We give and receive feedback constantly. With colleagues, customers, suppliers. Feedback gives us a common understanding of where we stand, of what is and isn’t working. How do Americans handle feedback?
Americans link the personal with the professional. Feedback addresses primarily performance, but takes into consideration how it will be received, thus affect future performance. Feedback on one‘s work is feedback on that individual. Feedback is by its very definition personal.
Americans see themselves as positive thinkers, motivators, self-motivators. It is a sign of leadership to seek out reasons to praise. In fact, praise is most instrumental when an individual or entire team is struggling, experiencing defeat and self-doubt.
And a concrete symbol of praise is official recognition in the form of awards. Americans want to be rewarded for good work. Awards ceremonies, small and large, are a key instrument of positive feedback.
Americans focus less on reducing errors, and more on reinforcing what leads to good results. When giving feedback Americans concentrate on strengths. Critique is communicated in a carefully worded, diplomatic way.
Sensitive feedback discussions in the U.S. business context are always done in one-to-one talks. Discretion is highly important, especially when the feedback is negative. There is very low tolerance for open criticism of team members in the presence of their colleagues.
Feedback scores are most effective when they are accurate and realistic enough, but also motivating. When in doubt, Americans are inflationary. The school grading system is: A is excellent; B is very good; C is good; D is unsatisfactory; F is failure.