This article is the latest in a series of articles identifying the step for how employees can better provide feedback to managers. In the previous article, I describe the first step for providing feedback to your manager is to create a log on your manager’s behavior and the impact of the behavior. This way you can identify patterns and even simply change your own behavior and strategies that change the dynamic without having to go into giving feedback. It’s a start. Now, on to providing feedback, and that’s step two: Reinforce the positive behaviors that you want to see repeated.
Giving feedback to a manager is a lot easier if you focus on the behaviors that you like and want to see more of from your boss. But it isn’t a matter of just saying, “Good job” to your boss. You have to be more systematic and specific than that. The idea is that you want to provide reinforcement of the specific things that your boss did, with the aim that you are training your boss to continue to do the things you like. Setting up the process of positive reinforcement is designed to re-focus the boss’s efforts to the things that work for you and your team.
The things that don’t work do not get reinforced, so boss does these things less over time. Instead, your boss is likely to increase the reinforced behaviors to continue to get the positive reinforcement.