delivery should always be constructive.  When the message is properly "wrapped" and sensitively given, it should be viewed as a gift.  After all, if the employee doesn't know what he or she is doing wrong, how can you expect improvement?  By withholding feedback, you are probably lessening that employee's chance for long-term success. 


Just like praise, negative feedback should be given timely - ASAR.  (That's not a typo!  It means "As soon as reasonable" or "As soon as you are ready.)  Sometimes, if an employee's behavior has annoyed or angered you, you need time to cool down so you can deliver the message in the appropriate tone without any anger, ideally showing genuine concern for the employee.  Be very specific in describing the behavior that needs to be improved (or that needs to stop.)  Avoid using words like "always" and "never" when describing a behavior - instead give concrete examples.  Speak to only one issue at a time - don't stack them up and "attack" with full ammunition.  If you have been following the "timely" rule, then each issue should be addressed as it happens. Lastly, have the conversation in private.  The employee will benefit the most if you provide encouragement, support, clear direction, and specific corrective measures. 


Constructive feedback, whether positive or negative, is an important part of a firm's performance management and development strategy.



What our Customers are Saying...

From recent attendees of SCS' Management and Leadership training classes:



"SCS does a great job at opening your eyes as a manager in how to work together with other managers and with employees in this busy industry.  It is great to have people specialized to help us out in learning our management skills."



"This training gives managers the tools to deal with difficult situations." 



"I learned so much and can't wait to implement!"  


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