In professional settings, the word “feedback” is often associated with negative feelings. People hear it and think they are about to be judged and berated for any mistakes they have made or that they have to be the one handing down the criticisms.
But when it comes to giving recognition and praise, we assume that people already know that they’re doing a great job or that their efforts are appreciated. Even if that were true, expressing appreciation out loud will hold more value in the mind of the person on the reserving end.
There are so many opportunities for offering positive feedback that you can take advantage of. I’m going to share some positive feedback examples and scenarios that you can draw from to affirm and empower your peers and employees.
While most employees are content to do what’s expected of them, nothing more and nothing less, there may be a few who are willing to exceed the scope of their duties to get things done.
Encouraging them with glowing feedback will make them feel appreciated and motivate others to adopt the same behavior.
“Hi, Anita! I just wanted to thank you for always putting in extra effort to make sure things run smoothly. Your willingness to take on new tasks has been instrumental to the continued growth of this department. Keep up the excellent work and please reach out if you ever need assistance with anything in the future.”
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Strong, open, and honest communication is key to building trust, productivity, and good working relationships. However, communication is not everyone’s strong suit but you can encourage more people to improve their communication skills by praising employees who excel in this area.
“Thank you for constantly providing reports and checking in regularly. It helps everyone stay informed about the progress of our projects and ensures we are all on the same page. Without your excellent communication abilities, we would have encountered unforeseen challenges that delayed the completion of our latest project.”
Whenever a colleague or employee accomplishes something remarkable, don’t waste the opportunity to celebrate with them and express your confidence in their abilities.
“Congratulations on meeting your quarterly target of bringing in thirty new clients. I watched how tirelessly you worked to make this happen and I was really impressed by your tenacity and inventiveness. I can’t wait to see what goals you knock out of the park next.”
Being an employee who keeps to themselves and works best alone is easy. What’s hard is being someone who works just as well in a team as they do alone; someone who is kind, empathetic, and supportive of others.
So if you have such a person on your team, you need to show appreciation for them.
“One of the things about you that I deeply appreciate about you, Layla, is how you find ways to offer support to others and help ensure that all our projects are delivered on time. I know I can always come to you with any questions I have and count on you to provide guidance when I’m stuck or confused. Thank you for being the best colleague.”
Show appreciation for employees who have carved out time and taken strides to acquire new knowledge and grow their skills using this positive feedback example.
“A lot of people are happy to never change or unwilling to take the steps needed to better themselves, but not you. I’m proud of the way you continuously strive to improve your skills and raise the bar of success in your role. Your commitment to learning and development is an inspiration to us all.”
This type of feedback can come in handy whenever you notice that a coworker or staff member has been struggling with their work recently.
Whether they think they’re stuck or they’re experiencing a bout of imposter syndrome, sending some positive feedback their way can help reassure them and make them fall back in love with their work again.
“Hi Máté! You have come so far from the shy intern that joined the organization four years ago. I’m glad to have seen you blossom into the brilliant and talented engineer you are today. You’ve been doing an incredible job. Thank you for your continued dedication to your personal growth and the growth of the company. Do let me know if there’s anything I can do to make your work experience even better.”
If you are having a meeting to brainstorm ideas for a project and one team member suggests a brilliant idea that pretty much captures everything you’re going for, don’t assume they know you were impressed.
Reach out to them and thank them for sharing their thoughts and explaining how impactful it was.
“Hey Josh! I just wanted to show appreciation for your great idea in yesterday’s team standup. You have a talent for coming up with out-of-the-box solutions for different problems. Your idea will really help shape how we approach this project and make it even better than we imagined. I look forward to seeing other brilliant ideas you dream up in the future.”
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Conflict doesn’t have to be a negative thing. If handled properly, it can actually promote growth, improve communication, and help boost team productivity.
Employees who can manage conflicts and help resolve them amicably are a great asset to any organization. Use this feedback example to show them just how valuable they are.
“When you are working with a team as large and diverse as this, it’s almost impossible for conflict not to arise, especially when we’re working on a high-pressure and time-sensitive project. I wanted to commend you for the great work you’ve been doing in managing conflicts and helping both sides agree. You’re amazing!”
Let’s say one of your peers was working on an ambitious project that left people wondering whether they were going to succeed or not.
But they defied expectations and delivered amazing results, here’s an example of positive feedback that you can give them to celebrate their accomplishment.
“I realize that it took a lot of resolve to complete this assignment, but I’m really happy that you pulled through. I was rooting for you the entire time. As always, I’m awed and inspired by how hard you work. Cheers to more success!”
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Did someone ensure that a teammate was accurately credited for their idea? Did someone create space for a not-so-vocal colleague to share their opinions without being interrupted?
Did someone step in to diffuse a heated situation before it got worse? Whenever a peer or direct report does something admirable, it never hurts to let them know.
“I must applaud you for the patience and sensitivity you demonstrated in Wednesday’s meeting. Even though the conversation got a little out of control, you stayed calm and addressed everyone’s opinions and questions with care and respect, and made them feel heard. It showed that you have what it takes to be a great leader in the future.”
Your team won’t always meet the goals you set 100% of the time, but it’s important to still praise them in those times when they fall short of expectations. This way, they’ll be motivated to keep working hard to reach their goals.
“Everyone put in a lot of good and hard work to see this project to completion. Although it didn’t quite turn out the way we were hoping, I am really proud of how we all came together to make it happen. You’ve all done an amazing job over the last three months. I believe that if we bring the same determination and effort to phase two of the project, we can exceed our goals.”
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If you’ve given a staff member some constructive feedback in the past and you recently noticed that they have made changes to the issue you addressed, it’s important to commend them for acting on the feedback.
“Your contributions to meetings over the last month have shown that you listened to past feedback and have made strides to be more collaborative in company discussions. Even though you disagreed with Lawrence’s suggestions last week, you asked clarifying questions and offered constructive feedback. You have improved greatly and we are all glad to see it.”
When you notice that one of your peers or employees has been dealing with a lot more responsibilities than usual, either at home or work, it’s time to step in and offer them support before they crash under the stress of it all. Praise them for their hard work and encourage them to prioritize their wellness.
“The last few months have been very hectic for the organization and I know it has left you feeling spent. I want you to know that everyone understands the rough patch you’re going through and your past achievements have not been forgotten. If you need to take some extra time off to recover, just let me know. I don’t doubt that you’ll be back to your old self soon.”
This type of positive feedback can help create a culture that takes the shame or fear out of asking for help and encourage more people to show vulnerability and honesty in this way.
“I know it must have been difficult to admit you were struggling with the new software and it was causing you to fall behind on projects. But I appreciate you for being honest about it because it allowed us to address the problem and get you back on the path to success.”
You don’t have to wait for appraisal season to roll around before you appreciate employees who are doing great work. You should share your thoughts and admiration for their performance whenever you notice someone is delivering high-quality work.
“Hi, Octavia! I just wanted to say that you did an amazing job on the client presentation last week. I hear that everyone was blown away and we might be looking at a more favorable outcome from the ongoing negotiations as a result. If they do come on board, it will be thanks to the work you’ve put in. Well done!”
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Anyone who’s ever managed or tried to manage a group of people can tell you that being a leader is no easy task. So when you see someone who demonstrates impressive skills as a leader, giving them positive feedback will motivate them to keep doing what they’re doing.
“Since you were promoted to team leader, we have seen significant improvements in employee productivity and overall performance. People seem to be responding well to your leadership style and I’m excited to see all the good things you will do in this role in the future.”
Customers are the lifeblood of your business and every effort that’s put into attracting and retaining them counts. When you find employees who have quickly become customer favorites because of the level of care they show to your customers, give them positive feedback to motivate them.
“Our customers and clients are always quick to sing your praises as an employee who is always super helpful. You are always able to allay any fears, concerns, or complaints that they have about our product and you go above and you go the extra mile to make them happy. Your client support strategy is clearly impeccable and we’d love for you to share your approach with the rest of the team.”
Many employees are hesitant about taking risks or doing anything that hasn’t already been pre-approved by management for fear of getting reprimanded if things go awry.
Showering those who take initiative with positive feedback will not only boost their confidence, it will also encourage this behavior in others.
“Thank you for being proactive and getting the team together to tackle the issue with our servers on such short notice. Your quick thinking helped us avoid a protracted downtime and prevented us from losing a chunk of revenue. It’s good to know that there’s someone I can count on to lead the team when this situation calls for it. Great job, Kelly!”
A work environment cannot exist without interpersonal skills. It’s what enables colleagues to network, mediate conflicts, manage relationships, collaborate effectively, and treat one another with kindness and respect.
If there’s an employee or coworker who shines brightly in this regard, you can use this positive feedback example to let them know what you think of them.
“I like to tell people that you are the glue that keeps this team together. You go out of your way to get to know your coworkers and make them feel comfortable. You listen to what they have to say and show genuine interest in the things they care about. Your unwavering positivity impacts everyone around you. I honestly don’t know how you do it sometimes, but I’m grateful to have you around.”
Starting a new job is a very nerve-wracking affair. The new hire is anxious to do well and prove that they are a good investment and at the same time they’re nervous about being in a new space and getting to know their new colleagues.
Giving them positive feedback early on can help put their minds at ease and set them up for success in the future.
“I know you’re still trying to find your footing, but we all appreciate your contributions to the team so far. Your tenacious can-do attitude is refreshing as is your eagerness to help and learn. We love having you here and I can’t wait to see all the great work we do together when you’re fully settled in and productive.”
Problem-solving is one of the most sought-after skills in (would-be) employees. Everyone wants employees who can properly assess a situation and come up with answers to the problems that need solving so if you’ve been lucky to be blessed with such employees or peers, don’t let them go unrecognized.
“You have a gift for pinpointing challenges, devising creative solutions for tackling them, and clearly explaining your ideas to the rest of the team. You’re not afraid to try new things and you have the ability to approach problems with a level head rather than with panic and frustration. You’re an amazing asset to our team. Keep it up!”
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It might seem like a trivial accomplishment, but even the little things are worth celebrating. So show that coworker or direct report who has never missed a day of work some love with this positive feedback example.
“I can’t remember a day when I walked into the office and didn’t see you there exchanging jokes with someone or working hard at your desk. I speak for myself and others when I say your daily presence at work is one of the things that keeps us going. Thank you for being a wonderful person and an even better colleague.”
Maybe a member of the team recently resigned from their role and you’re in the process of hiring a replacement. But in the meantime, another team member had been taking on the extra workload to minimize the undesirable effects of the vacancy.
This is an example of positive feedback that you can use to praise the teammate for stepping up.
“I know you have had to take on more responsibilities beyond the scope of your position recently. I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly helpful you’ve been. The initiative and effort you’ve poured into the organization these past two months are deeply appreciated. Thank you for standing in the gap and helping to keep the department on track.”
Your organization’s values are meant to live outside of whatever document or objects they’ve been engraved on. Your employees should embody your values and reflect them in the decisions they make and the actions they take.
To show that your values are not just words on paper, make sure you acknowledge and praise those workers who live by them.
“It’s evident that you love the work you do and you care deeply about upholding the company’s culture and contributing to its success. You have been very instrumental in helping new hires assimilate into the organization because of the engaging way you guide them through our core values and mission. You are a true motivator and we’re lucky to have you.”
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You need to remember that any extra time staff members give to the company is being borrowed from their personal time. Even if they are getting paid for the overtime, it’s still a significant sacrifice so be sure to share your appreciation for the extra work.
“Thank you for all the extra hours you’ve been putting in over the past few weeks. I know having to work overtime isn’t ideal, but I appreciate you for giving more of your time to ensure this project gets completed. Your hard work and commitment do not go unnoticed. Please let me know if there are any low-priority tasks I can take off your plate in the meantime.”
People love to feel noticed and appreciated so building a culture that readily dishes out recognition to those who are deserving of it will do wonders for team morale and productivity.
Feel free to use these positive feedback examples to structure and craft your own feedback messages and put a smile on the faces of your peers and employees who are making a difference day to day.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.